Sprouted almonds have been popping up in grocery stores with claims that they’re better for you than traditional nuts.
With all of the hype, you may be wondering — what are sprouted almonds and are they good for you?
Read on to learn about the benefits and risks of sprouted almonds, how to sprout your own almonds at home, and the different ways you can use them.
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What are sprouted almonds?
Sprouted almonds are raw almonds that have been soaked in water, then rinsed and drained repeatedly over a period of several days until they begin to germinate.
Germination is the first stage of plant growth in which a seed transforms into a seedling. During this process, the seed develops a small tail or “sprout,” which is visible when the seed is split open.
Is soaking the same as sprouting?
Many “sprouted” almonds that you can buy in stores have only been soaked (also called “activated”) for several hours and then dried, but not actually germinated until a visible sprout forms.
What do sprouted almonds taste like?
Commercially available sprouted or activated almonds are essentially soaked raw, unroasted almonds, so they taste pretty much the same as raw almonds that you can purchase at the store.
Sprouted almonds taste lighter and sweeter than regular roasted almonds and have a softer texture. They make a great addition to homemade trail mixes.
Sprouted almonds nutrition
It’s a common belief that sprouted almonds are more nutritious than their non-sprouted counterparts – but are they?
Let’s review the macronutrient and micronutrient levels of sprouted versus unsprouted almonds and see how they differ.
Macronutrients and micronutrients
Here is a direct comparison of the macronutrient and micronutrient levels of sprouted and unsprouted almonds, based on USDA data:
|Sprouted almonds (raw) (1 oz) (1)
|Unsprouted almonds (raw) (1 oz) (2)
The nutrition information on sprouted almonds is pretty limited, so we weren’t able to compare all of the vitamins and minerals found in almonds.
However, we can see that soaking almonds does not significantly change the amount of calories, protein, fat, or carbohydrates in almonds.
Interestingly, it appears that soaking almonds actually slightly decreases the amount of calcium, iron, and zinc in the nuts, especially if they were chopped before soaking (3).
Health benefits of sprouted almonds
Since sprouted almonds have essentially the same nutritional value as regular almonds, they likely also have many of the same health benefits.
Almonds in any form are great sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus (2).
Many studies have found that eating nuts, including almonds, at least two times per week has been linked to a significantly reduced risk of heart disease, compared to people who do not eat nuts at all (4, 5, 6).
Are sprouted almonds better for you?
Many people claim that sprouted almonds are better for you because they are easier to digest and offer more nutrients than unsprouted almonds.
The idea is that soaking and sprouting reduces levels of a compound called phytic acid, the storage form of phosphorus found naturally in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds (7).
Phytic acid (also called phytate) can bind to minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium, preventing your body from absorbing them easily in the digestive tract (7).
Does sprouting almonds reduce phytic acid?
In one study, researchers tested the phytic acid content of almonds that had been prepared in four different ways: raw (unsoaked), soaked for 12 hours in a salt solution, soaked for 4 hours in a salt solution, and soaked for 12 hours in water (3).
Surprisingly, the soaked almonds had higher phytic acid and lower mineral levels than the unsoaked almonds.
Another study found that people who ate whole, soaked almonds reported significantly more intestinal gas compared to those who were given whole unsoaked almonds (9).
It’s important to keep in mind that both studies used almonds that had been soaked (or activated) but not fully sprouted.
Still, there currently isn’t any peer-reviewed evidence that sprouted almonds are easier to digest or provide more nutrients than unsprouted almonds.
Safety concerns for sprouted almonds
Raw sprouted almonds are considered a “high-risk” food because they are more likely to cause food poisoning.
This occurs for several reasons (10):
- Almonds are harvested by shaking almond trees until the almonds fall to the ground, where they can easily be contaminated with bacteria from wildlife and irrigation water.
- In order to sprout, almonds require warm, moist conditions — the ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow and multiply.
- Sprouted almonds are often consumed raw, without being heated to temperatures high enough to kill harmful bacteria.
In 2015, a particular brand of sprouted nut butters was linked to an outbreak of Salmonella, a bacteria that causes abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever (11).
The FDA investigated and discovered that the production facility wasn’t properly sanitizing food-contact surfaces and didn’t apply a “kill step” to the sprouted nuts (10).
A “kill step” uses heat treatment or chemicals to destroy bacteria in foods, such as sprouted almonds.
The company responsible for the outbreak recalled the affected products and have since taken steps to ensure their products are safe (11).
If you’re concerned about a particular brand of sprouted almonds, you can always contact the company to ask how they protect their products from bacteria.
When sprouting almonds at home, you can reduce your risk of food poisoning by roasting or baking the almonds after they have been sprouted.
Where to buy sprouted almonds
You’re most likely to find sprouted almonds at health food markets, but they’re sometimes available at other grocery stores as well.
If sprouted almonds aren’t available at your local stores, you can always purchase them online. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular sprouted almond products available online:
Whole sprouted almonds:
- Daily Crunch Sprouted Almonds (5 oz) (available in 6 flavors: Original Sprouted, Cacao and Sea Salt, Cherry Berry, Golden Goodness, and Nashville Hot)
- Lark Ellen Farm Simply Sprouted Almonds Unsalted (10 oz)
- Living Intentions Sprouted Transitional Almonds Unsalted (16 oz)
- Living Nutz Raw Sprouted Almonds (available in 6 oz, 1 lb, 5 lbs, 10 lbs, or 15 lbs)
- Wickedly Prime Sprouted Almonds Unsalted (18 oz)
Sprouted almond butter:
- Jiva Organics Raw Sprouted Almond Butter (Creamy Unsalted) (8 oz)
- Jiva Organics Raw Sprouted Almond Butter (Creamy Unsalted) (16 oz)
- Philosopher Foods Sprouted Almond Butter (Naked Creamy) (16 oz)
- Philosopher Foods Sprouted Almond Butter (Creamy Alchemy) (16 oz)
- Philosopher Foods Sprouted Almond Butter (Naked Crunchy) (16 oz)
- Philosopher Foods Sprouted Almond Butter (Crunchy Alchemy) (16 oz)
How to sprout almonds
Sprouting almonds at home is relatively easy and only takes a few days.
The most important thing is to use raw (unroasted) almonds. When almonds are roasted, the enzymes that help start the sprouting process are deactivated, so they won’t sprout.
It’s also important to use a sterilized jar and wash your hands thoroughly before handling the almonds. This will help lower the risk of bacterial contamination.
Here’s what you’ll need to sprout almonds:
- Raw almonds, preferably organic
- Pint-sized or quart-sized mason jar
- Sprouting lid or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band
- Filtered water
- Small plate or bowl
Instructions for sprouting almonds:
- Place almonds in the jar, filling it about halfway.
- Fill the jar with water until the almonds are completely covered.
- Cover with a sprouting screen, or place cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure with a rubber band.
- Place the jar on the countertop or in a kitchen cabinet, and let it sit for 8-12 hours or overnight.
- After 8-12 hours, drain the water from the jar.
- Fill the jar with fresh water and swirl it around, then drain.
- Store the jar upside down at an angle to allow excess water to continue to drain.
- Repeat steps 6 & 7 every morning and evening until the almonds begin to sprout (about 2-3 days).
After the almonds have sprouted, they can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
However, most people choose to dehydrate sprouted almonds before using them. This gives them a crunchier texture and a longer shelf life.
To dehydrate sprouted almonds, you can use a food dehydrator or spread the almonds on a baking tray and place them in an oven set to 150 degrees F for 8-12 hours.
Ways to use sprouted almonds
Sprouted almonds can be used just like regular or raw almonds because they have a very similar flavor and texture.
Enjoy sprouted almonds on their own as a delicious snack or mix them into your favorite trail mix or granola. They can also be chopped and tossed on salads or blended into smoothies and soups.
Another option is to grind your sprouted almonds into almond flour, which can be used to make cookies, breads, pizza crusts, and other baked goods.
Finally, sprouted almond butter makes an excellent spread for toast, muffins, and pancakes.
Sprouted almonds are thought to be more nutritious, but research shows they actually have similar amounts of nutrients as raw, unroasted almonds.
Additionally, sprouted almonds that haven’t been treated to kill bacteria are more likely to cause food poisoning, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
If you choose to sprout your own almonds, be sure to follow instructions carefully and consider roasting them afterward to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
All in all, sprouted almonds are still a delicious and nutritious food that can be enjoyed as a snack or used in trail mix, salads, smoothies, and baked goods.
Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today. Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.