Oats are often commended as one of the healthiest grains you can eat.
Renowned for being an excellent source of the soluble fiber beta-glucan, they are a nourishing addition to a well-balanced diet.
They can even help you to lose weight!
But is eating raw oats healthy?
Although there are a few reasons that dry oats are not recommended on their own, raw oats are both safe to eat and highly nutritious.
Here’s the lowdown on why you can enjoy eating raw oats, the health benefits, and the best ways to prepare them.
Is Eating Raw Oats Healthy?
Types of Oats and How Much They are Processed
Oat grains come in many different forms, varying in the processing level they have undergone.
From little-processed oat groats to ultra-fine instant oats, it’s possible to eat uncooked oats in any of their edible forms.
As you’ll see from the following explanations, most commercial raw oats are not technically raw.
While ease of digestion should certainly be considered, “raw” oats can be eaten in the following forms.
And as we’ll highlight further down this article, it’s easy to prepare oats to make them more easily digested without cooking them.
1) Oat Groats
The oat groat is the least-processed edible form of oats.
Although farm animals will enjoy whole oats, they are not digested well by humans. Oat groats are whole oat kernels that have had the indigestible hulls removed.
Commercial varieties of groats may have been through heating and moisture-removal processes to prolong their shelf life.
Groats contain beneficial oat bran.
Bran is a healthy part of the oat grain that is commonly removed and sold on its own.
When they are properly prepared, groats are safe to eat raw.
However, they will take longer to digest than more processed varieties of oats. Cooking them is recommended.
Even if they are well-soaked, they’ll remain tougher to eat than more processed varieties of oats if you choose not to cook them.
2) Steel-cut oats
Another little-processed variety, these are groats cut into smaller pieces.
Also known as “Irish oats”, the smaller they have been cut, the faster they cook.
3) Stone-ground oats
Stone-ground oats are ground up into small pieces using stones.
They are often called Scottish oatmeal.
4) Rolled oats
Rolled oats are sometimes called old-fashioned oats.
Much more readily available than oat groats on supermarket shelves, rolled oats are not technically raw.
They go through a steaming process before they are flattened into “rolled” oats and moisture is removed.
However, when referring to raw oats in this post, we will consider all forms mentioned as raw oats.
Essentially, you’re wondering whether you can take whatever form of oats you purchase and eat them without cooking them.
From a digestibility perspective, rolled oats and the finer-milled instant oats are the types you’re probably most likely to consider eating raw.
They’re also the most common for baking, making smoothies, or oatmeal.
5) Instant oats
Instant oats are flakes cut even smaller and thinner than regular rolled oats.
Doing so makes them faster to cook and digest than other oats.
Also known as quick oats, ensure that other ingredients such as sugar, flavor, or milk powder haven’t been added.
Plain quick oats still have good nutritional content and are a convenient option.
However, they generally have a higher glycemic index than less-processed varieties.
Concerns About Eating Dry Raw Oats
The main concerns about eating uncooked oats revolve around digestibility and mineral absorption.
Preparation is an important consideration to help negate this issue.
Foods such as grains, legumes, and nuts contain anti-nutrients. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient found in oats.
It can block the absorption of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
Luckily, the oats’ phytic acid drops sufficiently when soaked for long enough.
Cooking oats further reduces phytic acid levels. People who have difficulty digesting raw soaked oats may prefer cooked oats.
Raw oats that are not soaked are likely to cause digestive discomfort.
Water will instead be pulled from the digestive tract, and this could result in an upset stomach.
With that said, most people won’t be adversely affected by sprinkling unsoaked raw oats on top of a nourishing and hydrating smoothie or similar.
Overall, dry raw oats are not ideal due to the phytic acid content and lack of water.
If you decide they’re still appealing to eat, drink sufficient water along with them.
Raw-soaked oats, cooked oats, and oats that have been soaked and cooked are all nourishing additions to a healthy diet.
The Many Health Benefits of Oats
Now that we’ve determined that it’s safe to eat raw oats when properly prepared let’s highlight some of the many health benefits of oats.
Whether you’re eating soaked raw oats or you’ve opted for cooked oatmeal, the nutritional benefits are similar.
- Rich in highly absorbable plant protein, oats have a good balance of amino acids. Overall, they are considered to be high-quality protein.
- Oats offer a rich dietary fiber source, including soluble and insoluble fiber. The satiating effect of fiber can aid weight loss.
- Oats are an especially good source of the soluble fiber beta-glucan. Beta-glucan fiber is associated with several benefits for health. These include lower blood sugar levels, healthy blood pressure and cholesterol management, and reduced risk for disease.
- Oats are a great source of prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics feed probiotic bacteria in the gut and are important for optimal gut health.
- They contain many essential vitamins and are a very good source of antioxidants.
Less-processed forms of oats have a lower glycaemic index than those that are more processed, so the former should be considered for anyone who has problems regulating their blood sugar levels.
It is also possible that cooking helps release certain nutrients.
Oats are naturally gluten-free whole grain.
However, people who are intolerant to gluten should be careful to purchase oats that have not been processed alongside gluten-containing grains.
Check the label to determine whether they are completely gluten-free.
Preparation of Raw Oats
Remember that soaking raw oats will enhance digestibility.
It will also improve nutrient absorption due to the reduction in phytic acid.
If you are eating oats without cooking them, let the oats soak for around 12 hours. Raw rolled oats simply need to be soaked in water.
Some people prefer to use milk or even cranberry juice! Just beware of how the sugar content will change if you choose something other than water.
Overnight oats are a popular way to enjoy raw oats.
Water and uncooked oats are the primary ingredients.
You can add any additional ingredients to your overnight oats as desired.
These can include chopped fresh fruits, nuts, chia seeds, yogurt, and other flavors such as cinnamon.
If you need more sweetness, try adding maple syrup or honey.
Another way to eat raw oats is to add them to a smoothie. The blender will help break them up into small pieces for easier digestion.
Plus, the smoothie will provide the liquid you need to assist you with the digestion of the oats.
Raw oats work great in baking recipes.
You can also keep them raw by using them as a base for bliss balls or other recipes.
Again, the action of the food processor will help break them down into more of a powder so that they’re better digested.
Add your favorite flavors, such as coconut or chocolate, and something to hold it together.
Then you have a tiny ball of delicious raw oat goodness!
Can You Eat Uncooked Oats? | In Conclusion
You now know that eating raw oats is healthy. Eating cooked oatmeal or eating raw-soaked oats are both healthy choices.
Some people pour boiled water over raw oats and leave them for 10 minutes to help make the starch easier to digest.
Consuming raw dry oatmeal is not recommended. This is due to the probability of digestive difficulties and the presence of phytic acid.
Whether they’re cooked or raw, eating oats has several benefits.
They can help keep blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control.
Excitingly, they can also assist with weight loss.
The combination of the satiating effect of the soluble fiber beta-glucan and several other factors is likely to contribute to the positive impact on weight loss.
Raw oats are safe to eat when they are properly prepared.
Soaking oats is an important preparation step for consuming raw oats, although small amounts of unsoaked oats in smoothies or on top of yogurt are unlikely to cause problems.
Overnight oats mixed with fresh fruit are a tasty and nutritious way to enjoy raw oats.
Eating dry or raw oats can provide your body with many nutrients. One cup provides nutrients like magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus and contains 307 calories. Raw oats are good for your gut but may cause indigestion.Is it OK to eat Quaker oats uncooked? ›
Yes, oats can be eaten without cooking. For example, there are a number of no-bake cookies containing oats that are very popular. However, because some individuals have more sensitive digestive tracts, it is a good idea to introduce raw oats to your diet slowly and to drink some fluids when eating the oats.What happens if we eat uncooked oats? ›
Raw oats are nutritious and safe to eat. They're high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, they make you feel full for longer amounts of time which can discourage unnecessary eating that may aid weight loss, and they improve blood sugar levels, cholesterol, digestion and heart heath.What is the healthiest way to eat oatmeal? ›
The healthiest way to eat oatmeal is cooked in milk with fresh fruit on top. The milk helps add extra protein and makes the oats creamy. The fruits add a delicious sweetness! You can also use almond milk or your favorite non-dairy milk.How nutritious is a cup of raw oats? ›
|Total lipid (fat) (g)||10.76|
|Carbohydrate, by difference (g)||103.38|
|Fiber, total dietary (g)||16.54|
Normal cooking takes little away from oats. In fact, cooking helps release some nutrients that your body can't extract from raw oats.How do you soak oats to remove phytic acid? ›
If you soak your oats overnight at room temperature (do not put them in the fridge!) between 7-15hrs it allows the natural enzymes and other helpful organisms to begin fermenting the grain and this will neutralise a large portion of the phytic acid.What are the benefits of eating raw uncooked oats? ›
A half cup of raw oats has around 150 calories and is packed with nutrients, including high amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin B1 (thiamin). In that same cup you get 25 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of fiber.
Oats should soak for at least 12 hours but 24 is best, and a little longer is ok too. I usually start them soaking at night so we can have them in the morning. This recipe is also gluten-free and dairy-free!Are uncooked oats hard on stomach? ›
This thick membrane needs to be softened so that we can access the nutrition. Our bodies cannot digest this membrane. So if we consume raw, un-soaked or uncooked oats our digestive system can lead to bloating, cramps, constipation and stomach discomfort.
Foods with a high glycemic index cause more rapid spikes in blood sugar, while foods lower on the glycemic index provide a slower release of energy and can help stabilize blood sugar ( 11 ). For this reason, steel-cut or rolled oats may be the best choice to support better blood sugar control.Is it better to eat oatmeal in the morning or at night? ›
There is no particular time to eat oats. You can consume the oats at lunch and dinner too. This cereal, however, is consumed in breakfast mostly. It contains fiber, magnesium, complex carbohydrates, etc, which help in keeping your tummy full for a longer time, thus, reducing overeating.Is it okay to eat a bowl of oatmeal everyday? ›
The Bottom Line
Oatmeal's high fiber content and prebiotic qualities may benefit your body in more ways than one. Making oatmeal a regular part of your menu can potentially lower your disease risk, help your gut health thrive, make bowel movements easier and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Raw oats are nutritious and safe to eat. As they're high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, they may aid weight loss and improve your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and heart and gut health. They're also easy to add to your diet. Just remember to soak them first to enhance digestibility and nutrient absorption.How much raw oats should I eat a day? ›
How much oatmeal should I eat a day? Half a cup of dry oats is the standard serving size for oatmeal. However, you could eat up to one cup of dry oats if your caloric intake is above 2500 calories per day.How much raw oats should I eat for breakfast? ›
Stick to half-a-cup of dry oatmeal, which is considered one serving size. That comes out to 150 calories, leaving about another 150 for toppings, so you can create a filling breakfast that doesn't turn into a calorie bomb that leaves you too full.Do you have to cook Quaker oats? ›
Question: Can you eat raw oats? Answer: Yes, you can eat rolled oats without cooking them as during the milling process they are cleaned and heat treated.Can you eat Quaker oats without hot water? ›
Yes you can eat uncooked Quaker Oats. Some people like to blend raw oats and add it in their shake for extra carbohydrates. Its easy and convenient way to get extra calories and there is no cooking involved too.Is it OK to eat Quaker Instant oatmeal? ›
Just like rolled oats and steel cut oats, instant oatmeal is a nutrient-dense whole grain with many health benefits. Instant oats are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also deliver a good amount of protein and fat.Is Quaker Instant oatmeal precooked? ›
Instant quaker oats are very finely ground oats and precooked, then dehydrated and flavored with a mix of natural and artificial flavors to give it the taste people like so much. Instal oatmeal comes in a wide variety of flavors and the oatmeal can be prepared quickly by adding water or milk.