Should You Use Raw Or Cooked Oats In A Smoothie?

One of the great things about smoothies is that there are dozens of ingredients you can add to them to create a healthy, tasty beverage. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, old-fashioned oats ... the list goes on and on. Whether you add cooked or raw oats to your smoothie, they provide a number of health benefits. Oats provide plant-based protein, soluble fiber, known as beta-glucan, and other nutrients that can help lower cholesterol, benefit heart and gut health, control blood sugar, promote weight loss, and improve digestion, according to WebMD

But cooking them does affect the percentage of nutrients that are released during digestion, per Healthline. Also, the overall texture of the smoothie changes with cooked oats compared to raw oats. So should you add cooked or raw oats to your smoothie? While it depends on your preference and diet, both have their benefits and their flaws. Here's the case for both.

The pros and cons of adding raw oats to a smoothie

When you add raw oats to your smoothie, you're getting 100% of the nutrients it offers. Because of its high nutrient content, oats are among the healthiest ingredients you can add. However, raw oats contain an antinutrient called phytic acid, which impairs how your body absorbs certain minerals (via National Library of Medicine).

But it's possible to reduce the amount of phytic acid in oats by soaking them. Simply place the oats in water or milk in the fridge about 12 hours, as Healthline suggests, before you plan to make your smoothie. This will make them easier to digest and ensure the best nutrient absorption.

If you add oats to your smoothie only every once in a while, and you have an otherwise healthy diet, you can skip the soaking and just add them raw and dry. It takes just 20 seconds to grab the container from your pantry, scoop your desired amount of oats, and dump them into your blender.

Pros and cons to adding cooked oats to a smoothie

One benefit of cooking oats in hot water is similar to soaking them in room-temperature water. It makes it softer and easier to digest (via Livestrong). Adding soft, cooked oats to your smoothie will also produce a smoother overall texture.

Now for the cons. According to Healthline, raw oats released 26% of their beta-glucan content, while cooked oats released 9%. This fiber aids in insulin resistance, obesity, and hypertension, among other benefits, according to the National Library of Medicine. If you prefer not to cook your oats on the stove, soaking oats offers much more freedom and flexibility. You simply set them in water or milk, set a timer, and walk away.

Both raw and cooked oats have their pros and cons. But no matter how you prepare it, either option is a welcome addition to a smoothie. The final decision is up to you.