The Many Benefits of Oats
Avena sativa or the common oat is a type of cereal grain native to most temperate regions in northwest Europe, Himalayas, most of North America and Australia. It belongs to the Graminaceae grass family and is also called groats, oatstraw and oatmeal. The oat is very tolerant of rain compared to other variety of cereal grains such as rye, barley or wheat.
Most uses of the oat are associated with human food but it is actually commonly used as a food for the livestock. 20% of the intake of domestic horses’ daily diet include oats as well as the cattle’s daily food. Chicken, dogs and cats are also fed with oats and is marketed as feeds for these animals. Aside from human and livestock food, oats are considered very beneficial to the human body as an herbal remedy. It can relieve health problems such as anxiety, stress and skin conditions.
History of the Use of Oats
The use of oat was not as early as the recorded use of barley and wheat. The latter cereal grains were known to be consumed for centuries before Christ. For a long time, oat was considered a weed before it was cultivated. Some experts think that the oats today are products of the mutated wild oats from southern Europe or Asia Minor.
There were evidences attesting that sometime around 2,000 BC, the Egyptians were eating oat grains. The discovered oldest oat grains were from the 12th dynasty remains. Although, these grains were probably weeds and were not cultivated by Egyptians. The oldest cultivated oat grains were from Switzerland which are from the Bronze Age. It was in 1602 when the oats were brought and introduced to North America. They were planted on Massachusetts; at the Elizabeth Islands. And in 1786, 580 acres were cultivated with oats as directed by George Washington.
Potent Properties and Active Ingredients of Oats
The oat has many actions and properties that are very beneficial to the body. It also contains active ingredients that are responsible for its potency. It can act as an adaptive, depurative, anti-inflammatory, nervine, emollient and tonic. The stems and leaves of the oats contain vitamins, minerals and chemical compounds that have positive effects in the body. These include the saponins, flavonoids, trigonelline, avenine, beta sitosterol, protein, starch, fats, iron, copper, calcium, silica, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B.
Health Benefits of Oats
Oats are already part of most people’s diet. It is inexpensive and readily available in the market. Eating healthy foods is the best remedy of all. The oat can lower cholesterol levels, trigger the immune system and give lasting energy for daily activities. It is also effective in fighting anxiety, stress and fatigue. Oats also promote healthy libido as well as relieve symptoms of unhealthy skin. It is known for keeping the skin healthy and free from the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and sunburns.
Proper Use and Precautions
Consume oats that are less processed in order to get all the benefits and nutrients. The milky tops of the grains can be brewed into tea and the extracts are used in skin care products. There are tinctures made from oats that are readily available in the market. You can consume as much oats as you want but make sure to eat the organic ones. Some instant oatmeal sold in the market is already stripped down of the nutrients that organic grains contain.