If you haven't gotten on the overnight oatmeal band-wagon, it is a MUST Try! I love overnight oatmeal because you can make it days before you eat it. That's right! I make 3-4 servings of overnight oatmeal every Sunday. Since my mornings are very busy, this is the only way to ensure I have a healthy breakfast during the work week. The best part about overnight oatmeal is you can customize the basic recipe with add-ins and toppings.
Oats are one of the best whole grains for supporting a healthy gut. Not only do they promote regularity because they are high in fiber, they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are key to fighting free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause illness and disease if they are able to damage the proteins, DNA and the membranes within our cells. The process is called oxidative damage. (Source: Stanford)
Antioxidants are able to remove the free radicals from our cells before they cause damage. The food we eat contain antioxidants and we can take vitamins to increase the amount of antioxidants we get every day. The most powerful antioxidant is one you have probably never heard of: Hydroxytyrosol. ProHealth reports Hydroxytyrosol is found in olives, the fruit, leaves and pulp.
The good news is that you can get Hydroxytyrosol from eating olives or consuming olive oil. The science shows that Hydroxytyrosol is beneficial to support healthy vision, lowers LDL (the bad cholesterol), increases cellular energy production and has protective effects for the cardiovascular system. (Source: ProHealth)
Just don't cook with olive oil! While we think this is the best way to use it, olive oil turns into a transfat when used in cooking. Instead, drizzle it on top of cooked vegetables or on salads to get the most benefit for digestive health. By drizzling the oil on food that is already cooked or on salads, you are helping your digestive tract stay regular since olive oil has a mild laxative effect.
But have you ever thought about making a savory oatmeal dish? While this is not an overnight oatmeal recipe, I could not help but share it with you. Oats are so versatile! Here is a Mediterranean Oatmeal recipe that has olives! Click here.
Oats are also full of fiber, which helps you stay full and promotes a healthy weight. Fiber is critical for digestive health because it is the fuel that our colon cells use to stay healthy. Fiber helps keep bowel movements regular, which eliminates waste in the body. Bowel movements are a natural detoxification process since they are removing waste.
If you experience constipation, your body is telling you that you either need more fiber or water. Water is necessary to keep us balanced and to help move waste out of the body. Bowel movements are 60% water! So if you are eating enough fiber but not drinking enough water, you will experience constipation.
Fiber is also necessary to avoid diarrhea. Specifically, soluble fiber found in oats. With diarrhea, eating more soluble fiber is necessary since it absorbs water and adds bulk to stools. Eating oats regularly can help if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As I mentioned, overnight oatmeal add-ins can be customized. Adding apples and strawberries to overnight oats increases the amount of soluble fiber.
When I make overnight oatmeal, I add in ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, blueberries and walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Flaxseeds are high in omega-3's but they are also a gut healthy ingredient. Flaxseeds contain prebiotics, which is food for healthy bacteria found naturally in our guts. Consuming flaxseed regularly can help optimize gut health.
Hemp Seeds are high in protein and potassium. Protein helps me feel full longer. Potassium supports a healthy gut since it is an essential nutrient found in the walls of the digestive system. I add in a half cup of blueberries which is high in fiber and antioxidants. Then I top it with walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc. Zinc can help strengthen the gut lining of the digestive tract. Walnuts have been studied for their ability to help increase the amount of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. (Source: Science Daily)
Below is my recipe for one serving of overnight oatmeal. I make the entire recipe in the container I am going to eat out of. It takes maybe 15 minutes to make 5 servings at one time. This is a fast, no excuses recipe, that allows you to support your digestive health and start the day with a filling and healthy breakfast. Enjoy!
I hope this post inspired you to take 15 minutes on the weekend to make overnight oats for a gut healthy breakfast. If it did, please leave me a comment below and tell me how you customized the oatmeal to your liking.
Have you been diagnosed with a digestive health disorder such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Colitis? Do you suffer with bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain or are always concerned about where the bathroom is? Stop suffering with digestive health!
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