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THE ADVANTAGEOUS HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRAINS, LEGUMES, NUTS & SEEDS

April 23, 2018 by Renee Tavoularis

THE ADVANTAGEOUS HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRAINS, LEGUMES, NUTS & SEEDS

By Melissa Patruno

When it comes to eating healthy, there is a lot of advice out there to remove certain inflammatory foods from your diet, especially if you suffer from digestive stress. Some of the usual culprits are gluten and dairy, but even grains and legumes (which have numerous health benefits) are looked at when dealing with health issues.

But why are these foods inflammatory? Haven’t these foods been in our diet for centuries? So, what happened? Why are these foods no longer good for us? 

One of the main reasons is how these foods are prepared. It is not that these foods by nature are bad for our health. It is that we no longer take the time to prepare them the way our ancestors did to make them actually good for us.

But what if there was a way to prepare and consume these foods, that have made up our diet for centuries, without them inflaming our bodies?

Enter: traditional cooking methods. Our ancestors knew all about them and used them exclusively.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A TRADITIONAL COOKING METHOD?

Traditional cooking methods refer to cooking foods in a way that enhances their nutrient value and digestibility by the body. Hence, making the food an incredible source of energy. For many, this style of food preparation is easier on their system, and those with certain food sensitivities find themselves able to enjoy foods that otherwise they would not be able to consume.  

Traditional cooking methods seem like a lost art. But it does not have to be this way.

My 2 favorite traditional cooking methods are easy to do and can fit into your busy lifestyle. 

SOAKING

Did you know that nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains contain anti-nutrients? These anti-nutrients interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other enzymes. Some of the common anti-nutrients are phytic acid, lectins, and oxalates. Therefore, these seemingly healthy foods contain compounds that can cause major digestive irritation. The simple act of soaking your nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains prior to consumption helps make these foods more nutritious, digestible and easier on your system. 

And it is so easy to do! All you need is warm purified water and sea salt. The warm water neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors and increases the bioavailability of many nutrients, especially B vitamins. The salt helps activate this process.

Completely submerge the food being soaked in a warm salt mixture and leave on the counter overnight for at least 7 hours. Then rinse.

For nuts and seeds, you will then want to either cook at 150 degrees or use a dehydrator (cooking equipment that keeps the raw enzymes intact) till completely dry as to not cause mold.

For legumes and grains, you will then cook according to instructions.

FERMENTING

To take soaking even a step further you can ferment your nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains using water kefir. Water kefir is a super easy to make, inexpensive and versatile lacto-fermented liquid. When you ferment food, you are breaking down the protein molecules which makes the protein in the food more easily digestible. This is referred to as pre-digestion when you do some of the heavy lifting prior to the food even entering your mouth.

You can buy kefir grains online, and then follow the super simple directions that come with the package. My favorite brand is Cultures for Health.

Instead of using water as noted above in the soaking section you would use the water kefir and soak your nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains in that. Still, add in the salt with the water kefir and follow the directions listed above. 

With just a little preparation you are transforming foods that can cause digestive stress and making them easier to digest while adding nutrient-rich foods back into your diet. 

Melissa Patruno is an Integrative Medicine Nutritionist. Her approach focuses on finding the root cause and creating alignment in both mind and body. Melissa is passionate to help her clients find the food and lifestyle choices that best support their health needs so they can live their best self. Learn more at https://www.melissapatruno.com/
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