Jetson partner and Registered Dietitian, Kristin Kirkpatrick, here to wish you a happy autumn and share with you a carotenoid-rich (and delicious) overnight oats recipe. Overnight oats are convenient, nutrient-dense, filling, and delicious. This month, in the spirit of fall, you can get even more health and gut benefits from your oats by adding carotenoid-rich pumpkin and polyphenol-packed cinnamon.
OATS ARE THE ULTIMATE SUPERFOOD
Oats are a fiber powerhouse, and depending on the type of oat, you can expect around 4 grams of fiber per ½ cup dry serving. The fiber component in oats is one of the reasons why it’s identified as a significant superfood for your health. Studies show that consuming oats may help to reduce your risk for dementia, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, as well as cardiac risk factors (through improvements in lipid profiles).
Oats contain a secret weapon over some other grains due to the presence of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Studies show that beta-glucan may have a wide range of health impacts, including benefits to the microbiome. A 2018 study showed that beta-glucan consumption was associated with an increase in short-chain fatty acids—the end products of fermentation of dietary fibers that are associated in studies with favorable microbiota composition. The benefits of oats on the microbiome have been associated in the data with a reduced risk of obesity, colorectal cancer, and reduced lipid levels—especially cholesterol.
PUMPKIN INCREASES NUTRIENT DENSITY
Pumpkin is a carotenoid-rich food (learn more about carotenoids here) that can add much more than just color and fall vibes to your oats. A 2022 study found that pumpkins may help improve liver and heart health, manage blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation. When it comes to gut health, pumpkin’s high soluble fiber content has been shown to positively impact metabolic regulation as well.
A SPRINKLE OF CINNAMON MAY SUPPORT BLOOD SUGAR
A little of this spice goes a long way when it comes to your health. Studies show that cinnamon can help manage blood sugar in pre-diabetic individuals. Further, the antioxidants in cinnamon have been associated with lower levels of inflammation. As a bonus, a 2022 study found that herbs and spices could help with small improvements in the gut as well.
Finally, though oats are naturally gluten-free, they are often manufactured in facilities that produce gluten-containing foods. Therefore, consider a certified gluten-free version to ensure your oats are indeed 100% gluten-free.
OVERNIGHT OATS WITH PUMPKIN & CINNAMON
This vegan recipe utilizes steel-cut oats. This type of oats is considered intact (less processing has occurred compared to rolled and quick-cook oats), which makes them longer to cook when cooking on the stove. We are of course also adding in our canned pumpkin and cinnamon and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds to obtain some healthy fats and immune-supporting zinc to our final product. This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prep and about 3 hours, or overnight, to “cook.”
- ½ cup dry steel-cut oats
- ½ cup plant-based milk (if vegan is not essential, you can use cow’s milk)
- ¼ cup canned pure pumpkin
- 2 tsp chia seeds (chia adds omega-3 fatty acids and helps to thicken the mixture)
- 1 tsp maple or date syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Mix all ingredients in a glass container, such as a mason jar.
- Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3 hours).
- Add 1 tsp of pumpkin seeds and a handful of blueberries in the morning.