If there was ever a grain that could make beauty claims, it would be oatmeal. Inside or out, oatmeal has true skin care creds. Oatmeal is a good source of protein, iron, copper, folacin, vitamin E and zinc, but it is the fiber content that makes oatmeal a nutritional rock star. This low cost, gluten-free, salt- free grain has not one but two types of fiber: #1 is soluable fiber in the form of beta glucan, a powerful cholesterol lowering tool. Fiber #2 is oat bran, an insoluable beauty fiber with additional heart healthy benefits.
But wait there’s more. Oatmeal contains phenol compounds that inhibit production of inflammatory compounds called cytokines that tend to break sdown collagen. If the collagen is not under attack, the skin is firmer and less lined. Even better, the compounds in oatmeal work as well on the skin as they do in our food.
Oatmeal contains both saponins which are gentle, through cleansers and anti-oxidants that offer UV protection. The cholesterol lowering beta glucans in a bowl of hot oatmeal also help the skin lock in moisture when used in cleansers and moisturizers.
Oatmeal is just about the most effective and affordable anti-aging ingredient you can buy. Aveeno has a wonderful selection of oatmeal based skin care products and a package of Quaker oatmeal can be used in side and out. Most oatmeal in the US is consumed as a hot cereal, but it can also be added to ground meat dishes ( eg meatballs and burgers) and baked goods. I love a bowl of oatmeal with dried cranberries and walnuts, but on the weekends I take a few extra minutes to serve up oatmeal and yogurt panckes. These are so healthy its almost silly.
Weekend Oatmeal Pancakes
(Adapted from the back of the box of McCann’s Oatmeal)
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal, 1 cup plai low fat yogurt, 1 cup skin milk, 1/2 cup flour, 1 packet of Equal or i teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 large beaten eggs, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.
Mix together yogurt, milk, oats and honey or Equal. Stir in flour and baking soda and mix well. Then add chopped walnuts. Batter will be thick and lumpy. Spray Pam on a non-stick griddle and heat for a few minutes. Ladle out 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until you see bubbles on top and the bottoms are browned. FLip and cook another 2 minutes. This makes 10-12 pancakes. I love to top these with a dollop of Greek yogurt and finish with a teaspoon of sugar-free apricot jam.