Oatmeal is like the king of breakfast food. It’s nutritious, delicious, and calls for zero cooking skills. But, if you want to reap its benefits, skip the stuff from the packet! Overnight oats are the way to go, according to science.
Packets of oatmeal tend to be full of sugar and artificial flavoring. It isn’t worth the convenience, unfortunately. With overnight oats, you can control every last ingredient without even turning on the stove. Ready to soak up the goodness? Here’s why you should make overnight oatmeal.
Nutritional Benefits Of Oats
Oats are a stellar source of fiber. One cup has 16.5 grams, which is more than half of the daily recommendation.1 Most Americans only get 15 grams a day despite the recommended amount of 30 grams.
Since fiber is slowly digested, you’ll stay full for a long time. Waiting for lunch break won’t feel like torture. Dealing with constipation? Fiber also bulks up stool, making way for healthy bowel movements.
Moreover, fiber manages and prevent diabetes by controlling blood sugar.2 It even traps bile, a digestive liquid that can be made from “bad” LDL cholesterol. When fiber leaves through your stool, it takes bile along with it. The body then reacts by breaking down and reducing LDL cholesterol to make more bile.3
Every day, you need protein to survive. The Institute of Medicine recommends 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight, or 10–35% of your daily caloric intake.4 In one cup of oats you’ll get 26.35 grams of protein.5
Like fiber, protein increases satiety and keeps hunger at bay. Between the fiber and protein, oats are a smart choice for weight control. Additionally, as a plant-based protein, oats are a healthier alternative to red meat. With it, you’ll be trading all that saturated fat and cholesterol for lean, delicious protein.6
Potassium is needed for cell, tissue, and muscle function. It’s also an electrolyte, so it controls fluid balance. Even digestive health and muscular contractions depend on this mineral. Do you have high blood pressure? Potassium suppresses the effects of sodium by relaxing blood vessel walls. Plus, the more you eat, the more sodium is excreted in the urine.9
Drawbacks Of Oats
Too much of anything can be bad for you. But, are there any side effects of eating oats, too? Turns out, oats aren’t foolproof. Like beans, nuts, and other grains, oats have a high amount of phytic acid.
In the body, phytic acid binds with minerals like iron, zinc calcium, magnesium, and manganese. This blocks their absorption in the body! This is quite a shame, considering oats are packed with minerals.
Thankfully, the solution to this problem is simple. All you have to do is soak your oats in water. Soaking oats will break down the phytic acid. Come morning, you’ll have a nutrient-rich breakfast. Problem solved!10
How To Make Overnight Oats
- ¾ cup oats
- 1 cup almond, coconut, or rice milk
- Fresh fruit, raisins, almonds, coconut flakes, chia seeds, or chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or sea salt
- 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix the oats and milk together.
- Store in a covered container, such as a mason jar.
- Leave in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, add fruit and toppings.
Overnight oats can be eaten as is or heated up. Heating destroys even more phytic acid and tastes great on a winter day. To keep things interesting, mix and match toppings every morning.
|↑1, ↑5, ↑8||Basic Report: 20038, Oats. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑3||Lambeau, Kellen V., and Johnson W. McRorie. “Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy.” Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2017).|
|↑4, ↑6||Protein. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑7||Potassium Intake of the U.S. Population. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑9||How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association.|
|↑10||Gupta, Raj Kishor, Shivraj Singh Gangoliya, and Nand Kumar Singh. “Reduction of phytic acid and enhancement of bioavailable micronutrients in food grains.” Journal of food science and technology 52, no. 2 (2015): 676-684.|