Raw or Roasted Nuts

Tree nuts are an important component of a balanced diet since they are a great source of both macro and micronutrients. However, raw nuts also contain natural enzyme inhibitors, to prevent them from sprouting prematurely, namely phytic acids or phytates.

The phytate in raw nuts, cannot be digested as humans do not have the phytase enzyme. Phytate binds strongly to minerals, particularly calcium, iron, and zinc, but also magnesium and manganese, and therefore prevents them from being absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Phytate has been described as an anti-nutrient for this reason. (1)

As well as binding to minerals, phytate is also thought to inhibit digestive enzymes. This is why large quantities of raw nuts can be hard to digest. Diets high in phytate are thought to cause iron deficiency. (2)

Typically, any food that is heated above 46ºC, is no longer considered raw. With the exception of Cashews, which are heated slightly during the cracking process, tree nuts are sold either raw (no heat applied) or roasted.

Heat from roasting releases some of the phytates making it easier for the body to digest the natural minerals in the nuts.

If you prefer roasted nuts it’s important to note whether the label states “air-roasted”. Certain “roasted nuts” are deep fried in saturated oils to lower the costs of roasting. But this actually turns it into an unhealthy snack! Always check the ingredients label, make sure no oil ingredients are listed.

Alternatively, simply soak raw nuts in water for a period of time and then dry them to remove the water so they don’t form mold. In so doing, most of the phytates are released, making it easier to digest and absorb more of the nutrients in the nuts. Although not commonly known this has been done for centuries, with seeds, beans, and grains.

Remember to chew nuts well before swallowing, this also helps your body to absorb more of the proteins from the nuts. Don’t rush a good thing!

Roastwell’s Almond, Cashew and Macadamia nuts are all air-roasted for more flavour and crunchiness and are easier to digest than raw.

Raw or roasted nuts
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