Anti-inflammatory Cinnamon Overnight Oats
These Anti-inflammatory Cinnamon Overnight Oats can do so many things for you; support your gut health and your weight goals, balance your blood sugar and energy, and provide whole grain fiber, protein, and healthy fat all with one 5-minute recipe. Overnight oats are such an easy way to get a healthy breakfast in and you don’t have to overthink it at all. Whether you whip up these oats the night before or in the morning when you’re getting ready, you’ll always have time for this breakfast. Double bonus – use it as a snack or a light lunch, too.
How overnight oats support gut health
We throw around the term “gut health” but what does it really mean and what are we trying to achieve? When people talk about gut health, they’re usually referring either to the way the body digests food or to the bacteria that live in the gut (or both). Oats and apples plus chia and flax will help with all the factors involved in gut health so let’s break it down:
If your digestion isn’t working optimally, you may be experiencing discomfort or dysfunction in your gut. My clients talk about issues with diarrhea and urgency, with constipation and discomfort, or with chronic gas and bloating that can sometimes be really life-disrupting. Some folks fall into the “IBS” category (irritable bowel syndrome) and a doctor can help you better understand if your gut issues meet the criteria for IBS or if there are other issues that go beyond nutrition.
There’s a lot you can do about these digestive issues with food and I’ll highlight that below. But, I also want to highlight the connection between gut health and lifestyle factors; lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, and especially high levels of stress can wreak havoc on the gut and all the healthy food in the world can’t fix digestion issues that are caused by stress. These are all issues I can help with as well, so if you want to work on improving not only your diet but other health factors as well reach out to me here.
When you hear microbiome it’s usually in reference to the ‘gut microbiome’ where you’ve got trillions of bacteria (more than the number of human cells in your body!). But, there’s actually different microbiomes living in many areas of your body such as the skin and mucous membranes as well. That’s why we say the “gut” microbiome, specifically and are referring to the microbes that aid digestion and live in the large intestine/colon. We’re still learning a lot about how these microbes interact with human health. There’s evidence that they play a role in digestion and making nutrients for us (like B12 and vitamin K!), supporting our immune systems, mood and brain health, and even may play a role in inflammation, weight, and chronic disease.
The best way to support your gut health and nurture a healthy microbiome? That’s easy! Eat high fiber foods from plants. Specifically, whole grains (like oats), high fiber nuts and seeds (think chia and ground flax), fruit and veggies (of course), as well as beans and lentils. Eating more of these types of foods gives your microbes the food they need to stay plentiful, diverse, and do their jobs for your body.
Also consider adding in more fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, pickled foods, sauerkraut and kimchi. These foods contain ‘good’ bacteria that may also positively affect gut health. That’s why the Anti-inflammatory Cinnamon Overnight Oats contain both high fiber foods and fermented ingredients.
Making the Anti-inflammatory Cinnamon Overnight Oats
This part is easy! What you want to do is simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, container with a lid, mug or jar and let the oats soak up the liquid for at least 30 minutes (but ideally 1-2 hours of overnight). Be sure to keep these swaps in mind if you’ve got different preferences or pantry staples on hand:
If you’re gluten-free, be sure to get gluten free oats. Oats don’t contain gluten but they often are contaminated with it so if you’re allergic or Celiac, then be extra careful. For this recipe it’s best to use ‘rolled’ specifically because they absorb liquids better and will keep their texture. Steel cut oats need either more time or more heat to absorb enough liquid and quick oats will absorb too much liquid and get mushy.
Nuts and seeds are a great way to add in protein, healthy fats and some texture. You can use any type of nuts or seeds that you want, so be creative. Consider almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sesame, or sunflower seeds. For even more benefits throw in some flax and chia seeds, they are both high in fiber and contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Yogurt and milk
You’re welcome to use dairy or non-dairy products for either the yogurt and/or the milk here. Be sure to watch the added sugar content – especially in the yogurt but also in non-dairy milks. I really enjoy Siggis yogurt – they have dairy or coconut varieties – because they’re low in added sugar and high in protein.
I use a little maple syrup to sweeten my overnight oats but there’s a lot of options here. You could not sweeten it at all. You could use agave or honey or regular sugar instead. You could use a 1/2 mashed banana or a 1/2 cup of applesauce. For sugar alternatives or lower carb, you can use monk fruit or stevia – it’s totally up to you and your preferences. However, if we’re talking ‘gut health’, then lower sugar is better so I encourage you to experiment with how low you can go as you adjust your taste buds away from a high-sugar diet.
You can make your life really simple by using a pumpkin spice blend in this recipe or you can bump up, reduce, or completely take away any of the spices listed. For me, more is better because the different spices have potential health benefits and unique antioxidants so my motto is ‘bring on the spice!”. That’s one of the most important anti-inflammatory aspects of this recipe as well.
More overnight oat recipes for you
I’ve got several recipes up on the blog but I also wanted to share some fellow dietitian’s recipes, too. If you’re getting your recipes from specialists like us, you know that they’ll taste good but also be good for you.
Coconut Lemon Curd Overnight Oats – by Ginger Hultin
Easy Banana Overnight Oats – Laura Yautz, owner and registered dietitian at Beingnutritious.com
Mocha Overnight Oats – by Dixya Bhattarai of Foodpleasureandhealth.com
Apple Pie High Protein Overnight Oats – by Sarah Schlichter MPH RDN or Bucketlisttummy.com
Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal – by Jodi Danen RDN, founder of Create Kids Club
Banana Overnight Oats – by Jodi Danen RDN, founder of Create Kids Club
Pina Colada Overnight Oats – by Anne Danahy of Cravingsomethinghealthy.com
Easy Protein Overnight Oats – by Megan Byrd, RD or TheOregonDietitian
Chocolate Pomegranate Overnight Oats – by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com
You have to let me know if you try this one! Drop a comment below and let me know what you think and any delicious additions you tried.
Anti-inflammatory Cinnamon Overnight Oats
- mixing bowl
- wooden spoon
- cutting board
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 6 oz container plain or vanilla low-sugar dairy or non-dairy yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups dairy or non-dairy milk of your choice
- 2 teaspoon maple syrup
- Combine all of the ingredients in to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Divide the mixture into two single-serving containers and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes but ideally 1-8 hours or overnight.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
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