Dear Leah Renee,
Why are sprouted almonds any better than raw or roasted? ~Liisa, CA
Almonds are one of the best snacks (check out some of my other favorites here!). They’re super convenient to throw in your purse and can be found just about anywhere if you’re out and hunger hits, even the local gas station carries them. There’s so many ways to enjoy them whether it’s in trail-mix, by themselves, made into energy balls like the recipe below, or into a fine flour to health-ify some of your favorite baked goods. Almonds can be found salted, unsalted, roasted, sprouted, candied, or spiced.
Here are some reasons why almonds make such great snacks:
- Promotes heart health (lots of Vitamin E)
- Promotes a healthy weight
- Rich in bone-building minerals like magnesium, manganese & copper
- Healthy amino acid content
- High in B2 (Riboflavin) for energy
- Good source of fiber
Here’s the low-down on almonds from raw to roasted:
Raw almonds are not (usually) really raw. They’re not coming straight from the tree and into your local supermarket. Most almonds from California (which consist of about 80% of our supply) and are pasteurized before hitting the shelves to kill off any potentially harmful bacteria that may have come in contact with them (such as salmonella). But, because they’re not roasted, they can still be labeled as ‘raw’ even after pasteurization. Here’s where I order my almonds from, which are in fact unpasteurized, raw, non-GMO, and organic.
Roasted almonds adds additional flavor, but some of the disadvantages include added oils, sodium (if they’re salted), high in additional fats, sugars, and roasted almonds are more difficult to digest. When almonds are processed (and pasteurized) we lose much of their nutritional value. A more beneficial method is dry roasting, which excludes the use of any oil which in turn would leave out the salt too, and contain less fat.
Soaking almonds even for just a few short hours will allow the phytic acid (which inhibits your body’s ability to fully assimilate all the wonderful nutrients it contains—see more below) to start breaking down. Your body will get to use a greater amount of the nutrients from soaked nuts than regular raw nuts. You can keep them in a container of water in the fridge.
Sprouted almonds are the best, most nutritional way to enjoy them. Sprouting makes lipase, the enzyme which helps break down body fat, available for digestion. We want to keep the enzymes intact so we can reap all the health advantages. To make sprouted almonds, soak them (raw) overnight, or at least 4 hours, in filtered water. Drain and then transfer them to either a food dehydrator or in the oven at no more than 118 degrees (F) until they’re completely dry (at least 8 hours). If they’re not completely dry they can go rancid after only a couple days. I find sprouted almonds to be much tastier than the traditional raw almonds. I promise you’ll notice the difference! As you can see it’s a bit work to sprout them, but so worth it. Best to make large batches of them at a time.
Pre-sprouted are available to buy at Whole Foods and other healthy grocery stores most often in the “raw” section. They’re also available online here and here. I love using sprouted almonds to make energy balls. The taste is more intense and I know I’m digesting them better.
- 1 cup raw almonds, sprouted
- 1/2 cup pitted dates (sticky)
- 1 TB water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- optional: roll in coconut flakes, oats, raw cacao (pictured), or hemp seeds
- Using a food processor, Vitamix, or other high speed blender, process almonds until they're in small pieces. Remove half of them and set aside.
- Add dates to remaining almonds and process until the mixture turns into a fine meal.
- Add remaining ingredients and process until the mixture starts sticking together. You'll probably need to use a rubber spatula and scrape the bowl.
- By hand, mix date mixture with the reserved almond pieces.
- Form into 1-inch balls from the dough. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Have you had sprouted almonds before? Can you notice the difference?