We began this practice after reading Nourishing Traditions. Did you know the Quaker Oats box used to include soaking the oats overnight in the directions? I think they taste better this way and the wisdom of others suggests they are better for us.
Oats are low in gluten, which make them easier to digest than some whole grains; however, they are high in phytic acid. This organic acid is found in the outer layer, or bran. In days gone by, and today in traditional cultures, grains were treated before cooking and eating. If untreated, as most are today, phytic acid can block the body’s absorption of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and especially zinc. A long-term diet of untreated (soaked or fermented) grains will lead to mineral deficiencies and disease.
Soaking oats allows enzymes and helpful organisms such as lactobacilli to break down the acid. Soak in warm water overnight so they’re ready to cook in the morning and require much less cooking time. This is a healthy way to have “quick” oats without the nutrient loss of manufacturing. All it takes is a little planning ahead for a significant increase in nutrition.