Overnight Oats Vs Cooked Oats: Which Is Healthier?

Oatmeal is such a great thing to have on hand for quite a few reasons, but its ability to become a quick and easy overnight meal for breakfast is definitely one of them. Though oats are pretty healthy for you however you prepare them, you can actually get more bang for your nutritional buck depending on your methodology. Oats have tons of good nutrients like fiber and protein as well as magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium along with other vitamins and minerals.

But when you soak them overnight instead of cooking them with a source of heat, the oats actually retain more of those nutrients that are so good for you (via University Health News). It has a lot to do with the phytic acid that oats have. Oats that are soaked allow the starches to break down more which reduces the phytic acid. This, in turn, allows the oats to retain more of their nutrients as well as helps the body more efficiently utilize the oats' nutrients. Another bonus to this is that it makes the oats easier to digest, even for people who have gluten sensitivities, who often have a hard time breaking down oats — gluten-free or not (via Bob's Red Mill).

The list of benefits that overnight oats provides is extensive

While everyone should want to get the most good-for-you nutrition out of their food as possible, there are other positives to overnights oats in addition to that. Overnight oats, which are closer to uncooked oats, have 11 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber, according to University Health News. Cooked oats, on the other hand, have only six grams of protein and four grams of fiber. Another way to pack even more good nutrients into your oats is to soak them in lemon juice for better heart health. University Health News says it will not only give you a good dose of vitamin C, but it can help oatmeal's power to lower cholesterol double down. In fact, it can help oatmeal's natural ability by close to 60 percent.

Another benefit to overnight oats is their resistant starch. Though some resistant starch can be found in all foods, it is more abundant in some foods, including oats. Apparently, resistant starches are more plentiful in cooled starchy foods rather than cooked ones, which includes overnight oats. That means the natural carb will help digestion, but it can also help you lose weight by making you feel more full and decreasing insulin spikes, explains University Health News.

So, consider sticking your oatmeal in the fridge from time to time. It's certainly worth incorporating into your usual diet.