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Go nuts for good health

From snacks to sweets to savoury dishes, nuts are the versatile go to for healthy, added crunch.

These tiny tidbits are packed with nutrients and just a handful a day has been linked with improving heart health, brain function, managing weight and even living longer.

There’s been a lot of fuss made about activated nuts, especially activated almonds. These are nuts that are soaked in water, usually overnight, to help make the nutrients more digestible.

Supporters of activated nuts believe that soaking may also reduce phytates, a plant seed compound that binds minerals together and makes it difficult for the body to absorb the minerals in the nuts, such as iron, calcium and zinc. However, recent research has found that phytate levels are very similar between activated and standard nuts and that soaking does not increase nutrient availability. 

It’s also important to note phytates have benefits too. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, appear to have anti-cancerous properties, and may help carbohydrate metabolism and glucose control. 

So the take out is, activated or not, nuts are great for your health. Enjoy them however you prefer, preferably unsalted, just aim for a handful most days.

  1. Schlemmer U et al. Phytate in foods and significance for humans: Food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2009, 53, S330–S375 
  2. Graf E and Eton JW (1990). Antioxidant functions of phytic acid. Free Radical Biol Med, 8(1):61-69.