Scientific Name: Avena sativa
Properties: Antiglycemic (Antidiabetic), Digestive stimulant, Anti-hypertensive, Cardio tonic, Cholesterol-lowering, Anti-itching
What is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a highly-nutritious cereal made from the grain of the oat or avena sativa plant that’s commercially grown around the world. Oats are a hardy crop able to withstand poor soil and extreme climate conditions. Oatmeal is a by-product of oat seeds and is processed by roasting after harvest. Oatmeal retains bran and germ that gives this flavorful food a distinctive taste, high fiber content and excellent skin moisturizing properties. 1,2,3
Oatmeal is available in various processed forms:
- Oat groats are unflattened kernels used for breakfast cereal and stuffing
- Steel-cut oats are dense and chewy, being sliced by steel blades
- Old-fashioned or rolled oats are flat from steaming and rolling
- Quick-cooking oats are finely sliced for fast breakdown
- Instant oats are partially cooked and pre-processed with added ingredients
- Oat bran is the grain’s outer layer often sold separately
- Oat flour is finely ground oats used for baking
Oatmeal Health Uses and Health Benefits
Oatmeal health benefits include having well-balanced nutrition being a good source of carbohydrates and fiber including beta-glucan. Oatmeal contains more protein and fat than most grains and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant chemicals. Important oatmeal ingredients include manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, folate and vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6. 2
Additionally, whole oatmeal health benefits include being high in polyphenols and antioxidants called avenanthramides. These antioxidants help dilate blood vessels and deliver oxygenated blood throughout the cardiovascular system and especially to the skin. This is why there are many oatmeal benefits for skin and treating skin conditions. 2,3
Oatmeal uses and health benefits include more than being a healthy dietary source. Oatmeal benefits for skin are well known which include:
- Sunburn - Oatmeal is effective for treating sunburn through its antioxidant ability to soothe, moisturize and heal damaged skin.
- Hives (Urticaria) - Hives are an itchy skin disorder normally associated with allergic reactions. Oatmeal has itch-stopping properties that work fast and last long.
- Psoriasis - Dry, itchy skin due to psoriasis can be relieved by applying oatmeal to the affected skin. Anti-inflammatory qualities in oatmeal neutralize skin pH levels and moisturize psoriasis dryness.
- Sun Sensitivity - Oatmeal scrubs diluted with water are effective in acting as a sunblock to reduce skin sun sensitivity.
- Eczema (Dermatitis) - Oatmeal cleans and moisturizes the eczematous skin of atopic dermatitis. Oatmeal added to warm water in a bath or made into a topical paste soothes irritated and itchy skin caused by eczema.
- Anal Soreness - Anal soreness can be treated by a topical application of oatmeal made pasty with warm water. This helps to relieve pain and discomfort.
Oatmeal Side Effects and Precautions
There are very few oatmeal side effects. There are a few reports where people with eczema have experienced redness, irritation and worsening discomfort after applying oatmeal washes or scrubs to affected areas. 4
Oatmeal side effects can occur in people with severe gluten intolerance as oatmeal products may be cross-contaminated with wheat products during processing. 4
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