It’s convenient to head to your local grocery store when you want a nutty snack. Many companies offer roasted, salted, and sweetened varieties of our favorite nuts, like almonds and cashews. They have a great flavor and texture, but like most foods that come prepackaged, they aren’t the best for us.
The problem with conventional nuts found in most stores are processed as quickly and cheaply as possible, to get the greatest volume out to the consumer. Growing practices currently used for industrial nut production focus heavily on pesticide use, and do not care for the soil and trees that generate what should be highly nutritious foods.
Don’t settle for cancer-causing foods that destroy immune function
Because the danger of pesticide use is often downplayed in the mainstream media outlets, let me reiterate that pesticide consumption has been linked to various cancers, digestive disorders, fetal development disorders, neurological problems, and hormone dysregulation.
This doesn’t even include the harm pesticides do to the ecosystem, especially the devastation to the bee colonies. Just take a look at what some of our favorite nut snacks are treated with: (conventionally)
• Almonds – Piperonyl butoxide, chlorpyrifos, methoxyfenozide, phosmet, MGK-264, dichlorvos
• Cashews – Endosulfan
• Pistachios – Phosmat, glyphosate
• Walnuts – 1,3-Dichloropropene, glyphosate, chloropicrin, phosmet
• Macadamias – Endosulfan
• Pecans – Endosulfan, phosmat
• Sunflower Seeds (Not actually a nut, I know) – Various neonicotinoids
• Peanuts (Also not actually a nut) – Piperonyl butoxide, DDE p,p’, quintozene (PCNB)
Why non-organic nuts are dangerous for human health
Nuts are essentially protein and fat, with a tiny bit of carbohydrate. Since they are so high in fats, they absorb pesticides and other chemicals very easily. These treatments become part of the nut itself, and there is no way to wash them off.
Once these fats begin to be broken down in the body, they can overload the liver, and be shuffled into our own fat cells, where they are stored away from our vital organs. In this way, they are less immediately damaging, but instead are slowly released to hopefully be removed, though they cause significant inflammation and toxicity through the process.
A serious warning about the phytic acid in mass-produced nuts
This compound naturally occurs in all nuts and seeds, and it’s an enzyme inhibitor. It also prevents the absorption of minerals, such as iron, zinc, and calcium. It’s a form of poison that the plants use to deter getting eaten in the wild.
Mass produced nuts and seeds do not account for this, and they do not take any action to reduce the amount of phytic acid in their products, so it all gets passed along to you. When phytic acid is broken down, not only do we have improved nutrition from the nuts we are eating, we eliminate the digestive distress that phytic acid can cause.
Its breakdown also releases the phosphorous that is locked up in the phytic acid, adding another mineral that our bodies need.
How do we avoid the problem of phytic acid?
The best way to break down phytic acid is by water-soaking, followed by sprouting. Living, raw, organic nuts should be soaked in water for between 8-24 hours. After this, they are drained and rinsed, and left moist for about 2 more days, including a few more rounds of rinsing to make sure they stay a bit wet.
This initiates the growth phase in the nuts, and seeds, nearly eliminating the phytic acid, and making all the other vitamins and minerals far easier to absorb when eaten.
It’s impossible to soak and sprout conventional, mass-produced nuts
In reality, large companies must roast or pasteurize all the nuts they sell to meet FDA requirements. So the nuts you see on your grocery store shelves have essentially become a dead food. You can soak them, but they will never sprout, and the resulting texture may become unpleasant.
Nuts and seeds can be a healthy and nutritious part of your diet. The devastating use of pesticides and other chemicals, as well as the hasty production techniques used for mass production turn these crunchy little gems into bite-sized toxic bombs.
As with all of our food choices, quality is the most important factor in how each food impacts our health, and it’s easier to choose items that have been grown, harvested, and prepared in ways that are compatible with our own biology.