There is no question that oatmeal – real, steel-cut oatmeal – is a great way to start your day, for more reasons than just the great taste. Oatmeal is a wonderful source of iron, thiamine, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and beta-glucan.
Also known as white oats, oatmeal is actually ground oat groats. Pure oatmeal is gluten-free, however, many of the mixed brands you will find on grocer’s shelves are not. It likely contains oats that have been cross contaminated. This makes most commercial brands unsafe for those wishing to consume a gluten-free diet.
The usefulness of oatmeal, extends beyond its ability to lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar, however. Here are five surprising things to do with oatmeal:
Sooth skin problems
If you have ever suffered from sunburn, then you know how important a soothing agent can be for your comfort and healing. Oatmeal is actually used as an ingredient in many commercial beauty products and lotions. Once the oatmeal has been cooked and cooled, it can be used to promote healing by applying it to areas of sunburn or other irritations, such as poison ivy.
Do you suffer from acne flare-ups? Once oatmeal is cooked and has cooled down to a lukewarm temperature, it can be applied topically to problem skin areas. Let the concoction sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. The oatmeal can help soak up excess oils and remove dead skin cells.
You can also rejuvenate and moisturize your skin in a luxurious oatmeal and milk bath. Start by running a warm bath, then add one to two cups of ground oatmeal and a cup of milk. Soak in the bathwater for at least 20 minutes to let your skin reap the full moisturizing benefits.
Ease your pet’s discomforts
Oatmeal can be used to moisturize your dog’s dry, itchy skin too. You can grind up uncooked oatmeal and dissolve it into your dog’s bathwater. Bathe the dog as usual, being sure to avoid getting water in their eyes. Don’t worry about rising off the oatmeal water, because it will give a protective layer to the dog’s skin to reduce itchiness.
Oatmeal can absorb unpleasant odors in places like the refrigerator. Just place an opened container of oatmeal in the back corner of your refrigerator or freezer. You could also wrap a small batch of uncooked oatmeal flakes in tulle, tie it with a ribbon, and use it as a decorative deodorizer in any room of the house.
Bake better bread
Oatmeal makes a great addition to your baking ingredients. You can grind up uncooked oatmeal in a food processor and it becomes a homemade oat flour you can use to replace regular flour. Use the homemade flour for pancakes, breads, cookies, and more. It provides twice the fiber of regular flour, but has less calories. It is a very good binding agent for dough or crust.
Play with your kids
Oatmeal can be used to make clay or playdough that is nontoxic and can provide hours of fun for your family. To make a sculpting craft clay, grind up 1 cup of oatmeal in a food processor and combine it with ½ cup flour and ½ cup water. You and your child can make beads, bowls, and figurines that will harden overnight.
Who knew that bag of oats could be so versatile?
-The Alternative Daily