You poured yourself a nice serving of trail mix made with fresh chopped pecan pieces for your afternoon snack, fast-forward 30 minutes, and you’re sitting in an office meeting when all of a sudden you feel it..that bloating pressure in your lower stomach and you’re petrified about what’s to come…G-A-S. But you’ve been eating so healthy! Did the nuts give you gas?
You’ve made all the healthy diet changes. You add pecans to your trail mix, you put pecan nut butter on your apple slices, you add crushed pecans to your yogurt, and for what? So you can walk around feeling like there’s a balloon in your stomach? The fact is, you’re not alone in this. Many people experience these same side effects from eating nuts. The thing most people don’t know, is that you don’t have to completely eliminate nuts from your diet to get rid of this gassy feeling.
Nuts hold more than just protein, fat, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals that do good things for our heart and health. In fact, they contain these little compounds called phytates and tannins that can ultimately impair our digestive processes. In the least scientific-ey way, it goes a little something like this: phytates and tannins have many jobs, but the most important in this case is to bind up minerals so they aren’t able to set off the enzymatic reactions that tell a nut to sprout until it is time. In theory, nuts have taken this natural selection process a little too far. The goal here for the nut is to make it the whole way through the body of whatever ate it without being digested so, ideally, when it leaves the body, it’s able to be “dropped” back onto the earth, planted and grow a whole new plant. Unfortunately for humans, this means we aren’t able to digest nuts very well.
Soak to de-bloat
Up until now, you’ve been convinced there’s nothing you can do except rid your pantry of these gas engines. But GOOD NEWS; you can still have your serving of nuts without the serving of gas. Think of this process as sitting in the steam room and then the sauna to get rid of toxins in your body. Soaking the nuts in water forces those phytate and tannin compounds to break down so you can digest the nut more easily. Follow the soak session with some time in the oven on low to dry out. Now you’ll have to come up with a new excuse to dodge that office meeting.
Do keep in mind that bloating and gas can be signs and symptoms of a food sensitivity or allergy, so if it continues to occur, refer to your doctor.