Hi, Welcome! I'm Helena Davis and this is your health tip of the week. I just read a recipe for a lentil dip which didn’t recommend pre-soaking the lentils. Today I am going to discuss why you should pre-soak any legumes to help educate you around this topic. Stay tuned!

Foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, beans and grains, store phosphorus as phytic acid. When phytic acid is bound to a mineral in these foods, it’s known as a phytate. Phytates work like anti-nutrients. They have bound various minerals in the food making these minerals hard to digest. If you consume foods that are high in phytates, it’s possible that you won’t absorb a lot of the minerals from the food as these are bound to the phytic acid.

We breakdown around 37 - 66% of phytates from the food that we eat. This breakdown occurs in our stomach and small intestine. In theory that means that we don’t break down between 34 – 63% of the minerals from these phytate foods that we consume.

If you consume foods high in phytates and have trouble digesting them, you can get a lot of bloating, abdominal pain or loose bowels shortly after consuming these.

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron are all essential for our bodies to function. When we eat foods that are high in these minerals and also high in phytates, these minerals can be difficult for our body to breakdown and absorb.

Phytates get broken down by pre-soaking these foods that contain phytates in water prior to consuming them. Sounds easy right! This just requires a small amount of preparation work before you start cooking…ideally at least the day before. With most of these foods, it’s a good idea to soak these in fresh water for at least 12-24 hours prior to cooking and consuming them. Essentially you are activating the nutrients in these foods and deactivating phytates, which are the anti-nutrients that bind onto these minerals, making them unavailable for your body to uptake.

Once you are done pre-soaking these foods, rinse them under fresh water. Foods such as beans and legumes will then need to be cooked in fresh water before consuming. Foods such as nuts and seeds can be eaten straight away or put in a dehydrator to dry them out. You have probably seen activated nuts for sale at health food shops. This is the process that the manufacturer would have undertaken to do this. The soaking times for nuts vary therefore it’s best to check how long is recommended for whatever nut or seed you are wanting to activate.

If you enjoyed this video I’d love for you hit the like button, share with anyone you think would enjoy this and leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll be personally reading and I’ll be responding to as many as I can. Thanks so much for watching. I’m Helena Davis and that is your health tip of the week.


Helena Davis is a gut health expert. As a Naturopath she helps you get more energy, better moods and better digestive health. What she's really about is empowering you to live a symptom free quality life.