Health Benefits of Oatmeal & Oats | Oatmeal to Soothe Itchy Skin | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Health Benefits of Oatmeal and Oats

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Oats are good for more than just breakfast. Read on to learn about the health benefits of oatmeal and oats, as well as what else they can do!

Use Oats for Summer Relief

The humble oat (Avena sativa) has a long history of medicinal uses use that continues to this day.

Modern research suggests that oats or extracts of oats may reduces cholesterol, lower blood pressure, help prevent atherosclerosis, promote wound healing, and slow the proliferation of colon cancer cells.

For at least 4,000 years, healers have found oats especially valuable for skin care.

Check the labels on high-end soaps, lotions, and hair-care products. You’ll be surprised at how many contain some form of oats. Dermatologists often recommend oatmeal-based creams and body washes for patients with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

Researchers say the anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory compounds found only in oats called avenanthramides are responsible for oat’s ability to soothe itching and irritated skin.

No Drugstore Needed

You don’t need an expensive drugstore oat preparation to ease the itch of poison ivy, hives, swimmer’s itch, dry “winter skin,” and the sting of sunburn, diaper rash, and other minor skin irritations. Try a tepid oatmeal bath for quick, inexpensive relief.

The less processing the oats have had, the more avenanthramides the bath will deliver. If you have a grain grinder or blender, simply grind a cup of whole oats, available at a health-food store, to a fine flour. But ordinary rolled oats—even instant oatmeal—will work, cooked or raw. (Use the unflavored kind, though.)

Pour a cup or two of plain, uncooked oat flour or rolled oats into the cut-off leg of an old pair of pantyhose or a tube sock, tie it loosely, and set it under the faucet as you draw a tepid bath. Let the oats soak for a while in the water, periodically squeezing the stocking-bag to release the liquid,

As you soak in the tub, rub the bag of oats over your skin like a bar of soap to increase the soothing effect.

The tub gets slippery during an oatmeal soak, so take special care when getting out.

Just pat yourself dry and you’ll behind a protective, moisturizing barrier to continue the oats’ skin-soothing work.

About The Author

Margaret Boyles

Margaret Boyles is a longtime contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She wrote for UNH Cooperative Extension, managed NH Outside, and contributes to various media covering environmental and human health issues. Read More from Margaret Boyles

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