They’re good stuff. Insoluble and soluble fiber, complex carbs, b vitamins, phytic acid.
Wait, what was that last one?
Phytic acid…isn’t that an anti-nutrient that blocks the bodies ability to absorb certain minerals?
Oats, like most beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, have phytic acid. This anti-nutrient binds to calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc (and other minerals in lesser degrees) and makes them unabsorbable to the digestive system.
I’m a nutritarian and while I get a whole lot of pleasure out of the act of eating, I’m also interested in getting maximum nutrition from my food. This means that if I can make my morning oats more nutrient dense and still delicious than I’m all for it.
So I soak ’em.
Soaking grains, beans, seeds, and nuts in warm water and a little acid (from yogurt, kefir, lemon juice, whey, or apple cider vinegar) for several hours breaks down much of the phytic acid and voila-the minerals are now available for your digestive system to utilize!
At night I put my oats, warm water, and a teaspoon or two of acid (usually yogurt) into a pot with a lid and let it sit on the (turned off) stove overnight. In the morning I cook the oats as usual except that they don’t take as long because they’ve been absorbing water all night.
I do this with other grains too; quinoa, rice, amaranth and all of my beans.
There are lots of times that I forget to soak my grains and just cook them the regular way but the majority of the time they are soaked first. [still working on how to incorporate soaked oats into my dessert crust!]
Many of you are probably already getting the benefits of soaking oats without knowing it by eating Overnight Oats, as long as you add a little yogurt or kefir to the mix.
Soaking grains may also make them easier to digest by neutralizing the enzyme inhibitors so if you have noticed mild digestive problems you may want to give it a try.
You can soak flour too! Here’s an awesome recipe for soaked English Muffins.
Are beans, grains, seeds, and nuts bad for you if they’re not soaked? In my opinion, no. But I do believe that soaking is an easy way to make them even better for you.