The benefits of oatmeal

The benefits of oatmeal are many. It is a good source of vitamins, is good for many digestive problems, is good for your heart, hair, skin , and can be used topically to relieve all types of skin irritations.

Oatmeal is a versatile food. Cook it in water or milk to make a warm nutritious breakfast or use it in cakes, cookies, muffins, pie crusts, fillings, pancakes and to thicken soups. In addition, it makes a great meat extender when making ground meat recipes.

When we speak of oatmeal, we are referring to whole groats that have been rolled and flattened to make flakes, made famous by Quaker Oats. Also called "old-fashioned" oats, these rolled oats are available in medium and thick flakes. They are nearly as nutritious as whole oat groats, having been only slightly processed.

Another product called instant oats is further processed and partially cooked. This is the least nutritious form of oatmeal and often contains salt, sugar and other flavoring agents.

Whole groats can also be cut into small pieces with steel cutting machines to produce steel cut oats. They have a nuttier flavor, are much chewier and take much longer to cook. Nutritionally, there is no significant difference between rolled oats and steel cut oats. Choosing between the two is a matter of taste.

The health benefits of oatmeal

Oatmeal is rich and vitamins and minerals. It's a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, silicon, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and zinc. Its benefits include the following:

  • It is one of the best cholesterol lowering foods
  • Contains natural antioxidants that can lower the risk of heart disease
  • Rated a low glycemic food, it helps diabetics manage their blood glucose levels
  • Has high levels of vitamin B important for brain and nervous system functioning
  • Has cancer fighting properties
  • Can help relieve constipation
  • One of the richest sources of silicon, which helps renew bones and connective tissue, as well as strengthening hair and nails
  • High protein content that helps increase energy levels
  • Can sooth bloating, indigestion, nervous stomach and other digestive tract problems
  • A good food for those who want to lose weight, because it's satisfying and filling and low in fat
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Can relieve itchy skin or insect bites - fill a sock with warm, cooked oatmeal and apply on the affected area
  • Is an excellent face cleanser and skin softner. Place a small amount of oatmeal in a bowl. Mix with warm water to make a paste and gently rub in a circular motion. Rinse off. For more oatmeal scrub recipes as well as other natural remedies go to Natural Home Remedies For Life
  • Oatmeal absorbs odors. Put an open container in your fridge.
  • It's cheap

How to enjoy the benefits of oatmeal

Oatmeal can be prepared in a number of delicious ways. Cook it on top of the stove with a ratio of 1 cup oats to 2-3 cups liquid, depending on how thick you like it. You can soak oats in water overnight in the fridge, in half the amount of liquid, and cook the next morning with the remaining liquid. This makes for a creamier consistency. Cooking time varies by the type of oats used. Read package directions.

  • Cook it in water, for a lighter, summery breakfast with a bit of honey.
  • Use any non-dairy milk (almond, rice, soy, etc) for a richer tasting oatmeal and add nuts and dried fruits.
  • Oatmeal can also be cooked with apple juice or cider, no additional sweetener is needed, just add a bit of cinnamon.
  • Add a sliced or mashed banana and a bit of brown sugar.
  • Slice up your favorite fruit and toss it in.
  • Did you ever try salty oatmeal? If the idea doesn't put you off, try it! Oatmeal can taste great by just adding salt and a little bit of butter.

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