Almonds are a popular snack that’s rich in many nutrients, including fiber and healthy fats (1).
They’re also an excellent source of vitamin E, which protects your cells from damage (2).
While many people enjoy them raw or roasted, you may wonder why others prefer to soak them before eating.
This article tells you everything you need to know about soaking almonds.
Research suggests that soaked almonds may offer some health benefits.
Almonds have a tough, hard texture that can make them difficult to digest (3).
In one study, soaking almonds at room temperature for 24 hours decreased phytic acid levels — but by less than 5% (10).
Another study found that soaking chopped almonds in salt water for 12 hours resulted in a small — yet significant — 4% reduction in phytic acid levels (11).
Notably, an 8-week study in 76 adults determined that soaking did not appear to improve digestive symptoms. Additionally, levels of phytic acid were the same or slightly higher in soaked almonds, compared with raw ones (12).
Overall, the research is mixed on whether soaking decreases antinutrients or aids digestive symptoms.
Soaking may make almonds easier to chew, increasing nutrient availability.
Nonetheless, one study indicated that soaking whole almonds had little or no effect on the availability of some minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc (11).
In fact, when the almonds were chopped before soaking, the concentrations of these minerals decreased — despite phytic acid levels also going down (11).
Thus, soaking may aid fat absorption but, conversely, decrease mineral availability.
Soaking also affects the texture and taste of almonds.
Raw almonds are hard and crunchy, with a slightly bitter flavor due to their tannins (14).
When soaked, they become softer, less bitter, and more buttery-tasting, which may be more appealing to some individuals.
Summary Soaked almonds have a softer, less bitter flavor than raw ones. They may be easier to digest, which can increase your absorption of some nutrients. All the same, the evidence is mixed, and more research is needed.
Soaking almonds is simple — and much cheaper than buying pre-soaked ones at the store.
Here’s a simple way to soak them overnight:
The soaked nuts can be eaten immediately.
For a crunchier twist, you can dry them via a few methods:
It’s best to store soaked almonds in an airtight container in your fridge.
Summary To soak almonds at home, simply cover them with water in a bowl and let sit for 8–12 hours. If you prefer a crunchier texture, you can dry them in an oven or dehydrator.
While soaking may lead to some improvements in digestion and nutrient availability, unsoaked almonds are still a healthy addition to your diet.
These nuts are a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, as well as an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium (15).
Additionally, consuming tannins and phytic acid is not necessarily harmful, as both antinutrients have been shown to exhibit antioxidant effects and may protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer (6, 22, 23).
Summary Whether soaked or unsoaked, almonds are rich in many nutrients and associated with improvements in heart health, blood sugar control, and weight.
Soaking almonds may improve their digestibility and increase the absorption of some nutrients. You may also simply prefer the taste and texture.
Yet, you don’t have to soak these nuts to enjoy their health benefits.
Both soaked and raw almonds provide many important nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats.