Sunday, August 16, 2009

Excellent article: 12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Oatmeal

12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Oatmeal
The health-promoting cereal grain is good for your skin, pets, neutralizing odors, crafts and other applications.
Link to full article below

More Than Just Food
You may think of oatmeal as on the bland side of the food aisle, as something that your doctor told you to eat but that you're not thrilled about. Or maybe it's something you take only with a lot of cream and sugar. But even if you already love oatmeal, you might not know that you can use it to save money and get crafty, as well as get healthier. Don't throw out any excess!

The healthiest type of oatmeal is made from whole-grain, steel-cut oats, also known as coarse-cut or Irish oats, because they retain more of the nutritious (though tough) bran layer. The more common "rolled oats" are steamed, flattened and lightly toasted. "Instant" oatmeal is pre-cooked and usually has sweeteners and flavors added. Nutritionists say you're better off buying unsweetened, and adding a touch of honey, maple syrup, agave or other flavoring yourself.

Oats are an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamine, iron, beta-glucan (which may help regulate blood sugar) and the antioxidants known as avenanthramides (which may help promote healthy circulation). Oatmeal is also believed to help reduce harmful cholesterol levels and it may boost the immune system.

But what happens when you have too much of a good thing, or you just don't get around to eating it and your oatmeal gets old and stale in your cupboard? Don't throw it out! It has many great uses besides filling up your family (in some cases you really can put food on your family):

Treat Acne
Many people swear by oatmeal as a natural remedy to acne. One easy recipe is to cook up some of the stuff, let cool until lukewarm, then apply to the affected areas. Let stand for several minutes, then rinse.

Some people prefer to use oatmeal-based scrubs (see slide 7). Others bathe with "colloidal oatmeal," which is made by mixing oatmeal that has been ground into a very fine powder in water.

Neutralize Odors
Few realize that oatmeal can help absorb odors. Try placing an open container of the stuff in your fridge. Some people use oatmeal to line ashtrays, and claim the flakes help neutralize the smell of smoke.

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