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01 January, 2019

Overnight Oats

Mental Health Benefits

Aging is often accompanied by a spectrum of mood disorders that include irritability, stress and anxiety. These symptoms, along with more severe ones like sleep disorders, depression, aggressive behavior, reduced motivation, and suicidal thinking have all been traced to depletion of brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has been called the “happiness hormone”.

In order for your body to manufacture serotonin, it needs a sufficient supply of the natural amino acid, tryptophan. Much of what is now known about the role of serotonin is psychiatric and behavioral disturbances comes from studies of tryptophan depletion. Lowering tryptophan levels triggers a corresponding drop in brain serotonin production and can impact mood, impair memory, and increase aggression.

Although you can’t supplement with serotonin itself, tryptophan is readily available as a safe, well-proven supplement. Supplementing with tryptophan helps normalize levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. As a result, it can reverse many of the irritability, mood disorders, anxiety, and stress.

The L-tryptophan in food is bound in protein rather than free form. For every 100g of food, the following amounts of tryptophan can be found:

Oats contain 182mg of tryptophan for every 100g.

Overnight Oats

1/3 to ½ Cup                      Liquid such as dairy milk, almond Cashew or coconut milk

1/3 to ½ Cup                      Old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 to ½ Cup                      Yogurt, optional

1 tsp                                      Chia seeds, optional but highly recommended

½ each                                  Banana, mashed, optional

1. Add the desired amounts of milk, oats, yogurt, chia seeds and banana to a jar or container and give them a good stir. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 5 hours.

2. In the morning, add additional liquid if you’d like. Once you have achieved the desired consistency, top with your choice of: fruit, nuts, nut butter, seeds, protein powder, granola, coconut, spices, zest or vanilla extract.

  • Cook’s Note:

The mixture will keep for up to 2 days. If you don’t add the banana, up to 4 days.