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How To Reduce Phytic Acid In Overnight Oats

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Trying to eat healthily often leads to multiple points of confusion in this day and age. Every week we hear about a new “superfood,” or maybe that a previous one isn’t as great as once touted to be.

I strongly advocate listening to new advice, and giving it a try for yourself to see how your body reacts. Allow your body to tell you what’s right and whats wrong in each equation.

So, how do you reduce phytic acid in overnight oats? The best way to eliminate phytic acid in oats is to soak them in liquid, with a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, for 12 to 16 hours before eating.

However, we are all different! While one person may benefit from a low-carb diet, the other person may experience an adverse reaction. 

Even though I love to eat overnight oats every day, that does not always guarantee the same circumstance for others. 

If you curl up in pain the minute you go near soaked oats, then phytic acid may be one of the oat side effects to blame. Here are a few ways you can improve your digestion of this enzyme without having to restrict yourself too much.

What are overnight oats?

Make overnight oats by soaking oats in liquid following a basic overnight oats ratio of 1½:1 liquid to oats. The soaking is usually done overnight so that the phytic acid dissipates, and then no cook oatmeal is ready to eat the very next day.

Steel cut oats, rolled oats or quick oats are generally available in every market, however they are not the only kinds. Rolled oats are best type for overnight oats, but there are recipes using the other kinds too.

Overnight oats can be made with water, almond milk, oat milk or really any liquid you enjoy

I have been dedicated to exploring a wide range of overnight oats recipes, which allowed me to play around with no cook oatmeal flavors like blueberry muffin, caffè mocha and pumpkin spice latte.

With all the wild combinations available, I generally stick to the same basic formula: old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, dairy free milk, nut butter, berries and a pinch of salt.

When I add nuts, chia seeds, or protein powder, I always increase the liquid to oats ratio to 2:1, otherwise I follow the basic overnight oats ratio. This is because the mix-ins will absorb additional moisture so the ratio needs to compensate.

Are overnight oats good for you?

In relation to the phrase, “you are what you eat,” well yes overnight oats are healthy. The fact of the matter resides in the overall benefits of oats, and the vessel of transport for nutritious superfood ingredients and toppings.

Oats offer healthy fats, plant based protein and both soluble and insoluble fiber. Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber present in oats that has been proven to be good for weight loss.

When comparing overnight oats to cooked oatmeal, it seems that soaking oats is more nutrias because they have had a chance to ferment. The fermentation process allows the growth of beneficial bacteria that help the gut microflora present in the digestive tract.

With all the health goals, it must noted that overnight oats is a vehicle that often includes a wide range of additions. Stay away from adding excess sugar, extremely high fats and overly process ingredients, then the meal prep will remain wholesome, hearty and packed with nutrition.

What is phytic acid?

Phytic acid is a unique natural substance found in many cereal grains, oil seeds, legumes and nuts.

Phytic acid reduces the ability for your body to absorb iron, zinc and calcium, which can inevitably lead to mineral deficiencies if left unchecked [1]. 

As a result, phytic acid is often referred to as an anti-nutrient. 

Although it can potentially impair the absorption rate of essential minerals, this is often not the case for those following a balanced diet.

There are a number of health benefits of phytic acid. Therefore, as with most things in life this tends to be more complicated that initially thought.

Can you reduce phytic acid in oats?

Bowl of overnight oats with almonds and berries on top

Avoiding all foods that contain phytic acid is not recommended because a majority of them are actually healthy and nutritious. 

Furthermore, many people that stick to vegan and vegetarian diets rely on grain, legumes and nuts as a source of plant-based protein, which is an essential part of a balanced diet.

There are several preparation methods that allow us to successful reduce the amount of phytic acid in foods, including oats. Cooking is one of the easiest ways to reduce the about of phytic acid in oats, but that defeats the point of overnight oats.

Soaking, sprouting and fermentation are the most common methods to reduce phytic acid without cooking [2].

To successfully sprout oats, you would have to soak the oat groats or whole kernels. 

Furthermore, fermentation would likely transition into subjects like beer making, bread making or food preservation methods like kimchi, which uses a slight amount of rice flour to help thicken the sauce to better coat the vegetables.

As a result, this leaves us with soaking. There are many types of oats, but rolled oats are most commonly used for this technique.

It is a common misconception that rolled oats are a raw food, but this is not the case.

Rolled oats are steamed before being rolled in large mills so that they don’t crack under the pressure of the large rollers, therefore they are partially cooked in the process.

Best way to reduce phytic acid in overnight oats

Even though you soak the oats while making overnight oats, you are still consuming the soaking water that contains the phytic acid.

After doing more research about the soaking oats, I realized that there are two ways to supercharge your soaked oats and successfully neutralize or reduce the phytic acid in your soaked oats.

Soak and drain: This is the most efficient way to remove the phytic acid. Add sufficient amount of water to allow your oats to soak overnight without fully absorbing all of the liquid. The next day, drain the remaining liquid and rinse the oats before mixing with your favorite add-ins and toppings.

Neutralize the phytic acid: Soaking oats overnight with a splash of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will help to neutralize the phytic acid within the soaking liquid. As a result, you can consume the soaked oats and your body is able to activate the digesting enzymes that absorb the available minerals.

If you want to make your breakfast porridge truly healthy, then soak oats overnight in either water with a pinch of salt and drain the liquid the next day, or make a bircher muesli containing oats soaked overnight in natural yogurt, grated apple and lemon juice.

The next day, add oatmeal toppings like honey, cinnamon, nuts, dried fruits, coconut and berries.

How to reduce phytic acid in overnight oats

Phytic Acid In Overnight Oats: Final Thoughts

Overnight oats have beee around for a long time, and have no intention on disappearing anytime soon. With the endless flavor combinations, toppings and mix-ins available, there are countless reasons why you need to add this superfood packed meal prep to your regular routine.

Even though rolled oats are not raw, they have not been steamed or cooked for long enough to eliminate the phytic acid naturally present in the oat. Therefore, it is important to take certain precautions to minimize the exposure.

Soaking the oats in liquid for a minimum of 12 hours helps to expel the phytic acid from the oats. Draining and rinsing will wash away the most, however that will also take some of the essential nutrients along with it.

The best way to reduce phytic acid in oats is by soaking the oats with a splash of acid to help neutralize the pH level. Add apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the soaking liquid, and you will have a delicious batch of no cook oatmeal that is ready to quench your hunger the very next day.

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J.

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

Hi, thanks for this information. My question: what apple cidar vinegar do you recommend? Can I use regular store bought 5%, or does it have to be fresh, or the Briggs Mother cidar?

J.

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

@Joshua, Thank you for responding. So, if I use the box label cider, it will still work at breaking down the phytic acid in the oats, correct?

Joshua

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

In our house, we use the Braggs organic raw apple cider vinegar. We jsut prefer it over big box labels and the fact it has the mother, is raw and organic work best for us. Hope this helps.

Mary

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Hi there. I have read that simply soaking the oats helps them to produce phytase, which destroys the phytic acid. Your blog (and many others) suggests something different: that soaking gets the acid out of the oats but doesn't destroy it. Who is right?! Bloggers don't seem to provide references to their data sources, and we readers are simply left to guess at their credentials. Thanks for your contribution to this discussion, and any more advice you may have!

John

Wednesday 31st of August 2022

Hello, I have read in other sites that they add some sea salt when they soak nuts and seeds. Does it matter? And I have also read that they dehydrate them after that. Is that important to do?

Joshua

Thursday 1st of September 2022

This is all in relation to removing phytic acid from the nuts. Yes these steps are necessary, but the amount of phytic acid is is nominal at best and some is actually healthy for you.

John

Saturday 20th of August 2022

Hello, I have three questions that need to be clarified. 1.When I soak the oats in a jar or something else do I have to cover it with somthing breathable like tissues? 2.If i rinse the oats after soaking it how much of nutrients will it lose? Will it lose as much as it lose when cooked? 3.Can I soak nuts and seeds with the oats in the same jar?

John

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

@Joshua, And I forgot one more question. 3.Is it better to leave the soaked oats out or put it inside the fridge and does the temperature affect it if it is in summer or winter?

John

Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

@Joshua, Thank you so much for answering my questions, but i two more questions. 1.Is it okay to cover my jar with tissues instead of fabric? 2.Is it better to rinse the oats or keep the soaking water?

Joshua

Monday 22nd of August 2022

It is best to cover with a breathable fabric to allow gas to escape, but not allow dust, dirt or debris to fall inside. Flies or bugs may also be attracted to the meal, so another good reason to cover the container. However, pressure will build up inside the jar if left at room temperature for too long due to active fermentation. I usually cover my mason jars with a lid and leave the overnight oats in the fridge for up to 5 days with delicious results every time.

I do not have exact information on how much nutrients you will lose by dumping out soaking liquid or cooking oats. I do recognize that some of the nutrients are lost in the water, same and when you boil veggies in water instead of steam them.

Yes, I always soak nuts and seeds with my overnight oats. They plump up and soften, making them easier to chew and digest, which makes them more bioavailable.

Jim

Friday 19th of August 2022

Hello.if I soak my oats in water in room temperature for at least 12 hours(1/2-1 ratio oats/water) without any acid and then i just cook them without draining the water or rinse them will i remove the most of phytic acid(is it worth to eat it or its emply calories) ? Or will be better to do this method with an acid?( i try to add acv 1 teaspoon and tastes awful) .Thanks anyway :D

Joshua

Monday 22nd of August 2022

No problem soaking the oats and then cooking them. You can also soak the oats in water overnight, then empty the water out and add any type of liquid you prefer for a better taste. Yes you will loss some of the nutrients when you dump out the soaking liquid, but it is not completely lost. Do what tastes best for you, and know that oats are jam packed with nutrition that you are bound to benefit from.