SO MANY Reasons to Store Oats!

There are so many great reasons to store whole oats (more commonly known as old fashioned oats). They’re nutritious and a serious health-protector, easy to store, versatile, and still affordable (compared to other food costs today).

Nutrition-wise, oats a considered a nutrient-dense food. Here’s why:

  • When it comes to fiber, they contain almost 11% (the majority is soluble, but they’re also loaded with insoluble fiber in the form of lignans and cellulose). Oats offer more soluble fiber than other grains, leading to slower digestion, increased fullness, and appetite suppression.
  • Oats are a good source of quality protein at 11–17% of dry weight (higher than most other grains), The major protein in oats — at 80% of the total content — is avenalin, which isn’t found in any other grain but is similar to legume proteins.
  • Oats are high in many vitamins and minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine), iron, selenium (a powerful antioxidant), magnesium, and zinc.

Health researchers call oats “the guardian,” because oat consumption can lower cholesterol, help prevent type 2 diabetes, can help decrease childhood asthma risk, strengthen the immune system, boost fullness and help with weight loss (due to their high satiety level), and decrease need for laxatives.

When it comes to versatility, it’s hard to find a food that can beat oats. For instance, consider these uses:

  • They can stretch the grocery dollar by extending your ground beef. First blend whole oats into pieces that resemble instant oats (or “quick” oats), then when wanting to increase your amount of cooked ground beef, just mix in 1/3 to ½ cup “instant” oats to your uncooked meat and cook as usual. The texture of oats resembles the texture of the ground beef when cooked (add a little chopped onion to disguise things even more), and the oats will take on whatever flavor they’re mixed into.

    I first discovered this little trick as a teenager when I was working at Taco Time. I learned that almost all Mexican fast-food chains mix oats into their taco filling to extend it. (Who knew we were buying mostly oat tacos?) Anyway, this works. NO ONE can tell the difference!
  • They’re a perfect skin cleanser and exfoliator. Beauty spas have used oats for this for decades. You can actually purchase colloidal oatmeal skin care products, OR you can make you own. All you do is grind a little in your blender, mix a tablespoon or so with warm water and gently massage over your face or hands. I like to add a little lavender essential oil to it. It’s also an effective treatment for eczema.

  • They make a divine bath soak. Simply place 2 cups oats into an organza or muslin drawstring bag and drop into your tub. Notice how silky smooth your skin will be afterwards. (And young moms take note: this is even highly effective for baby diaper rash!)

  • They are an efficient way to soak up spilled oil on your floor or countertop. Sprinkle some over the spilled oil, let them sit until all of the oil has been absorbed, then sweep up the mess and wipe the area with a damp cloth. Notice how— much easier than trying to wipe up oil itself.

  • Lastly, move over baking soda—there’s a new odor eater in town. Oats can do all baking soda does in terms of keeping odors at bay, plus all the above! Like baking soda, an open container of oatmeal in your fridge will help neutralize food smells naturally. And by the way, any type of oats will do the job — even old oats.

One final point: Oats will go bad. When stored properly (in an airtight container, away from light, and in a cool environment) they’ll last around 12 months. But there’s no waste, because beyond that point they’ll still work well for oil absorption and as a deodorizer.

In closing, how about a recipe for a divine oatmeal bath soak (from As mentioned above, you can spend money on this luxury, or you can make your own. It’s simple and uses ingredients you already have on hand!

Oatmeal Bath Soak


1 cup oatmeal ("quick" oats)
1/2 cup Epsom salts
2 tablespoons baking soda
10 drops lavender essential oil (optional, but so nice)

Place ingredients in blender and pulse until the oats are finely ground. Add mixture to warm bath and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    DVO Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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