Why Soak your Oats?

Why Soak your Oats?

Did you know that soaking your oats is actually the traditional way our grandmothers prepared oats in the past?

Traditionally, porridge was made by preparing the oats the night before and allowing them to soak overnight. This assisted the oats in breaking down so they were more digestible the next morning. 

This practice also encouraged beneficial enzymes to come to life and removed the phytic acid which inhibited the absorption of other minerals, enabling us to easily digest our oats. Luckily, this is a practice that can still be utilised to this day.

What is Phytic Acid?

Phytic acid, or phytates, is the stored form of phosphorus found in seeds, nuts, legumes, and unprocessed whole grains, like oats.

I first discovered information about phytic acid when I was introduced to this Weston A. Price piece, which includes insights from an eye-opening book, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

Phytic acid is found in grains, nuts, seeds and beans. The amount of phytate in grains, nuts, legumes and seeds is highly variable. The levels that researchers find when they analyse a specific food probably depend on growing conditions. The harvesting techniques, processing methods, testing methods and even the age of the food being tested can influence these levels, as well.

The phytic acid will be much higher in foods grown using modern high-phosphate fertilisers than those grown in natural compost. However, GF Oats don’t use these fertilisers in our growing production. Phytic acid is in the outer layer of all grains. 

If left unaddressed, phytic acid combines with calcium, magnesium, copper, and essential other nutrients in the intestines and inhibits their absorption. This is why you need to be careful if you are consuming a diet that is high in grains.

Why soak your oats?

The problem exists because we have lost touch with our ancestral heritage of food preparation. Somewhere along the way, like most things in our busy 21st century, we dropped our slow food preparation practices and decided we were all in too much of a hurry to prepare food properly.

Too much phytic acid can cause irritation and impact our ability to get the full benefits of essential minerals. We are unable to absorb them due to the phytic acid blocking this process.

The key is to ensure foods containing this acid are prepared properly to avoid this happening. This means soaking them to allow enzymes to help break down and neutralise the phytic acid. It is not necessary to rinse the oats the next morning.

We can use an acid to do this, this can be in the form of whey, kefir or yoghurt. Or, if you can't handle dairy, then lemon or apple cider vinegar will do the same thing.

By soaking your oats, you neutralise the phytic acid. This soaking allows the beneficial enzymes to work and increases the number of vitamins and minerals present that your body will absorb.

On the plus side, the process of rolling oats removes at least part of the bran, where a large portion of the phytic acid resides.

Benefits of Soaking Oats Overnight

Soaking oats overnight offers several positive health benefits.

Chief among them is that soaking oats overnight allows them to break down, making them more digestible. Overnight oats that are soaked in water also cause beneficial enzymes to come to life.

As noted, when phytic acid remains in oats, it impacts the body’s capacity to absorb all the healthy minerals and nutrients present. 

Soaking oats removes this phytic acid, improving digestion and allowing your body to absorb the fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other intrinsic nutrients that are otherwise impacted.

Learn more about how to soak your oats here.

To get more out of your oats and the health benefits they offer, check out our range of delicious oat recipes or view our blog for more insight into how oats can be used to better your health.

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  • I’ve seen other recipes where the soaking liquid is discarded after the soaking period, but it looks like you use yours. Does that mean it’s ok to consume once the soaking process is complete? ie. The chemical change has occurred so no need to throw anything away? I don’t want to throw away if I don’t have to, but was concerned that I would then be ingesting the phytic acid anyway. Would appreciate advice/ explanation on this. Thanks

    Donna S
  • when i click on HOW TOSOAKYOUROATS, it doesn’t say how ..Measurement etc and how to do .. i’m not a great cook so need deliberate details
    it mentions lemon juice or apple cidsr vinegar . yuk .. that’s why i buy activated nuts , because the phytic acid problem is done for me

    Kristel Anderson

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