Bauman College Community Forum

Open Forum => Nutrition News & Research => Topic started by: LisaV on August 27, 2013, 08:51:05 PM

Title: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: LisaV on August 27, 2013, 08:51:05 PM
I have been having difficulty finding a solid answer to this question. It would seem that the following nuts and seeds do not require soaking:

hemp (apparently it does not contain phytates)

see: (

and: (

then again, on wikipedia they say hemp does contain phytates: (

macadamia nuts (they have a very low level of phytate)

see: (

and: (

brazil nuts:

high levels of phytates: (

But then here they say NOT to soak brazil nuts: (

and then here that we SHOULD soak brazil nuts: (

Note that in Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, Dr Cousens says that macadamias, hemp seed, pine nuts, and pistachios do not need to be soaked. However he does not mention anything about brazil nuts.

Here are more charts that are all different!! SHeesh.... ( (

Link 3 (

Does anybody have insight on this issue?? I am primarily concerned with brazil nuts, and pistachios. I realize that pistachios are sensitive to mold, so perhaps this is why they say not to soak? But would an hour or 2 be beneficial, like for cashews? ???



Lisa Virtue
*********Natural Chef*******

Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: jodi f. on August 28, 2013, 07:30:36 AM

Good question and good sleuthing!

As far as Brazil nuts go, they do have a high phytate level. Among the 3 articles you posted regarding them, only the Mark's Daily Apple article provided any clear information. Some of his information was taken from this long Weston A. Price article, which I highly recommend you read: (

Excess phytic acid can indeed be a problem, but getting our knickers in a twist over whole foods is not a place I like to go, no matter the scare tactics used in plenty of online articles. If you read even more articles, you'll notice that it is always diets high in beans and grains that seem to be the biggest culprits, not nuts, and I should add, diets in which these foods are poorly prepared. The Weston A. Price folks always make the very good argument that modern cultures have lost traditional information regarding the proper preparation of many foods. It behooves us all to pay attention to this.

However, Mark's Daily Apple makes the point that nuts generally make a small contribution to our diets and aren't of as great a concern as grains and beans. One doesn't eat a small handful of beans or grain, as one would nuts. Also, as pointed out in his article, and in the WAP article, if your diet is not grain-and-bean based and contains high levels of minerals, the phytate in unsoaked nuts won't pose a problem.

Another important piece of information, quoted from the WAP article: "In general, humans do not produce enough phytase to safely consume large quantities of high-phytate foods on a regular basis. However, probiotic lactobacilli, and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora can produce phytase. Thus, humans who have good intestinal flora will have an easier time with foods containing phytic acid." Good news!

The last point is that phytate does indeed serve a purpose. The most current research indicates that it is indeed beneficial for cancer prevention and therapy, so helpful, in fact, that it's sold in supplemental form as IP6, aka inositol hexaphosphate, part of the B vitamin family. IP6 has also been shown to enhance the immune system, prevent pathological calcification and kidney stone formation, lower elevated serum cholesterol, and reduce pathological platelet activity (I've got a reference for this, if you'd like it).

Phytate is a REGULATOR of mineral metabolism and as such, can at times be helpful. As for how rigorous you need to be about limiting intake, look to the nutrient content of your own diet to help you decide. Is your diet bean-and-grain based? Do you eat copious amounts of nuts? If the answer to these is yes, then it would seem prudent to do a lot of soaking. However, if you include animals as protein foods, don't eat that many nuts (though it looks like you make a lot of nut milk, which is soaked), and obtain loads of minerals from other foods, then you probably don't need to worry about soaking each and every nut you eat.
Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: LisaV on August 28, 2013, 08:27:35 AM
Thanks Jodi!

I'm actually writing a book, and so I would like to be clear on the most ideal way to consume all nuts & seeds - in case people are indeed drinking a lot of nut-milk!!

My biggest concern was over brazil nuts, because most online sources say NOT to soak them, I am uncertain as to why this is, since they contain a high level of phytate. I'm not concerned with my own diet in this instance...

In my mind, soaking is not going to do any harm, so I suppose I all suggest to soak the brazil nuts, especially because we are talking about making milk.

Pistachios is another confusing one, as again, most people claim they needn't be soaked...

Thanks for your feedback!

Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: jodi f. on August 28, 2013, 09:35:33 AM
Why don't you also check out this blog post:

It's a good site. She's a medical doctor and a very special kind of psychiatrist -- wish there were more like this.

The question to me is more about how bad phytate actually is, not so much about how much phytate is in each nut. Again, we've all been tending to vilify what we consider to be an anti-nutrient when, in fact, it is an important substance. Going overboard in any one direction doesn't serve the overall big picture: our health.

Oh, also check out her previous blog on inositol (linked in the above blog post). She states that the highest levels of phytate are in organ meats.

For a book, it might be very cutting-edge on your part to discuss this issue.

BTW, for nut milks, they get soaked anyway, right? (That's how I do it.) So, if soaked in a slightly acidic solution, that should take care of the issue. I agree that drinking nut milks means ingesting a whole lot of nuts.
Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: LisaV on August 28, 2013, 10:46:44 AM
Interesting article....

However, it would seem that inositol is not synonymous with phytic acid. So we can't be comparing them as if they are the same substance.

Inositol is different than phytic is within phytic acid, or comes from phytic acid. The fact that it is more concentrated in animal products, seems to mean that the animals have broken down the phytates, and therefore made them readily available for us to put to good use. Consuming phytic acid from plant sources, in my mind, still seems to be more harmful for us, than consuming "inositol" from meat products.

So at this point I still think it is very very important to soak nuts and seeds to minimize the effects of phytic acid. I think this article that you suggested actually supports this argument. I also believe that it is very important to eat animal products, and now I see another reason why, to get the "converted" form of phytic acid, via inositol!!!

Also, I don't think it's wrong to "vilify" something if it in fact is doing more harm than good. Why would our ancestors have practiced soaking and hours of preparation of nuts and seeds if not for good reason?

That is so cool to learn all that! Thank-you Jodi!
Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: LisaV on August 28, 2013, 11:10:07 AM
Another note...this wiki entry supports what I just mentioned, about animals converting phytates for safe human consumption:
Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: jodi f. on August 28, 2013, 01:25:01 PM
Yes, you're right. The phytate in animal cells is in a more absorbable form for us.

Re: inositol and phytate. There are 9 distinct isomers of inositol that occur in our bodies. One of those is inositol hexaphosphate, aka phytate, aka IP6. So it's not that anyone's conflating all inositol with phytate; phytate is a particular form of inositol, occurring in plants, all mammalian cells, and as a supplement.

I'm not at all disagreeing with you regarding the benefits of soaking nuts, beans, and grains. The reason I say not to vilify whole foods is because we really don't know everything about them. Phytates will reduce iron absorption, but that can be a beneficial thing for some people. Also, ingesting vitamins A and C at the same time one eats a phytate-containing food -- a not uncommon occurrence -- will attenuate this effect, as shown in these studies:; (;) (

Another study has this to say: "Phytates are always present in vegetal matrix composed of fibres, minerals, trace elements and other phytomicronutrients. Thus, in order to evaluate mineral absorption from phytate-rich products, all components of diet and food interactions should be considered and it is hard to predict mineral bioavailability in such products by using only the phytate content." ( (

I'm sure there's a lot more of this kind of research out there. Food and the way it interacts in our bodies is just way more complex than anyone ever thought.
Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: Nori on September 06, 2013, 05:38:33 PM
I like the balanced approach on phytates because they can serve a purpose as Jodi writes. A while ago I read a book by A.K.M. Shamsuddin on IP6, how it can induce cancer cells to start behaving normally.  Here is a website about that:

Title: Re: Brazil Nuts - To soak or not to soak
Post by: Hootlessness on February 18, 2015, 02:02:19 PM
Nori, Jodi, Lisa, Hello,

I appreciate the various input and intelligence around brazil nuts. I did my own bit of research last week and was happy to find this page. I was wanting to use brazil nuts as a natural source of selenium to increase the uptake of my home made colloidal silver. From all of the information I came across it seems that Brazil nuts are so high in selenium that a single brazil nut meets nearly twice the recommended daily allowance. At the same time brazil nuts have one of the highest phytate levels out there. I like Nori's wisdom on the balanced approach.

And if you look at the primates or great apes that eat fruit, nuts, seeds, flowers, insects and leaves and even some meat in the combination suited to their species…and to what is currently available in their environment... not one of them soaks their nuts or seeds ;) It is also my understanding that soaking only pulls out a percentage of the phytates hence the other steps such as dehydrating, etc. that reduce phytate levels further. I have decided for my own current health path to only imbibe a single brazil nut a day (soaked for 24 hours).

The mind has a powerful part to play in all of this as well. If you believe something is good for you, then that particular food item more than likely will tend to have a positive effect... "for you". If you are overly concerned about phytate levels or anything else related to a particular food item and you eat it anyway... then you are eating a little bit of fear energy or concern energy along with your brazil nuts… no bueno in my book! Eat Love with your food instead :)