Interested in trying a new way to consume oatmeal that will provide all of the health promoting benefits of a classic bowl of oatmeal? Then you gotta try drinking oat water!
This article was written by Amber Hames, Bio-Medical Science Major at the University of Guelph. Edited and reviewed by Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.
What Is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a classic breakfast food made of prepared oats cooked with liquids such as water or milk. A bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit is part of a balanced diet. This post offers a twist on the traditional bowl of oats and instead encourages drinking oatmeal.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains. They are a source of carbohydrates, but contain a significant amount of protein and are low in fat. They also provide a good source of important minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, iron, and Vitamin B (1). They are one of 39 foods that can unclog arteries and one of 39 foods that can lower blood pressure.
Oats are naturally gluten-free whole grain. If you have a gluten sensitivity, be sure to check for gluten-free oats on the food label as some oats are processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, and barley which could cause contamination.
Quick Dry Oats Nutrition Information (3/4 cup) (2)
- Calories: 116
- Carbohydrate: 20 g
- Fat: 2 g
- Protein: 4 g
- Fiber: 3 g
Types Of Oatmeal
Steel cut, rolled oats and instant oats are typically consumed in North America. Depending on how they are processed from the original oat kernel, their consistency and cook time will vary (1).
Steel Cut Oats
This is the most unprocessed form of the oat. Steel cut oats are whole oat groats that have been cut into two or three pieces with a steel blade. Since they are less processed, they take a long time to cook (around 15-30 minutes). The final product after cooking is chewy in texture.
Commonly known as old fashioned oats, these oats have gone through further processing (steaming and flattening) to create softer oatmeal that takes less time to cook (2-5 minutes). These oats are flatter and cut smaller than the steel cut oats.
Instant Oats Or Quick Oats
Quick oats are processed more. They are steamed and rolled to be thinner and are cut even smaller than rolled oats. As a result they take even less time to cook (1 minute), and have a mushy texture.
What Is Oatmeal Water?
Oatmeal water is as simple as it sounds, it is a mixture of uncooked or raw oats added to water. There are many benefits of oat water. It provides all the great health benefits of oats with hydration.
To take your oatmeal water up a notch, try soaking the raw grains (oats) in water overnight before blending them.
Oats contain phytic acid which attaches itself to some minerals and forms a structure our body struggles to break down and absorb. Soaking the oats first will lower the phytic acid and allows your body to absorb the most nutrients (3)!
This creamy drink also skips the step of boiling oats, which could be a barrier to oat consumption due to increased time and more dishes to clean. Drinking oatmeal is a great way to keep things simple, while still consuming adequate nutrients.
7 Benefits Of Oat Water
The seven benefits of oat water include weight loss, protection against cardiovascular disease, aid in blood sugar regulation, assist in detox processes, provide antioxidants, and may also help prevent cancer and osteoporosis.
1. Oatmeal Water For Weight Loss
Weight management has a lot of moving parts, but it mainly consists of the energy you consume in the form of calories vs. the energy you expend. However, consumption of certain foods may provide you with more satiety, i.e., the feeling of being full!
Can you drink oatmeal water to lose belly fat? Let’s look at the research regarding oatmeal water for weight loss.
As the food we eat makes its way through our gastrointestinal tract, our body produces specific enzymes to break down and absorb all the nutrients the food provides. While our organs process this food, our stomach tells us that we aren’t hungry.
When we eat fast-digesting foods (like those high in carbohydrates and low in fiber), this digestion process happens quickly so we end up craving food sooner. However, consuming fiber can slow down this process and make us feel more satiated.
Commonly known for its ability to relieve constipation, fiber also has an array of other benefits, including lowering your risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity (4).
3/4 cup of oats offers 3 grams of fiber. It is recommended that women consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need 38 grams a day (5). So 3/4 cup of oats provide 12% of the daily fiber requirements for women, and 8% for men. Drinking oatmeal is a great way to help us meet our fiber needs.
So, should you drink oatmeal water to lose belly fat? Well, beta-glucan fiber is a soluble fiber found in oats that forms a gel-like viscosity when it is mixed with water, and slows down our digestion and absorption of food (6). This slow digestion makes us feel full longer.
There is also evidence that the beta-glucan stimulates the release of the hormone, peptide Y-Y, a hormone responsible for further suppressing your appetite (7). Another reason you may want to consume oatmeal water is to lose belly fat.
Together, the appetite-suppressing hormones and the slowed digestion work together to ensure you will feel fuller for longer. This results in fewer trips to your kitchen in between meals, and explains why drinking oatmeal water for weight loss can be effective.
2. Antioxidants In Oat Water
You may have heard of antioxidants before but are unsure of what they do or why they are vital for our health. Basically, antioxidants help fight against free radicals, which are pesky compounds that cause damage to our cells. This accumulation of cell damage can result in some major diseases.
We obtain antioxidants through various sources, and luckily, oatmeal water can be one of these sources! The particular antioxidant found in oats is called avenanthramide, and has been shown to result in better blood flow and have anti-inflammatory effects (8).
Your body is a pro at naturally detoxifying any harmful substances it encounters; but, oatmeal water can be used to make sure your organs are better equipped to do their job.
An oatmeal water detox focuses on consuming a fiber-packed drink, which can prevent and treat constipation.
Therefore, an oatmeal water detox helps your body do what it’s made to do, eliminate harmful waste. It does this by keeping your body hydrated and nourished while keeping your bowel movements regular.
4. Prevent Osteoporosis
Another benefit of oat water is it provides us with a good source of calcium. But calcium isn’t the only mineral needed for healthy bones. Oats also contain other minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, and copper, that help your body absorb calcium and increase your bone density (2).
5. Cancer Prevention
Cancer remains to be a complicated process with little clarity on what direction can cause or prevent it. While it cannot be said that oatmeal water can prevent cancer, there may be an inverse relationship present. The more high fiber food you consume, the less likely you are to develop colorectal cancer (9).
Also, the antioxidant activity in oats may also protect against DNA damage and prevent cells from replicating too fast, both beneficial for cancer prevention (10).
6. Lower Cholesterol With Oat Water
Not all cholesterol has a negative impact on your health. High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as the ‘good’ cholesterol as it promotes your heart health and the ‘bad’ cholesterol is known as low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Not only does the beta-glucan fiber in oatmeal lower the negative LDL cholesterol, but it also elevates the protective HDL cholesterol (11).
The antioxidant, avenanthramide, also helps your heart by increasing nitric oxide production (8). This allows your blood vessels to widen to let your blood pump freely, and reduce your blood pressure.
Sounds like oatmeal water is a natural way to manage high LDL cholesterol levels and improve your heart health!
7. Oat Water Improves Blood Sugar
When we consume carbohydrates, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin so we are able to use the carbohydrates for energy. This is a healthy and necessary process, but carbohydrates still often get a bad rap due to its ability to become unhealthy when consumed in excess.
Luckily, when carbohydrate sources are eaten with fiber such as beta-glucan in oatmeal water, the viscosity of the intestinal content increases. This slows down carbohydrate absorption. Delaying the carbohydrate absorption allows our blood sugar levels to rise slowly and stay within an optimal range for longer (12).
The opposite of this is when you consume high sugar, low fiber foods; your insulin spikes fast and drops quickly, leaving you feeling hungry and reaching for more food. Over time your body will react to these sharp spikes by requiring more and more insulin to maintain proper blood sugar levels increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Start drinking oatmeal water to help regulate your blood sugar levels by providing a steady, long-acting source of energy. There is also some evidence to support that beta-glucan may improve insulin sensitivity, providing further protection from type 2 diabetes (12).
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Oatmeal Water Taste Good?
Yes! One of the benefits of oat water is you have the ability to make it taste good for YOU and your taste buds! Don’t like plain oatmeal water? Add some honey, cinnamon, or even peanut butter! Whatever your heart desires.
What Type Of Oats Can I Use In Oat Water?
Any oat will do! The mixture is made with a blender so you can use more unprocessed, whole oats. However, the pre-packaged, sugar-packed instant oatmeal is not ideal to use and may mitigate many of the benefits of oat water.
Can You Make Oatmeal Water With Milk?
Making oat water without milk is beneficial for people who are limiting their dairy consumption due to a milk allergy or lactose intolerance.
That being said you can increase the benefits of oat water by using milk instead of water for added nutrients like protein, calcium, and Vitamin D. Regular cow’s milk or plant-based milk, like soy milk, are great options.
How Often Should I Drink Oatmeal Water?
Oatmeal water contains whole grains that are great to consume every day. Making this healthy drink a part of your morning every day would be a great addition to your routine.
When Should I Drink Oatmeal Water?
Drinking oatmeal water is delicious at any time, but starting your morning with it may be best. It will keep you feeling full to avoid those pre-lunch snacking urges as well as provide you with long-lasting energy to get you through your morning.
Having said that, you do not need to drink it first thing in the morning, or on an empty stomach to reap its benefits.
Cost Of Oats
Not only is oatmeal water easy to make, it is also incredibly cheap. A kilogram of oats costs around $3.50 CAN (depending on the brand). Assuming you use ½ cup of oats, that is 16 cents per serving!
Oatmeal Water Recipe
Now that we discussed the many benefits of an oatmeal water drink, you may be wondering how to prepare oatmeal water. Follow this easy recipe that is totally customizable to your taste preferences. You can adjust the serving size too, just keep the ratio of water to oats the same.
The recipe makes about 4 servings:
- ½ cup oats
- 6 cups of water (1.5 liters of water)
- cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- added sugar (sweeteners): honey, maple syrup, brown sugar
- added protein: peanut butter, hemp seeds
- Soak oats in water overnight in the fridge.
- Add the oats and water into a blender, along with any additional sweeteners or protein. Blend until combined.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove any lumps. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Other Oat Recipes
Oatmeal water, not your thing? There are plenty of other delicious oat recipes to get your whole grains! Try these recipes.
Adding a glass of oatmeal water to your everyday routine will provide many health benefits and it is not only easy but inexpensive too.
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