Can You Eat Oatmeal Raw?

If you question whether or not you should eat raw oatmeal, we've got you covered. From advantages and disadvantages, you'll feel safer after reading this guide. So, can you eat oatmeal raw?
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on December 20, 2022.

Oats are a healthy, nutritious food item to add to your routine. It’s a versatile whole-food item you can enjoy any time of day. Indulge in oats for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack.

Regardless, there are several ways to enjoy oats, from cooked to uncooked.

Perhaps you can add dry oats to your smoothie or eat them raw with yogurt (dairy, or non-dairy, plant-based yogurt).

However, maybe you question whether or not you should eat raw oatmeal.

From advantages and disadvantages, you’ll feel safer after reading this guide. So, can you eat oatmeal raw? Let’s find out below.

Raw Oats vs Cooked Oats

First, let’s uncover the differences between raw oats vs. cooked oats. Overall, oats have many health benefits, including balancing blood sugar levels. Plus, oats contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In addition, raw oats are entirely safe to eat. However, cooked oats are also a tasty and popular choice between the two.

It’s also crucial to point out that all oats you buy at the store aren’t 100% natural. Unprocessed oats have a hull and are pretty hard to eat and digest.

Although, even after processing, raw oats are pretty dry and can be harder to digest. However, raw oats also have a higher nutrient count. While dry, raw oats are typically safe to eat, they can also pose health risks.

For instance, raw oats may irritate the colon or stomach due to their roughness. Therefore, consuming oats with liquid can reduce bloating.

All oats undergo different processing. Some are more processed than others. However, the more processing that takes place, the safer it is to eat when raw.

If oats are less processed, including steel-cut oats, they may carry harmful pathogens. However, they are usually acceptable in small amounts.

Raw oats have more vitamins and minerals compared to cooked oats. Although, cooking oats can also help release some of those nutrients.

Vitamins and Minerals Found in Oats

Along with vitamins and minerals, oats also contain plant compounds. These compounds include antioxidants, including phytic and ferulic acid.

In addition, avenanthramides are also in oats. These reduce artery inflammation and blood pressure.

Phytic acid is primarily in bran. The acid may reduce mineral absorption, including zinc and iron. However, ferulic acid is a powerful antioxidant found in cereal grains.

There are also several essential vitamins and minerals, especially in raw oats.

Vitamins and minerals found in oats include the following:

  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Thiamine, B1

While manganese helps metabolism, phosphorus is exceptional for bone and tissues. Copper helps the heart, while iron helps transport oxygen in the bloodstream.

Selenium is excellent for a boost in immunity and mental health. Magnesium, zinc, and B1 are all helpful for overall health with several functions.

Overall, cooking oatmeal can be nutritious and easy on your body. However, oats are delicious, raw, or cooked. Plus, oats promote satiety and fullness.

So, how can you eat oatmeal raw? While safety is first, you can still enjoy raw oats. For example, perhaps raw oats work best for you when soaking in liquids like milk.

Can You Eat Oats Soaked in Milk Without Cooking Them?

While you can certainly eat oatmeal cooked, you can also let oats soak. Soaking raw oats in milk is an excellent method to consume oats without cooking.

Plus, your body can digest raw oats. Overnight oats are an example of how to implement soaking raw oats in milk. The liquid absorbs into the oats over time. Soaking oats can last several hours until it softens.

For a quicker process, you can soak them for at least two hours. Although, overnight soaking is more manageable and produces the best results.

Oats should soak between 12 and 24 hours with milk for a nice, thick texture. You can use a dairy-free alternative if dairy milk doesn’t work.

So, by the time you wake up, you’ll enjoy ready-to-go oatmeal without heating the stove. It’s a simple meal, as prepping is essential.

Also, you may even find it creamier than cooked oatmeal. Plus, you’ll reap the benefits of abundant nutrition.

Overnight oats with milk can be cold in the refrigerator without cooking.

However, after soaking and cooling in the fridge, you can warm the oats up in the morning if you’d like.

There are many recipes you can try for oats. While letting milk soak is a critical step, there are various ways to make soaked oats work for you.

Make raw oats your new go-to breakfast, from different kinds of milk to fruit and toppings.

Ingredients in Overnight Oats

Since oats don’t carry a ton of flavor, you can easily mix and match. From sweet to savory, you won’t get bored. The hard part is complete as long as the milk soaks overnight, or at least a couple of hours. You can let your raw oats soak with the following kinds of milk:

  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Any other non-diary milk

From there, you can also add seeds for additional nutrition, taste, and texture. You can add seeds to your oats or oatmeal by including the following:

  • Flax seed
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Chia seeds are great for oats to get a thick, creamy texture. Additionally, these seeds include omega-3s, protein, fiber, and minerals. If you want to stabilize your blood sugar, chia seeds are great, especially if you add fruit.

Finally, you can add fresh or frozen fruit to the mix. From berries to bananas, you can’t go wrong. You can add nuts, including walnuts or almonds, for protein for a parfait.

If you’re avoiding traditional sweeteners, add toppings, such as agave or maple syrup. Lastly, add a dash of cinnamon.

So, can you eat soaked in milk without cooking them? Yes. There are many benefits to soaking. From digestion to nutrition and enjoyment, soaking in milk is one of the best ways to enjoy your raw oats.

But, of course, you can always mix it up if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your oats besides cooking them. For example, next, you can throw raw oats in a smoothie.

Can You Eat Uncooked Oatmeal in a Smoothie?

Smoothies are appealing due to being quick, grab-and-go snacks. On the other hand, it’s also a great way to get a punch of adequate nutrition and calories. Like oatmeal, smoothies also are versatile.

Since raw oats are edible, you can add them to your delicious smoothie. Likewise, healthy grains, even uncooked oatmeal, make your smoothie a great addition.

Plus, you’ll avoid the possible destruction that can take place when cooking oatmeal. Of course, it’s excellent to put uncooked oat flakes into smoothies. However, before throwing oats in the blender, it’s crucial to know which raw oats are best.

Two of the best oats to put in your smoothie include the following:

  • Rolled oats
  • Quick oats
  • Instant oats

Both quick and rolled oats undergo a long steaming process. Plus, there’s additional pressing involved compared to other oats. Therefore, not only are they safer to eat due to processing, but they digest quickly.

Consequently, it produces the best results without trying. In addition, these two smoothie-approved oats blend nicely.

Rolled oats are also steamed and rolled into flakes. Then, the oats become toasted. The toasting process means less cooking time. However, when it comes to quick oats vs. instant oats, both are great despite their differences.

Quick Oats vs. Instant Oats

Quick oats are not only processed but partially cooked. Therefore, these oats are ready to go in the blender. However, it’s essential to look at the label, as some have added sugar.

Old-fashioned oats can also be safe, depending on their steaming process.

If raw oats undergo longer steaming, the microorganisms can neutralize. Plus, the process aids digestion and better soaking.

However, there’s a difference between quick and instant oats. Instant oats are also the most processed oats. So, they are incredibly safe to eat, even when raw.

Another advantage is that they are easy on the stomach. However, they also have the least nutrition.

Overall, instant oatmeal produces the finest texture. Raw instant oats are one of the best for all occasions, even smoothies. Quick and rolled oats are the best for a nutritional punch. Yet, both oats are safe enough to eat raw.

Oats To Avoid in Your Smoothie

Oats work well for all uses, including smoothies. However, there are also oats to avoid to stay safe while consuming your creamy beverage.

Some of the worst oats to blend in a smoothie include the following:

  • Steel-cut oats
  • Whole oat groats

Steel-cut oats add texture but may not work as well as quick or rolled oats. While steel-cut oats are coarse, whole oat groats are also tough and unprocessed.

Oat groats are a form of oat grain. The particular oat grain includes bran, cereal germ, and endosperm. So, groats aren’t the best choice for smoothie making.

Therefore, avoiding raw groats for digestive health and microorganisms is better.

Oat bran is another choice to avoid. Although digestible, oat bran may promote bacteria growth.

However, oat bran may be another option to add to your smoothies if you enjoy a gritter texture. Bran also includes soluble fiber, protein, and fewer calories. After removing the cereal germ and endosperm, the oat bean is the oat’s outer layer.

Overall, oat bran has many health benefits.

Health Benefits From Oats in Smoothies

There are many health benefits to adding raw oats to smoothies. Oats have beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that helps the bad cholesterol. Raw oats release beta-glucan compared to cooked oats during digestion.

Beta-glucan also lowers blood pressure and is excellent for your heart.

Along with soluble fiber, oats also contain insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is excellent for gut health, which feeds good bacteria. So not only are oats filling, but they can also promote weight loss.

Overall, you can add oats to your smoothies. Although, certain types of oats work better than others. Look for quick or rolled oats instead of steel-cut and whole-oat groats.

However, if you’re going for a thicker texture with grit, perhaps oat bran is a good option.

From gut and digestive health to heart health, there are many benefits. But, of course, you can also eat oats with yogurt.

Can You Eat Raw Oats With Yogurt?

You can eat raw oats with yogurt, both dairy and non-dairy, plant-based yogurt. In oatmeal, yogurt hydrates the raw oats slowly. Similar to milk, there are advantages to adding oats to your thick yogurt.

Sprinkling raw oats on top is a great way to incorporate oats into your diet. You can also add them to yogurt and place them in the refrigerator for overnight oats with yogurt.

Yogurt also is a great way to bump up the protein content.

The yogurt also provides more of a balance nutritionally. Whole oats contain protein and are also carb heavy.

So, mix two teaspoons of raw oats with your chosen yogurt for a healthy meal or snack. Yogurt and oats can stay fresh in your fridge for five days.

However, make sure there’s a lid that fits tight. Use a mason jar to achieve the best result that’s also easy. Not only are they cheap and easy to find, but they get the job done. Plus, they are glass and can reuse for a long time.

Regardless of your lifestyle, you can enjoy raw oats with yogurt. If you’re plant-based, you can grab a dairy-free alternative.

Today, there are many yogurt brands which include almond and coconut yogurt. If you want extra protein, perhaps greek yogurt is the way to go. For gluten-free, make sure your oats say certified gluten-free. To avoid sugar, avoid sweeteners or yogurt with fruit.

Final Takeaways

While there are many different raw oats, they are safe to consume. From soaking to adding raw oats to milk, both work best. While rolled and quick oats are the easiest to ingest and digest, it also depends on your preference.

So, can you eat oatmeal raw? Raw oats provide many health benefits, regardless of how you incorporate them. You can rest if you’re wondering if you should skip raw oats or only eat them while cooking.

Next time you’re at the store, grab rolled or quick oats to play it safe. So, now you’re ready to explore additional options for eating oats!

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