Soaking Seeds and Nuts: What You Need To Know

Soaking seeds and nuts? What does that even mean? How can that affect my body? Oh, where to begin…

Most grains, beans, nuts, legumes, and seeds have something called phytic acid that surrounds them, a plant’s means of storing phosphorus. For humans, this phosphorus (locked up and called phytate) isn’t digestible. The chemical makeup binds with calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc in our bodies, preventing our bodies from absorbing those important nutrients.

This is why phytic acid is considered an “antinutrient”. These kinds of antinutrients help plants to fend off pests and insects so that, if the seeds are eaten, it will stay intact throughout the digestive system and come out ready for planting! Needless to say, when we eat these antinutrients, we can’t digest the vitamins and minerals we’re trying to, and our guts go into turmoil. (There is research to suggest that small amounts of phytic acid are good for us, and may even prevent certain cancers.)

So, if nuts and grains and seeds and beans have this phytic acid wrapped around them, how can we eat them for their nutrients that are locked up tight? By soaking.

That’s right: Something as simple as soaking seeds and nuts (and, of course, grains and beans) in water will help to decrease the phytic acid, making them more easily digestible and more nutritious for our bodies!

4-Step Guide to Soaking Seeds and Nuts:

  1. Sanitize your sprouting container–bowl, jar, etc.
  2. Rinse raw, unsprouted grains, seeds, legumes, or nuts for a minute (these should not have been prepared in any kind of way), then cover them with a few inches of filtered water and a kitchen towel. Remove any floating debris there may be.
  3. Let them soak for 5-48 hours depending on the type. If soaking for longer than 12 hours, rinse seeds and replace water every 12 hours.
  4. Keep in the refrigerator and use within a week; now they have the potential to spoil.

If you’re wanting to sprout your seeds, nuts, etc for their nutritional benefits, follow these steps:

  1. Wash and strain, then leave them in a dish or a shallow bowl. Leave out where they can be exposed to air.
  2. Keep them slightly damp; they do not need to be covered completely.
  3. Leave out for the duration of time stated on the list below.
  4. When ready, rinse the sprouts thoroughly, drain, and store them in a container or jar.
  5. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days; rinse and put them in a fresh bowl daily to prevent mold or bacterial growth.

Time Needed for Soaking Seeds and Nuts (And Grains and Beans)

Adzuki: 8 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Alfalfa: 12 hours soaking. 2-5 days sprouting.

Almond: 2-12 hours soaking. 2-3 sprouting (if truly raw).

Amaranth: 8 hours soaking. 1-3 days sprouting.

Barley: 6-8 hours soaking. 2 days sprouting.

Black Beans: 8-12 hours soaking. 3 days sprouting.

Buckwheat: 30 minutes-6 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Brazil Nut: 3 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Cashew: 2-3 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Chickpea: 8-12 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Corn: 12 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Fenugreek: 8 hours soaking. 3-5 days sprouting.

Flax: 8 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Hazelnuts: 8 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Hemp: Do not soak. Does not sprout.

Kamut: 7 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Lentils: 8 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Macadamia: 2 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Millet: 8 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Mung: 1 day soaking. 2-5 days sprouting.

Navy Beans: 9-12 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Oats Groats: 6 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Peas: 9-12 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Pecan: 6 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Pepita: 8 hours soaking. 1-2 days sprouting.

Pine Nut: Do not soak. Does not sprout.

Pistachio: 8 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

Pumpkin: 8 hours soaking. 1-2 days sprouting.

Quinoa: 4 hours soaking. 1-3 days sprouting.

Radish Seeds: 8-12 hours soaking. 3-4 days sprouting.

Rice: 9 hours soaking. 3-5 days sprouting.

Sesame: 8 hours soaking. 1-2 days sprouting.

Spelt and Rye: 8 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Sunflower: 2 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Walnut: 4 hours soaking. Does not sprout.

White Beans: 8 hours soaking. 2-3 days sprouting.

Wheat Berries: 7 hours soaking. 3-4 days sprouting


If you are choosing to sprout your seeds/beans/grains/nuts, rinse them and give fresh filtered water every 12 hours. This will help prevent contamination. Once you’ve soaked/sprouted seeds they are more susceptible to bacterial growth and going bad. Here are some reasons why you may have trouble soaking and sprouting your own seeds:

  • The seeds weren’t rinsed well enough before soaking, which led to bacteria present on the hulls/shells.
  • The water was not changed during the process soon enough or often enough, so seeds were left soaking in contaminated water.
  • The seeds were not left out in open air and developed mold.
  • The temperature in the room where you left the seeds was either too high or too low.
  • The container you used was not sterile and had bacteria of some kind.
  • The seeds themselves had already been cooked in some way and weren’t truly raw.

All of this amazing “how-to” and know-how brought to us by Dr. Josh Axe.

It takes some planning ahead to soak and sprout your seeds, but your digestion and your family’s will thank you! But sometimes we don’t have the time for the process, or just don’t feel comfortable doing things like this on our own before really understanding what’s supposed to happen. Fortunately there are some companies who prepare foods by sprouting or soaking, so we can make these healthy changes without doing it on our own!


Companies that Soak/Sprout Their Grains, Seeds, Nuts, and Beans

Ezekiel Bread

Blue Mountain Organics Nuts and Seeds

Sprouted Flour Co.

One Degree Organics

Silver Hills Bakery

TruRoots Organics

Living Nutz

Higher Power


If you have a company that you enjoy who fits the bill, please contact us so that we can add them to our list! The more options for healthy eating, the better off we all will be.


Eating sprouted and soaked grains, seeds, nuts, and beans is becoming easier and easier thanks to wonderful companies who share our belief in good, honest, healthy food that make it accessible to the rest of us. But we also have the power to make things for ourselves, which is just as invaluable.


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