Should You Soak Seeds and Nuts Before Consuming Them?

Why did our ancestors soak seeds and nuts before consuming them? Before the age of refrigeration, people seemed to know the importance of soaking and fermenting grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Somehow they identified the link between conservation, better nutrition, and digestion. They understood that these foods have a sort of toxic protective wall built within them to discourage attacks from insects, predators, bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Enzyme Inhibitors

To ward off predators, plant seeds, especially nuts, contain enzyme inhibitors that block enzyme function, most notably the uptake of trypsin, an enzyme responsible for digesting protein.

Those who are fighting cancer, as well as any who want to prevent disease, would do well to take note that according to certain animal studies, consuming high quantities of foods containing trypsin inhibitors can lead to hypersecretion of pancreatic enzymes, an enlarged pancreas, and benign tumors. Because the increased requirement for pancreatic enzymes also depletes the body of valuable resources needed for other physiological functions the foundation is laid for other conditions, such as chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, impaired digestion, immune suppression, increased allergies, severe intestinal issues and declined mental function.

An Increase Of Intolerances

Is it not surprising then that today nuts and seeds, in the form of bread, crackers, cereals, nut butter, etc. are consumed by people every day. Subsequently, millions are suffering from digestive issues, autoimmune disorders, and a host of other nutritionally related diseases? Maybe you have noticed the increasing number of people who suffer from food allergies and intolerance. Babies and young children who are raised eating cereals, crackers, bread, nut butter, soy formula, etc. have significantly higher levels of intolerances.

Sad to say, what many choose to eat for breakfast or as a snack is a contributing factor to the digestive issues, allergies, and skin irritations.

Soaking Seeds And Nuts

Life-sustaining proteins, vitamins (especially vitamin B), enzymes, and minerals are unlocked through the soaking process, making them ten times more nutritious than in their raw form. So not only do you deactivate harmful nutrients, you activate all the goodness stored within.

Seeds and nuts are designed to stay dormant until there are enough moisture, warmth, and acidity to sustain the plant seed once it enters the ground to germinate. Soaking mimics the natural germination process that takes place in nature.

Budwig, natural medicine, seeds and nuts, budwig center tips

Dr. Budwig used flaxseeds in her program. Here is the best way to prepare flaxseeds and other seeds:

  1. If you do not soak them, you will need to grind them in a coffee grinder until they become like powder see demonstrative video.
  2. When you soak them, put the seeds in a glass container and add triple the amount of warm water as there are seeds. The seeds will swell up and soak up all the water. After the appropriate soaking time (see chart here below), simply add the ingredients you prefer to accompany them like some oat, almond or rice milk and/or some coconut oil. You could also add some honey or fresh berries which will make it a delightful snack or dessert. Now blend this mixture with an upright stick blender. These presoaked seeds will blend easily with the upright stick blender. These seeds can also be added to the famous flaxseed oil and cottage cheese mixture that Dr. Budwig used when treating her cancer patients. The seeds would be added after the flaxseed oil and cottage cheese have been well blended for about a minute. In countries where flaxseed oil is not available or not fresh, using double the amount of soaked flaxseeds could replace the flax oil in the mixture.

Some of the best seeds to consume are flaxseeds, black cumin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.

How Long To Soak Seeds And Nuts

Soak For 2 hours:

  1. Brazil Nuts
  2. Cashews
  3. Chia Seeds
  4. Flaxseeds
  5. Macadamia Nuts
  6. Pine Nuts

Budwig, natural medicine, seeds and nuts, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds, Macadamia Nuts, Pine Nuts

Soak For 4 hours:

  1. Sunflower seeds
  2. Pistachios

Budwig, natural medicine, seeds and nuts, Pistachios, Sunflower seeds

Soak For 6 hours:

  1. Pumpkin Seeds
  2. Sesame Seeds

Budwig, natural medicine, seeds and nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds

Soak For 8 hours:

  1. Walnuts
  2. Hazel Nuts
  3. Pecans

Budwig, natural medicine, seeds and nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Hazel Nuts

Soak For 12 hours:

  1. Almonds

Budwig, natural medicine, seeds and nuts, Almonds

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40 thoughts on “Should You Soak Seeds and Nuts Before Consuming Them?”

  1. Hi; I thought that after soaking nuts or seeds, you got rid of the water and sprouted them for several days for best absorption/nutrition. Was I wrong? Do you drink or incorporate the water that they are soaked in? Thanks for your help.

    1. Thank you for contacting us with this question. The water used to soak the nuts doesn’t necessarily have any properties and would be discarded. But the water used to soak the nuts is difficult to discard and would actually be eaten along with the seeds and maybe adding some form of oat milk or raw honey to it to make it tasty. Sprouting is another good option that is possible with grains but not with nuts. Sprouts contain much protein as well.

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.
      [email protected]

  2. I eat several of these nuts and seeds every morning – pecans, walnuts, brazils, flax seed, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin. Would it matter if I soaked them all together overnight for about 8 – 10 hours? I would grind them then and add them to my buckwheat porridge – which would also have been soaked overnight.

    Thank you for this interesting article.

  3. A deadly carcinogenic mold fungus called, aflatoxin, grows on peanuts, during harvesting. It’s just 1 of 200 mycotoxins, that plague the earth. 2 years ago, I was eating a ton of them just about everyday. (Low carbing) and used it as a replacement for animal meat. Unbeknownst to me, I ended up with a bowel obstruction, followed by a colon perforation. Had 5 hour emergency surgery. 5 inches of my sigmoid colon removed, followed by colon reattached. Almost died of septic poisoning. A very painful death, might I add That’s how dangerous toxic molds can be inside you. I eat them in moderation now. Learned the “freeze dried” nuts, cannot grow mold (mycotoxin) on them. If not harvested correctly, deadly carcinogen mold, also grows on wheat and corn. It’s invisible to the naked eye. Perhaps, that may be why, so many have debilitating gut issues? Does soaking the nuts rid itself of the deadly molds?

    1. Dear Sonia,

      Thank you for contacting us with this question. Actually, we do not encourage patients to eat corn or peanuts because of mold issues and we explain this in the free Budwig diet guide we offer online.
      As for other nuts, we are not aware of this being a problem so if one wants to eat less carbohydrates and also less meat, this should not include peanuts, but rather nuts mentioned in this article, like almonds, walnuts etc

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.
      [email protected]

  4. I know the Budwig states ground flax seeds after combining cottage and flax oil… I put two tbls of whole flax seeds with fruit kale and smoothie in the morning.. Will the flax be as beneficial .. I tend to get diverticultis so I put my flax in smoothie to ground it fresh .. I also have been eating organic peanut butter.. I shout quit that all together? Would almond butter be sufficient?

    1. Dear Debbie,

      The flaxseeds must be ground to be beneficial so if your blender is accomplishing this then you will benefit from it but Dr. Budwig would use a coffee grinder to accomplish this. Also, with diverticulitis and any condition of the colon that might not tolerate seeds (as these would only irritate the intestine wall) you would omit them in the recipe and just add another tablespoon of the oil.

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.
      [email protected]

  5. Hi Kathy,
    Greetings from Ukraine. Regarding grinding flaxseeds for fo/cc mix…… does the speed at which you grind the flax seeds matter….blast their socks off ( I have a coffee grinder attchment for my Kenwood mixer and it has 5 possible speeds (machine is 1599w. I have tried it at max and the seeds take only 10 to 15 seconds but of course at the slowest speed a minute or more. I am concerned abour losing the nutrients. The same concerns apply to walnuts pumpkin seeds milk thistle. I will appreciate your advice
    Thank you

    1. Dear Jackie,

      Thank you for contacting us. This is actually the first time I hear this question. I have never seen a coffee grinder with different speeds. If the machine heats up when you use the highest speed I would recommend using a lower one but other than that it shouldn’t really matter. Same applies to the other seeds mentioned.

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.
      [email protected]

  6. Colleen McMahon

    Hi Kathy, this is a very interesting article, thanks! I often roast sunflower seeds in coconut oil in a pan on the stove so how would I do this if I have to soak them first for 4 hours?

    1. Dear Colleen,

      Nuts and seeds have their own “oil” and should not be roasted or toasted. Even though coconut oil can be used to heat food, nuts and seeds should not be heated. So please do not heat the sunflower seeds.

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.
      [email protected]

  7. Hi Kathy
    I loved the article.
    To use the flax seed with the cottage cheese we have to use a coffee grinder but if you soak the flax seed is going to be soggy and will not grind well. How should we procede then?

    1. Dear Sandra,

      You don’t have to soak the seeds that you grind. So unlike nuts, if you will be grinding the seeds you don’t have to soak them.

      Warm regards,

      Kathy L.J.

  8. Dear Kathy,

    Does this mean that we shall also soak the 2 tablespoon of flaxseed used every morning and evening?
    I do soak walnuts, but never seeds, and especially not the flaxseeds that I grind, and add to the daily quark&oil mixture.
    If yes – I have to do it overnight.
    And – is it possible to soak bigger amounts, and just use what´s needed to each quark/flaxseed oil-mixture?

    1. Dear Elizabeth,

      You don’t have to soak the seeds that you grind. So unlike nuts, if you will be grinding the seeds you don’t have to soak them.

      Kind regards,
      Kathy Jenkins

  9. Article clearly states that BOTH nuts and seeds have to be soaked to protect people from damaging effect of enzyme blockers existing inside nuts and seeds.

    But from your answers I can see a contradicted info. In your replies you suggest to not to soak flax seeds prior to grinding. But without soaking, flax seeds after grinding will still have that dangerous to health enzyme blockers!

    Please clarify.

    Thank you.

    1. Dear Vagif,

      It is always best to soak seeds before eating. They grind up easily with the same stick blender used to mix the flaxseed oil and quark. It is not a must to soak them but it provides more nutrition and eliminates the enzyme block.
      After the seeds are ground it would NOT be advisable to soak them. That would not be of any value and could still go rancid.

      Sorry for the contradictory answer. Dr. Budwig didn’t soak the seeds before using them in her mixture and we have been preparing the recipe the same way she does. It isn’t dangerous for one’s health if you don’t soak them but it is beneficial,

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.

  10. Kathy, After soaking the nuts, how long will they stay good in the fridge? I guess my question is, should you just soak enough each night for the next day?

    Thanks, Kathleen

    1. Dear Anne,

      I’m sorry to hear that you found these instructions confusing. Our intention was to provide helpful information. Let me know if there is anything in particular I can help clarify for you and of course, we are open to suggestions regarding providing instructions and information.

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.

  11. Dear Kathy,

    Which water is best to soak the nuts and seeds in, 7.0ph or 9.5ph or do it matter and is it okay to soak them in the refrigerator or do they need to be soaked in room temperature water,also can the nut and seeds be stored in the freezer after soaking and will this decline the nutritional value by storing them in the freezer after soaking.



    1. Dear Sandy,
      Most people will not be able to know the pH level of their water but using water that is pure, not from the tap but either spring water or filtered water to soak your nuts is important. It is better to soak them at room temperature and if you will not use them all the next day you can freeze them. Freezing is a natural process that is safe and does not compromise the nutrients.
      Kind regards,
      Kathy L.J.

  12. Hi Kathy,

    My question is after I soak my nuts and seeds and pour out the water, do I eat them wet or do I let them dry? If I let them dry what is the best way to do it and how long does it takes for them to dry?

    Best regards,

    1. Dear Ayo,

      Thank you for contacting us with this question. After draining the water you can eat them while they are still moist, you can dry them a bit in a cloth or with paper towel and add some unrefined salt if you like. Both are fine. They will grow mold on them sooner having soaked them so soak enough for only 1 day or store in the fridge and eat within a couple days.

      Kind regards,

  13. “Dr. Budwig used flaxseeds in her program. Here is the best way to prepare flaxseeds and other seeds”

    I agree, this is a very confusing article. Judging by what Dr Jenkin’s says, the ‘best’ way is to soak then grind. In the raw food movement, they soak then dehydrate the seeds. Then they are dry enough for grinding. A real operation that generally takes hours and would create a real drag on the protocol. No wonder Dr. Budwig didn’t grind the seeds.

    Please ask Dr Jenkins to clear up the confusion. There are a lot of anxious cancer patients out there following the protocol and we don’t need contradictory articles like this.

    1. Kathy Jenkins

      Dear David,

      Thank you for the insight on the confusion in this article. We see that the instructions use the word grinding when using a blender so we are rewriting the part with instructions on eating seeds that have been soaked. The only seeds that we would grind is if we do not soak them or if they are dehydrated (and therefore dry). The seeds that have been soaked can be eaten whole with the water or blended as they will be easier to blend once they have been soaked.

      Also, In Spain the title of Doctor is only used for medical doctors so Mr. Jenkins has his patients call him Lloyd.

      Kind regards,

      Kathy L.J.
      [email protected]

  14. Thanks for good information; I do have Dr Budwig’s ‘The Oil Protein Diet Cookbook’. I can’t see that beans/legumes need to be soaked before cooking?. Please could you say if soaking beans is required as I have just read an article from Dr Alan Christiensen giving reasons to ‘not soaking beans’. Please could you clarify. Many thanks, best wishes: Joan

    1. Dear Joan,

      Thank you for your question but beans are not of the same family as nuts and seeds. Dr. Budwig didn’t comment on soaking beans. We haven’t read the article you are mentioning and don’t have any clear instructions as to whether it is absolutely required or absolutely harmful to soak beans. We are sorry we can’t be more helpful with this subject at this time.

      Kind regards,
      Kathy Jenkins

  15. Greetings,
    Is it bad to soak the nuts and seeds more than the time indicated ?
    Can you use the water left from soaking nuts for food or is it bad?
    Thank you

    1. Dear Sachin, This is a good supplement for the heart but Ubiquinol is the same but more bio available and it is a “mushroom” extract which would be acceptable on the Budwig program
      1 soft gel per day with any meal

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