Article by Nick A. James:
Oats (botanical name Avena sativa)
An oat is a grass that produces a fibrous root and a hollow jointed stem with narrow, flat, pale-green leaves. Oats are native to southern Europe and eastern Asia. They are widely cultivated as a food.
An oat is an edible cereal grain produced by the cereal grass of the same name. They are light colored and have a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Usually we think of them as breakfast food but oatmeal has long been known for its skin-soothing properties. Many skin lotions and ointments are formulated with oats for it's skin healing properties.
As a nutritious breakfast food oats provide a healthy addition to your diet in that there is 140 calories per 1/2 cup serving. They also provide 4g of dietary fiber, of which 2g of this is soluble fiber and 2g is insoluble. Insoluble fibers are those that cannot be dissolved in water. And soluble fibers can be dissolved in water. They provide 10% of your daily iron needs. Also of this 1/2 cup serving, there is 26g of carbohydrate and 2.5g of fat, which is considered lowfat.
Three grams of soluble fiber from oatmeal daily, in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Besides all this, this nourishing cereal also contains, vitamins, starches, minerals and 5g of protein. Clinical trials have been done, and they have shown that regular consumption of oat bran reduces blood cholesterol levels in just one month. High-fiber diets may also reduce the risk of colon and rectal can cers.
Oats contain the alkaloid, gramine, which has been credited with mild sedative properties.
There are several forms of oats on the market and the following lists the most popular kinds.
- Whole oats without the hulls are groats.
- Rolled: Oat groats that have been steamed then flattened into flakes. Also, known by the more common name of old-fashioned.
- Quick-cooking: Oat groats that are cut into several pieces before rolling to shorten the cooking time.
- Instant oatmeal: Oat groats that are cut into very small pieces and processed so that they need no cooking, just add boiling water.
- Steel-cut: Oat groats that have been cut by steel blades. Often called Irish or Scottish oatmeal.
- Oat flour: The finely ground grain.
- Oat bran: The ground outer layer of the oat. Used as a hot cooked breakfast cereal and is a good source of fiber.
Other uses for Oats Are in Skin and Bath Products.
Oatmeal is found in many bath products and skin and body products. Oatmeal baths are wonderful for soothing dry, flaking skin, and poison ivy and dermatoses. It alleviates itching from poison oak and chicken pox. It has long been used in facial scrub products and is a very natural product.
Oat straw contains high levels of silicic acid, which makes it an effective treatment for many skin diseases, especially those associated with the nervous system. Try using an external oat-straw preparation to relieve shingles and herpes.
Besides eating them in the form we are most familiar with, the box of oats that we purchase in the supermarket, oat products can be purchased in commercial form as capsules, extracts, and tinctures.
One expert lists the primary functions of oats as: If eaten, a supportive, nurturing tonic for the nervous system, If eaten, it can be used to alleviate digestive problems associated with stress and tension, If applied externally, it can relieve skin diseases especially those with a nervous basis.
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