About the magic of oats (Avena sativa L)
Most foods that are healthy work from the inside of us after we eat them. Oats work wonders for our bodies both from the inside and the outside.
From the inside
- Oats are low fat somewhere between 130 and 170 calories per serving. Of course, the calories go up if you’re like me who loves them with butter, milk, and brown sugar on them, but I can’t blame the oats for my bad habits.
- One serving of oats gives you about 4 or 5 grams of fiber or about the same as 1 large apple. Studies have shown that the fiber, beta glutan, found in oats helps keep HDL, the good cholesterol, up and LDL, the bad cholesterol, down. Studies also show that the beta glutan in oats enhances your immune system.
- The protein in oat grain is nearly equal to that of meat, milk, and eggs. Just in case you’re interested, the protein in oats is called is avenalin and the oat is the only grain that contains this protein source.
- According to the American Diabetes Association, both steel cut oats and whole grain rolled oats have a low glycemic index (they are slow to raise blood glucose levels). Quick oats have a medium glycemic index.
- Oats contain no gluten. According to the Quaker oat company, there may be some cross-contamination when transporting oats or when the mill used to process them also processes wheat and other grains containing gluten. You might be interested in one study conducted on children with celiac disease (gluten is intolerable to folks with celiac disease) and the tiny amounts of gluten in rolled oats were well tolerated.
- Oats and other grains contain plant lignans. These are noted for their antioxidant and phytoestrogenic (estrogen derived from plants) qualities. Studies indicate they may help prevent breast, prostate and other hormone-related cancers as well as heart disease.
- Oats are high in antioxidants which help protect you from that fast food diet high in artificially produced trans fats. Trans fats damage our arteries, increase our LDL(the bad cholesterol), make us fat and cause heart attacks.
From the outside
- You can use oats on your skin as a cleansing and softening scrub. Check out the post “Homemade Sugar Scrub.”
- Have a rash, eczema, psoriasis or itchy skin? Numerous studies indicate oatmeal (particularly colloidal oatmeal) helps to heal and soothe the skin. We can particularly thank the polyphenol, avenanthramide for this. Avenanthramide is found “exclusively in oats” according to a 2011 article which appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Check out the post “Colloidal Oatmeal – A Really Really Simple Bath for Dry Itchy Skin.”
- Have a few wrinkles or maybe a lot of wrinkles? Use colloidal oatmeal to make your skin healthier and diminish the wrinkles. Colloidal oatmeal helps to repair damaged skin. Check out the post “Colloidal Oatmeal Cream Recipe.”
- Have problems with your hair and or scalp? Use colloidal oatmeal to help solve the problem. Check out the post “Homemade Conditioner – Colloidal Oatmeal.”
- Does your skin feel rough? Take a colloidal oatmeal bath and watch it become smooth and moisturized. Check out the post “Colloidal Oatmeal – A Really Really Simple Bath for Dry Itchy Skin.”
- All this plus you get a sunscreen. (Further explanation follows below.)
Oats contain the following:
- Protein 15 – 17%
- Starches and sugars 59 – 70% These sugars include beta glucan (beta glucan concentrations range from 2 – 6%) – The sugars and starches are the protective and water holding function of oats with beta glucan being of primary interest as its function in lowering cholesterol.
- Fat 4 – 9%
- Dietary fiber 5 – 13%
- Saponins – The saponins in oats are mostly what give them their cleansing properties.
- Polyphenols – Some of the phenols in oats protect against UVA in the range of 320 – 370nm. (The total UVA spectrum ranges from 320 to 400 nm and is associated with cell damage, skin cancers, and aging). Of particular interest are the avenanthramides for their role as anti-histamines and antioxidants.
- Various vitamins 3 – 11%
- Minerals in whole grain oat – Very small percentages of copper, manganese, zinc and iron. Higher percentages of Calcium (95mg/100g), magnesium (140mg/100g), sulfur, phosphorus (340mg/100g) and potassium (460mg/100g).
Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats
The steel cut oats will take longer to cook (10 minutes or more depending on how soft you like them), but they have a delicious nutty flavor and any leftovers can be fried. The rolled oats are quicker to cook, but you have to take care that you are purchasing a rolled oat that is made from whole grainoats. Some rolled oats have a portion of the bran (the outside part of the grain) removed. Also, because rolled oats have gone through the toasting process, they are slightly less nutritious than steel cut oats. Steel cut oats also have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats because they take longer to digest. That makes steel cut oats preferred for personal care products and cooking.
How to make colloidal oatmeal
You can buy either uncut oats or steel cut oats, but steel cut oats are easier to find than uncut oats. Whatever you use, grind the oats in a coffee grinder to fine flour. To determine if the oats are fine enough, add a small amount to warm water. If fine enough, the oats will suspend in the water. If they sink to the bottom, you will need to grind them a little more and retest.
There, now you have it. The truth is that oats to eat or prepared as colloidal oatmeal for your hair and skin formulations are a wonderful gift to us from Mother Nature. They are truly magical when you consider just how many benefits they offer. Plus, they are not only delicious, they’re very affordable.
Tip: I suggest you buy organic grains they don’t cost that much more and you’re supporting the organic growers while avoiding possible pesticide and or herbicide contamination.