In traditional diets of our ancestors, soaking was key to preparing food. Dal, rice, beans, nuts, seeds and other whole grains contain phytic acid. Soaking for a few hours before you cook helps to break down the phytic acid which makes it easy for the body to absorb all the nutrients and also digest the food better. Study shows that our grains contain arsenic, a compound found in earth‘s crust. By soaking the grain prior to cooking, the arsenic level can come down by 25-30%. Soaking grains also release compounds called lower order inositols and these compounds help support blood sugar regulation, metabolic and hormonal health (PCOS).
Soaking of rice and dal can be done up till 4 hours. For oats and most nuts, soaking overnight is good.
Traditionally in India, rice and lentils are fermented for at least two days before they are prepared as idli and dosas, or flour is fermented for hours to make bhatura; Africans soak corn overnight before adding it to soups and ferment corn for days to prepare a traditional dish; Welsh prepared similar dish by soaking oats overnight. Latin Americans ferment rice for long before cooking; Ethiopians fermented Teff grain for several days to make their bread; Mexican corn cakes are fermented for two weeks in banana leaves; Americans and Europeans used fermented starter to bake bread, cookies and cake. The Chinese were the first people to carry moong dal (mung bean) and sprout for consumption as they sailed on voyages overseas.
This blog post first appeared at Turmerich, a portal around food that helps your cells stay young forever.
About the author
Vandita Tewari Kapoor
Baking Addict. Impulsive Cook. Ingredient fanatic. Food photographer.
As a wife and mum to constantly-hungry three boys, I had no option but to endlessly test and prepare ‘comfort-food’ substitutes with nutritious ingredients and unbeatable taste. ‘TURMERICH’ is my attempt to provide my kids and others with food choices that can change the way one eats and not what one eats. Taste should never be compromised. Food is important in our household. Our emotions are driven by it. However, making subtle changes in the ingredients we use will go a long way in not only keeping us healthy but also very young.