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Does ‘activating’ nuts affect nutrient bioavailability?

Kumari, S., A.R. Gray, K. Webster, K. Bailey, M. Reid, K.A. Han Kelvin, S.L. Tey, A. Chisholm, R.C. Brown, 2020. Does ‘activating’ nuts affect nutrient bioavailability? Food Chem. 319:126529. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.126529. Epub 2020 Feb 29.

Claims in the lay literature suggest soaking nuts enhances mineral bioavailability. Research on legumes and grains indicate soaking reduces phytate levels, however, there is no evidence to support or refute these claims for nuts. We assessed the effects of different soaking regimes on phytate and mineral concentrations of whole and chopped almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and walnuts. The treatments were: 1. Raw; 2. soaked for 12 h in salt solution; 3. soaked for 4 h in salt solution; 4. soaked for 12 h in water. Phytate concentrations were analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and minerals by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Differences in phytate concentrations between treated and untreated nuts were small, ranging from -12% to +10%. Overall, soaking resulted in lower mineral concentrations, especially for chopped nuts, and did not improve phytate:mineral molar ratios. This research does not support claims that ‘activating’ nuts results in greater nutrient bioavailability.