Can you eat oats raw?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat oats raw?” and discuss the ways to add raw oats to the diet, along with the processing of raw oats. 

Can you eat oats raw?

Yes, you can eat oats raw. Although having raw oats is good for health, it is suggested to soak the oats before you eat them. This helps the oats to absorb the liquid, decreasing phytic acid and thus, improving digestion and mineral absorption.

Raw oats

Oats are unprocessed grains, eaten all around the world. Oats are easy to prepare, contain healthy nutrients that provide many health benefits.

However, the human body can not digest whole oat kernels. For this reason, the seed must be processed before consumption to separate the inedible outer shell and to expose the edible grain.

The outermost covering is known as oat fibre, which is mostly added to smoothies, bakery items as well as ground meat. 

The de-hulled oat grains and pinhead oats are very thick, so they can not be eaten raw. They have to be processed further to form old-fashioned oats. The process includes:

  • Separating the hull or husk from the de-hulled oat grains
  • Treating with heat and moisture 
  • Sizing and categorizing
  • Flaking or milling

The ultimate yields include oat bran, oat flour, or oat flakes (also called old-fashioned oats)., which all go through the same process of steaming, rolling and drying. The sole distinction is in the sizing of the ultimate result.

Old-fashioned oats can be eaten both in cooked or raw form. This implies that the old-fashioned oats can be either boiled when making oatmeal or porridge or served cold, for example, raw oats can be added to smoothies.

As the raw oats are steamed we can say that they are not completely raw. Steaming the oats do make them extra edible, so scientifically raw oats are actually raw.

The nutritional value of raw oats

Oats are a good source of healthy fats, proteins and other essential nutrients.

One half-cup serving of raw rolled oats provides:

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 33 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Potassium: 4% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 27% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 17% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 17% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 17% of the RDI

Apart from containing essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, and manganese, oats are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre. 

Oats are composed of a special kind of soluble dietary fibre termed beta-glucan that produces a gel-like matter in the digestive system.

Beta-glucan is the main source of soluble fibre in oats, which is largely associated with decreased cholesterol levels and improved heart health

Oats also contain a very digestible plant protein that gives a much greater value than other unprocessed grains. In addition, oats are composed of more fibre and good-quality protein than other grains and also provide a variety of beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

Possible side effects of eating raw oats

Although raw oats are harmless to consume, it is advised to let them absorb some water, juice, milk, or a non-dairy milk substitute to prevent some undesired consequences.

Eating hard raw oats can lead to their accumulation in the stomach or gut, resulting in stomach problems

Furthermore, raw oats consist of anti-nutrient phytic acid, which adheres to minerals such as iron and zinc. This makes it hard for the body to digest them. This can result in mineral insufficiencies in the long term but is not usually a problem if you eat a healthy diet overall.

Also, immersing raw oats in water decreases the influence of phytic acid on mineral assimilation. It is best to soak oats for a minimum of twelve hours to enjoy the most benefits.  

How to consume raw oats?

Raw oats can be added to infinite recipes. You can add oats as a topping to your favourite yoghurt or blend them into a smoothie.

One simple and healthy method to have raw oats is to allow them to soak in water or milk and keep them in the fridge overnight.

This enables them to absorb the water, making them readily absorbable in breakfast.

To prepare overnight oats you will require:

  • 83 g of raw oats
  • 240 millilitre of water, yoghurt, or dairy or non-dairy milk as you prefer
  • One tsp chia seeds
  • One tsp of your favourite sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup, sugar, or any sugar alternative
  • One-half cups of fresh fruit, like banana or apple slices

Add everything in a sealed container to restrict the oats from wilting and keep them in the fridge overnight. Mix some extra fruits, nuts and seeds in the day, if you prefer.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat oats raw?” and discussed the ways to add raw oats to the diet, along with the nutritional value and processing of raw oats. 

References 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raw-oats#basics
https://www.livestrong.com/article/412378-is-eating-uncooked-oatmeal-healthy/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.