Overnight oats and the benefits of soaking grains

IMG_20180215_143009_338Article courtesy of @live.love.balance

What are the benefits of oats?

Oats are a wonderful source of complex carbohydrates, proteins and essential fatty acids.Β  They are rich in magnesium, potassium, fibre and resistant starch, which is digested very slowly and triggers the release of digestive acids which help speed up metabolic activity. Oats are reknowned for their high content of beta-glucans, which have the ability to significantly lower cholesterol levels in the body.πŸ’–

Despite the multitude of health benefits though, some people find oats hard to digest, even when gluten-free oats are consumed. This is where the process of soaking oats comes into play.

Why is it important to soak oats?

Soaked oats have some unique properties that make them an even healthier option than unsoaked oats, and they’re also super quick and easy to prepare.Β  As the oats soak overnight in water or milk, their starches break down into molecules that are far easier for our gut to digest and absorb.

Oats and other grains also contain high levels of compounds known as antinutrients, which interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, copper and b vitamins. These antinutrients can hinder digestive processes and prevent digestive enzymes from breaking down food in our small intestine. Soaking oats removes a large portion of these antinutrients, making the nutrients more bioavailable.⚑

What is phytic acid?

Phytic acid is a type of antinutrient which occurs in grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. The reason plants contain phytic acid and other antinutrients, is largely as a defense mechanism. In nature, these antinutrient compounds help help protect the seeds so that they remain in-tact throughout the digestive systems of their predators. πŸ¦• This gives the seeds a chance to live on and reproduce.

However, not all antinutrients are your enemies. 😊 Compounds like polyphenols and flavanoids are antinutrients which have many nutritional qualities, including helping to prevent oxidative damage, lowering inflammation and improving immunity. Just remember to eat oats and other grains in moderation, and soak, soak, soak!

Are oats naturally gluten-free?

There seems to be a misconception that oats naturally contain gluten, however this is not the case. In nature, oats are found without gluten, but when they are grown in the same fields as wheat, rye and barley, the gluten can find it’s way into the oats and cross-contaminate them.

If you have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, it is adviseable to purchase oats that have been certified gluten-free. These oats have been tested in a laboratory for the presence of gluten.πŸ”¬

Overnight Oats and Chia seeds Recipe

Breakfast couldn’t be simpler when it comes to making overnight oats. It’s just a matter of leaving your oats to soak overnight in your preferred choice of milk, along with some additional ingredients to really pimp your porridge! Here’s my favourite recipe to get you started.

Ingredients

🌱2 tbsp raw, organic, whole oats

🌱1/2 tbsp organic chia seeds

🌱1 tsp (heaped) organic cacao powder

🌱2 cups organic almond milk

🌱1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract

🌱1 tsp raw honey to sweeten (alternatively use maple syrup)

Method

1. Place the oats, chia seeds and cacao powder into a large mason jar, then stir to mix the ingredients.

2. Gradually pour in the almond milk, stirring as you do so to mix the powder into the liquid.

3. Add the vanilla extract and honey (or maple syrup) and stir into the mixture.

5. Screw on the lid, leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning!

Tip

You might want to try out the range of nut milks from Plenish, which is my all-time favourite nut milk brand! I use their almond milk for my overnight oats and porridge, and their cashew milk for my English breakfast tea.β˜•

I’ve tried and tested a lot of nut milks in my time, and the Plenish brand is by far the best I’ve come across! The milks contain 6% nuts, which is a higher volume than other brands on the market, giving them a rich and creamy consistency. They don’t contain any nasty additives or oils either – just filtered water and sea salt.πŸ’š

 

For more nutrition info and handy wellness tips visit my blog on instagram @live.love.balance

 

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