Do nuts have high levels of phytic acid / phytates? Should we care?
Nuts and seeds as a class tend to be high in phytates which reduce your ability to absorb the minerals in the mineral-rich nuts and seeds. The only exception I have seen is chestnuts. From a 1987 review article by Harland and Oberleas, I list the phytic acid content of almonds and an assortment of other nuts and seeds below.
Almonds 1,280 mg/100 gram
Cashews 1,866 mg/100 gram
Chestnuts 47 mg/100 gram
Hazelnuts 1,620 mg/100 gram
Peanuts, toasted 933 mg/100 gram
Jif peanut butter 1,252 mg/100 gram
Black walnuts 1,977 mg/100 gram
English walnuts 760 mg/100 gram
For comparison, here is the phytic acid content of a few other foods:
Heinz ketchup 7 mg/100 gram
Chow mein noodles 409 mg/100 gram
Elbow macaroni 260 mg/100 gram
Okra 5 mg/100 gram
Reducing phytic acid in nuts and seeds is tricky. Soaking nuts is recommended by Sally Fallon inNourishing Traditions. The problem is that a nut has a small surface area. Soaking a ground food is more effective than soaking a whole nut or kernel. It would be better to grind the nut at least slightly before soaking it. I realize that you then have nuts pieces which are not always near as interesting as the whole nut. Nonetheless, this is a morsel of advice I offer in the Phytic Acid White Paper which you can purchase here.