Five reasons why you should have overnight oats for breakfast
Updated: Sep 4, 2021
This article takes a look at the health benefits of overnight oats and suggests a recipe – plus there’s a link to a short video, to show you how to make your own.
Overnight oats are less “made” and more “constructed”, so are ideal for any kitchen novices out there.
Making overnight oats involves zero cooking.
All you do is compile the ingredients of your choice (including oats, of course) and let them soak in a liquid, or another product with a high moisture content, you guessed it, overnight.
So, what exactly are the health benefits of overnight oats?
1. They provide an amazing nutritional boost
Whole oats have lots of health benefits. They:
· Balance sugar levels – ideal for those with type-2 diabetes and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
· Are high in fibre – which is essential for good gut health and overall wellbeing.
· Contain several minerals, including magnesium and potassium.
· Are a source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
· Are high in antioxidants – most notably avenanthramides, which can lower blood pressure levels, as well as dilating blood vessels, improving circulation.
You can also add other ingredients to your overnight oats, to further boost their nutritional value. For example:
· Cinnamon – adds sweetness, while controlling sugar levels – a double win!
· Chia seeds – a fantastic source of omega-3. These little darlings must be soaked prior to eating, so are ideal.
· Milled flaxseeds – another great source of omega-3 fatty acid, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
· Hemp seeds – contain exceptionally high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as being high in protein and vitamin E.
· Fresh fruit – full of vitamins and antioxidants (especially if you include blueberries).
If you want more examples of simple, nutritional wins, read my article Superfood easy wins: a busy person’s fuss-free guide
2. They fill you up
High levels of resistant starch (or RS, to its friends) in oats, will leave you feeling fuller for longer - so you will be less likely to reach for the biscuit tin, come tea-break.
RS is great for good gut health, as it stealthily passes through the small intestine undigested. When it reaches your colon, it is party-time for your microbiota.
The good bacteria living in your large intestine, ferment starch into digestive acids, keeping you feeling fuller as well as boosting your metabolism.
3. They are easily digested
Like all edible grains, oats contain phytic acid. This is sometimes referred to as an “anti-nutrient”, as it interferes with digestive enzymes and blocks the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.
Slowly soaking oats reduces the amount of phytic acid, allowing your body to access nutrients more efficiently.
Overnight oats are more easily digested, compared with cooked oats. Although oats are gluten-free, they can become contaminated by other cereals. Even if you buy gluten-free oats, they can still be hard to digest when cooked – however, soaking them overnight makes them more digestible.
4. They take the stress out of mornings
Be a friend to your future self and take five minutes out of your evening to prepare your breakfast. You know you will thank yourself when you get five extra minutes in bed, or with the newspaper!
You will also be safe in the knowledge that you have made a healthy choice.
It is so easy when running around, stressed in the morning, to reach for a croissant or a bowl of sugary cereal to save time.
A study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, indicated that people who pre-prepared meals were healthier and had a lower risk of being overweight.
5. They improve feelings of wellbeing
Believe it or not, overnight oats are delicious – and are often compared with pudding. You can also swap ingredients around, so you don’t get bored.
You can make them to suit your tastes and needs. For example, you can make dairy or dairy-free versions. You can add sweetness in the form of cinnamon, honey and/or fresh fruit. And you can include extra crunch by sprinkling in sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds.
My personal recipe (of the moment!)
I like to change things up from time to time, but this is my current overnight oats recipe, that gets me springing out of bed with the enthusiasm of a five year old on Christmas day (well, almost…):
Oats – natch
Linwoods breakfast toppers – I am currently using the flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds and goji berries one
Oatly dairy-free yoghurt
Oat drink/Hemp milk
Raspberries and blueberries
You will also require a sealable jar. I use a 0.5L Kilner jar.
Spoon the following ingredients into your jar:
· Two tablespoons of oats
· One tablespoon of chia seeds
Give them a good stir. Then add:
· A sprinkling of cinnamon
· Two generous tablespoons of yoghurt (I am currently using Oatly, dairy-free but I have used Greek yoghurt in the past – which was delicious)
· Stir in your berries (or fruit of your choice)
· Top up with milk (I swap between an oat drink and hemp milk at present, but I used to use whole organic milk).
You should be able to stir the mixture quite freely, it shouldn’t be too stiff, otherwise it will be very dry in the morning, once the oats, chia seeds etc have soaked up the liquid (although you can always add some extra milk in the morning, if you wish).
If you would like to see how I do it; please click the video link below. Skip to 3:43 minutes to get straight to the part where I make them!
Comment if you think there are any ingredients that I should try!
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