Are you a fan of overnight oats? Do you love the convenience of having a healthy breakfast ready to go in the morning?
If so, you may have heard about the benefits of soaking your oats overnight to reduce phytic acid. But what exactly is phytic acid, and how does soaking your oats in milk affect its levels?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind phytic acid and its impact on our health, as well as the effectiveness of soaking oats in milk to reduce its levels.
So grab a bowl of your favorite overnight oats and let’s dive in!
Do Overnight Oats Soaked In Milk Reduce Phytic Acid?
Phytic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the outer layer of grains, nuts, and legumes. While it serves as a source of energy for sprouts, it can inhibit the absorption of important nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium in humans.
Soaking oats overnight in milk has been touted as a way to reduce phytic acid levels and improve nutrient absorption. But does it actually work?
The answer is yes, but with some caveats. While soaking oats in milk can help reduce phytic acid levels, the effectiveness depends on a few factors.
Firstly, it’s important to use the right type of oats. Rolled or steel-cut oats are best for soaking as they have a higher phytase content than instant oats.
Secondly, the milk used for soaking should be acidic. Adding a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the milk can help activate phytase, an enzyme that breaks down phytic acid.
Lastly, it’s important to soak the oats for at least 12 hours to allow enough time for the phytic acid to break down.
What Is Phytic Acid And Why Is It A Concern?
Phytic acid, also known as phytate, is a natural substance found in the outer layer of grains, nuts, and legumes. While it serves as a source of energy for sprouts, it can inhibit the absorption of important nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium in humans.
Phytic acid is often referred to as an anti-nutrient because it reduces the ability for your body to absorb these essential minerals, which can lead to mineral deficiencies if left unchecked. This is especially concerning for those who rely heavily on grains and legumes as their main dietary staples.
However, it’s important to note that phytic acid is not always harmful. There are a number of health benefits associated with phytic acid, such as its antioxidant properties and its ability to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
To reduce the negative effects of phytic acid on nutrient absorption, traditional cultures often soak, sprout, or ferment their nuts, seeds, and grains. These methods help break down phytic acid and increase nutrient availability.
The Benefits Of Soaking Oats Overnight
Soaking oats overnight in milk has several benefits beyond reducing phytic acid levels.
Firstly, soaking helps to break down the starches in oats, making them easier to digest. This can be especially beneficial for those with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
Secondly, soaking releases more of the oats’ vitamins and minerals, making them more available for the body to absorb. This can lead to improved nutrient intake and overall health.
Thirdly, soaking can partially break down some of the proteins in oats, like gluten, which can make them easier to digest for those with gluten sensitivities.
Lastly, soaking oats overnight can save time in the morning as it reduces cooking time and creates a ready-to-eat breakfast option.
Does Soaking Oats In Milk Reduce Phytic Acid Levels?
Soaking oats in milk can indeed reduce phytic acid levels. Milk contains natural acids that can help activate phytase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down phytic acid. Additionally, the longer the oats soak in milk, the more time phytase has to work and break down the phytic acid.
However, it’s important to note that not all milk is created equal. Acidic milk, such as buttermilk or kefir, will be more effective at reducing phytic acid levels than regular milk. Additionally, using non-dairy milk alternatives like coconut or almond milk may not be as effective as they do not contain natural acids.
It’s also important to keep in mind that soaking oats in milk alone may not completely eliminate phytic acid. To maximize the reduction of phytic acid levels, it’s recommended to also add an acidic medium like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the soaking liquid.
Other Ways To Reduce Phytic Acid In Your Diet
In addition to soaking oats in acidic milk, there are other ways to reduce phytic acid levels in your diet.
Cooking, sprouting, fermenting, and pickling are all effective methods for breaking down phytic acid and improving nutrient absorption. Soaking grains and legumes in water overnight can also significantly reduce their phytate content.
Using vinegar in salad dressings and cooking can enhance mineral absorption and offset phytic acid. Supplementing with phytase enzymes or mineral-fortified foods may also be necessary if you have confirmed nutrient deficiencies.
Consuming vitamin C-rich foods like leafy green vegetables or citrus fruits with meals that contain phytic acid can also help improve iron absorption. And adding small amounts of animal foods on occasion can boost stores of necessary minerals in your body if you’re eating a plant-based diet and have confirmed nutrient deficiencies.
It’s important to note that avoiding all foods that contain phytic acid is not ideal, as many of them are healthy and nutritious. Instead, try different preparation methods to reduce phytic acid levels and improve nutrient absorption.