Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.  -George Iles

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Raw vs. Roasted

Raw (or unroasted) nuts. Contrary to popular belief, raw nuts are not simply plucked from trees and sold on a grocery store shelf. As mentioned previously, most nuts are dried to preserve them and improve their flavors and textures. These are raw nuts. While raw nuts are fairly nutritious and have no added fat, they’re often bland and tasteless. 

Raw nuts also contain enzyme inhibitors which help to protect the seed and keep it from germinating too early and dying off. This also helps to keep the species going. 

But these enzyme inhibitors, when introduced into the body, actually neutralize the enzymes your body uses to
control inflammation and aid in digestion. In fact, eating nuts with these enzyme inhibitors can cause the pancreas to swell. 

There are only two ways to destroy these enzyme inhibitors: 1) roasting, which also destroys the enzymes, and 2) sprouting, which keeps the beneficial enzymes intact. 

Roasted nuts. While roasted nuts have a lot more flavor than raw nuts, there are some definite disadvantages to them: 1) added oils, 2) added ingredients, 3) more difficult to digest, and 4) less nutritional value. 

Nuts can be either dry roasted or roasted in oil. As you probably already know, dry-roasted nuts contain less fat than nuts roasted in oil. In fact, roasting nuts in oil is a lot like deep frying—nuts are dumped into highly saturated palm kernel or coconut oils, adding about a gram of fat and 10 calories per ounce to nuts with an already high fat and calorie content.

Then roasted nuts are often heavily salted and almost always have other ingredients added to them such as sugar, corn syrup, MSG, preservatives, and other additives. 

In addition, many people have trouble digesting nuts because of the high fat content. Adding more fats during roasting makes them even more difficult to digest.

Finally, roasting destroys much of the nutritional content of nuts. Vitamin B, particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), which helps produce energy and keep the heart healthy, is most often killed off in roasting. 

And, as mentioned previously, roasting not only destroys the enzyme inhibitors, it destroys the enzymes needed by the body to help with digestion. 

So roasted nuts may have more flavor than raw nuts—but at a price: your health. 

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