Nutritional Benefits of soaking legumes-lentils

by dassana amit updated May 24, 2013

Most of the recipes in Indian Cuisine makes use of legumes, lentils, cereals. There is another fact also – that there are many Indian recipes that soak the legumes, lentsils, nuts, cereals in water and then use them.

Its always necessary to soak legumes in water, as otherwise they take a long time to cook. e.g whenever we prepare rajma, chana or chole we soak them in overnight in water. But its not necessary to soak lentils in water as even without soaking they get cooked in 15-20 minutes.

However, soaking legumes, grains, seeds, lentils has its own health benefits. Although, legumes, cereals, lentils are rich in nutrients and enzymes, they also contain phytic acid.

Phytic acid is a type of a phosphorous compound. This phytic acid inhibits the absorption of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. The phytic acid also contain enzyme inhibitors that work to block the absorption of minerals.

Actually, nature protects the seed due to the presence of phytic acid. Phytic acid exists so that the seed can protect itself until the proper conditions are met for it to sprout and grow. In addition to blocking key minerals from being absorbed into the body, phytic acid can be a great strain on the human digestive system.

Traditionally, peoples have soaked and sprouted seeds, nuts, legumes and grains in order to get the optimal nutritional benefits. Once soaked, the phytic acid is deactivated and released into the water and the enzymes and minerals in the food are more readily available for absorption into our bodies.

Its very simple to soak the legumes, cereals, lentils. Place them in a bowl. Add clean filtered water double or triple the quantity. Cover with a lid. When you want to use them simply drain them and rinse well.

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Bano March 25, 2014 1


If we soak lentils overnight, and drink the water in which we soaked lentils. I’ve heard that the water helps in reducing weight. Is that true?


dassana amit March 31, 2014 2

i don’t know about the weight stuff. but this water should be discarded and not used while cooking. it contains the gas causing stuff and other compounds that are not good for the body.


Deepa October 2, 2013 3


Can you please confirm if the soaked water can be used for cooking or should it be discarded?
Does the water contain nutrients of the lentils which were soaked in them?



dassana October 4, 2013 4

it depends on the lentils that are used. usually the water become slimy after soaking some lentils like urad dal, rajma, white chickpeas. so its better to throw away. but they say black chickpeas (kala chana) soaked water is good and better not to discard and it has nutrients in it.


newbie May 16, 2013 5

Is it true that using the soaked water to cook the lentils is healthier than using the fresh water.


dassana May 16, 2013 6

i don’t know for all. but for some it works like almonds, black chickpeas


Amy Dyslex April 27, 2012 7

This is the reason that I always soak the beans n daals especially lobia n channa dal quite a long time before cooking. I would really love it if you can share the recipe of making paneer at home from scratch and veg chicken stew.


dassana April 27, 2012 8

its always better to soak the beans before cooking. not only soaked beans are good health wise but also their cooking time is reduced so much.

i have got a couple of requests more to share making paneer from scratch. i will write about it.

stew is one recipe that i have not posted at all. there are so many ways of making it. i like the kerala vegetable stew that is served with appams. i will try to post both the veg stew and the appams.