Why You Should Be Eating More Overnight Oats, According To Science

Written by Tori Robinson, BSc

Photo by Stocksy

I usually start off my day with a bowl of delicious oatmeal topped with almonds, berries, dates, and cinnamon. As a Norwegian, oatmeal is a food with long traditions; it's been eaten daily for generations—dating as far back as the Vikings.

Why oatmeal?

Oats contain slow carbohydrates, protein, and essential fatty acids. It's an excellent prebiotic, meaning oatmeal feeds the good bacteria and helps contain a healthy gut flora.

These good bacteria have been shown to produce chemicals that are good for our hearts and gut linings. Oats also contain beta-glycan, which has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits.

Phytic acid

Oats as well as other grains, legumes, and nuts contain a high amount of phytic acid. In cereal grains, phytic acid is found in the outermost shell.

In our digestive tract, phytic acid binds to minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc, which make them indigestible in the body.

It also acts as an inhibitor for important digestive enzymes such as pepsin, amylase, and trypsin. A diet high in phytic acid will therefore weaken a food's nutritional value.

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The solution: soaking

Before I go to bed, I prepare my breakfast for the next day by mixing oats, rice milk, and salt in a small dish or jar. You can also use water, almond milk, or coconut milk instead.

To add more protein, I always put in a handful of almonds, too. I store it at room temperature, but you can also put it in the fridge. Overnight, the oats and almonds swell up and the phytic acid is reduced.

The next morning you can either choose to eat the oatmeal raw or to heat it up. I personally prefer to heat it up a bit; if not, you can simply top with fruit and spices and eat.

Soaking is not a fancy new method but an old tradition for preparing grains—it's similar to techniques like sprouting and fermenting.

Oatmeal for One


  • ¾ cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • ⅓ teaspoon sea salt
  • A handful of chopped almonds

1. Mix together, cover, and let sit overnight.

2. The next morning: Enjoy raw or heat up. I personally prefer to heat it up a bit, as it helps reduce the phytic acid content even more. Before eating, add in:

  • 2 dates, chopped small
  • A small handful of raw cocoa nibs
  • ½ fresh blueberries
  • ⅓ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


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