If you’re here, you’ve probably at least heard of sprouted oats. Maybe you came across them in your muesli, or maybe you heard two people talking about the benefits of sprouted oats vs regular oats.
Whatever the reason for your curiosity, it’s about to be satisfied. In this article, you’ll learn all about these healthy little grains.
what are sprouted oats?
In order to fully understand what sprouted oats are and why they’re beneficial, it’s helpful to understand what regular oats are and where they come from.
All oats (whether rolled, steel-cut, crushed, or sprouted) come from raw seeds of the Avena Sativa plant known as oat groats. Because oat groats take a long time to cook, many people simply prefer rolled or steel-cut oats, which is why you see them more often.
Since oat groats are seeds, they can actually sprout and grow into full-grown Avena Sativa plants. Like most seeds, however, they need the proper amount of water and sunlight to germinate and grow.
At this point, you can probably guess what sprouted oats are. Sprouted oats are oat groats that are harvested and dried out right after they’ve begun to germinate. Now, let’s talk about the health differences and flavor differences between sprouted and unsprouted oats.
Unsprouted oats and sprouted oats both come from oat groats, but because sprouted oats have begun to germinate, the health benefits are slightly different. According to Harvard Health Publishing, they may have a slightly higher nutrient value and may also be slightly easier to digest. Here’s why:
When it’s time to germinate, oat groats release enzymes to break down their nutrients into building blocks so they can use these building blocks to grow. Complex carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, proteins are broken down into amino acids and peptides, and fats are broken down into fatty acids. These smaller and simpler molecules are easier to digest.
There’s another reason why they may be easier to digest. Unsprouted oats contain phytic acid, which can block the production of digestive enzymes in your stomach. The germination process that begins in sprouted oats, however, breaks down this phytate so your stomach can produce the digestive enzymes it needs to easily digest the oats.
Phytic acid is also the reason why they may offer a slightly higher nutrient value than unsprouted oats. Phytate is known to decrease the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. Since the germination process breaks down this phytate, the body is able to absorb more of the valuable nutrients of sprouted oats, including folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and protein. In addition, some research suggests that sprouting might actually increase the levels of some of the vitamins in oats, including vitamins E and B.
By now, you might be thinking that sprouted oats are worth trying, which means you’re probably wondering how they taste compared to the rolled oats you’re used to eating.
First, let’s compare sprouted oats to oat groats – unsprouted, unprocessed oats. Compared to unsprouted oat groats, sprouted oats are slightly sweeter and nuttier. They’re also more tender in texture. Imagine biting into a seed that’s already cracked and slightly tender inside vs biting into a seed that’s fully intact.
Like unsprouted oats, sprouted oats can also be rolled flat for faster cooking. In the case of rolled oats, the biggest difference between sprouted and unsprouted is the difference in taste. Once again, sprouted rolled oats taste slightly sweeter and less bitter than unsprouted rolled oats. So, are you ready to try them?
how to eat sprouted oats
Sprouted oats are quite versatile and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you enjoy a sweet breakfast, rolled sprouted oats work best. You can cook them the same way you would cook a bowl of oatmeal. For ⅓ a cup of oats, use ¾ a cup of milk or water. First, bring the milk or water to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and add the oats. Let cook on low for 5 to 8 minutes with the lid on. Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings like fruit, yogurt, or your favorite muesli mix.
Another option is to find a muesli mix that contains sprouted oats and enjoy them alongside other grains, nuts, fruits, and seeds for more flavors, textures, and nutrients.
For lunch and dinner, you might enjoy something more savory as opposed to sweet. For savory options, unprocessed oats work best.
To cook unprocessed sprouted oats, you’ll need one part oats to three parts water. First, bring the water to a boil. Then, add the oats and let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the oats are soft. Strain any excess water and rinse them again. Add some butter or oil and spices for a savory and nutritious lunch or dinner. You can also wait for the cooked oats to cool and use them to create a cold whole-grain salad.
a quick conclusion
Sprouted oats are slightly different from traditional oats, and research suggests that they may be slightly healthier and also slightly easier to digest.
Just like traditional oats, they can come in many forms, including whole unprocessed, rolled, steel cut, and crushed. For the most part, you can cook sprouted oats just like you would cook their unsprouted counterparts. So, you’d cook sprouted whole oats like unsprouted whole oats, sprouted rolled oats like unsprouted rolled oats, and so on.
As far as taste is concerned, the general consensus is that sprouted oats are slightly sweeter, less bitter, and more tender than unsprouted oats, but that’s just the general consensus. For a more developed opinion, we encourage you to try them for yourself.