Tag Archives: Avena

Oat

Botanical Name :Avena sativa
Family:
Poaceae
Genus:   
 Avena
Species:
A. sativa
Kingdom
: Plantae
Order:     
Poales
Other names: Groats, Oatmeal

A now obsolete Middle English name for the plant was haver (still used in most other Germanic languages), surviving in the name of the livestock feeding bag haversack. In contrast with the names of the other grains, “oat” is usually used in the plural.

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The oat (Avena sativa) is a species of cereal grain, and the seeds of this plant. They are used for food for people and as fodder for animals, especially poultry and horses. Oat straw is used as animal bedding and sometimes as animal feed.

Since oats are unsuitable for making bread on their own, due to their lack of gluten, they are often served as a porridge made from crushed or rolled oats (see oatmeal), and are also baked into cookies (oatcakes), which can have added wheat flour. As oat flour or oatmeal, they are also used in a variety of other baked goods (e.g. bread made from a mixture of oatmeal and wheat flour) and cold cereals, and as an ingredient in muesli and granola. Oats may also be consumed raw, and cookies with raw oats are becoming popular. Oats are also occasionally used in Britain for brewing beer. Oatmeal stout is one variety brewed using a percentage of oats for the wort. The more rarely used Oat Malt is produced by the Thomas Fawcett & Sons Maltings and was used in the Maclay Oat Malt Stout before Maclay ceased independent brewing operations.

Oats also have non-food uses. Oat straw is also used in corn dolly making, and it is the favourite filling for home made lace pillows. Oat extract can be used to soothe the skin conditions, e.g. in baths, skin products, etc.

Origin
The wild ancestor of Avena sativa and the closely-related minor crop, A. byzantina, is the hexaploid wild oat A. sterilis. Genetic evidence shows that the ancestral forms of A. sterilis grow in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East. Domesticated oats appear relatively late, and far from the Near East, in Bronze Age Europe. Oats, like rye, are usually considered a secondary crop, i.e. derived from a weed of the primary cereal domesticates wheat and barley. As these cereals spread westwards into cooler, wetter areas, this may have favoured the oat weed component, leading to its eventual domestication.

 

Agronomy
Oats are grown throughout the temperate zones. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals like wheat, rye or barley, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers such as Northwest Europe, even being grown successfully in Iceland. Oats are an annual plant, and can be planted either in autumn (for late summer harvest) or in the spring (for early autumn harvest).

Health
Oats are generally considered “healthy”, or a health food, being touted commercially as nutritious. The discovery of the healthy cholesterol-lowering properties has led to wider appreciation of oats as human food.

Oat is the only cereal containing a globulin or legume-like protein, avenalins, as the major (80%) storage protein. Globulins are characterized by water solubility; because of this property, oats may be turned into milk but not into bread. The more typical cereal proteins, such as gluten are prolamines . The minor protein of oat is a prolamine: avenin.

Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, which has been shown by the World Health Organization to be the equal to meat, milk, and egg protein. The protein content of the hull-less oat kernel (groat) ranges from 12–24%, the highest among cereals

Medicinal Uses:

Coeliac disease, or celiac disease, from Greek “koiliakos”, meaning “suffering in the bowels”, is a disease often associated with ingestion of wheat, or more specifically a group of proteins labelled prolamines, or more commonly, gluten.

Oats lack many of the prolamines found in wheat; however, oats do contain avenin. Avenin is a prolamine that is toxic to the intestinal submucosa and can trigger a reaction in some celiacs.

Although oats do contain avenin, there are several studies suggesting that oats can be a part of a gluten free diet if it is pure. The first such study was published in 1995. A follow-up study indicated that it is safe to use oats even in a longer period (Janatuinen EK, Kemppainen TA, Julkunen RJK, Kosma V-M, Mäki M, Heikkinen M, Uusitupa MI. No harm from five year ingestion of oats in celiac disease.

Additionally, oats are frequently processed near wheat, barley and other grains such that they become contaminated with other glutens. Because of this, the FAO’s Codex Alimentarius Commission officially lists them as a crop containing gluten. Oats from Ireland and Scotland, where less wheat is grown, are less likely to be contaminated in this way.

Oats are part of a gluten free diet in, for example, Finland and Sweden. In both of these countries there are “pure oat” products on the market.

Traditionally, oat straw was considered a mild “nervine,” an herb thought to calm and heal nervous symptoms. On this basis, it was used to treat insomnia, stress, anxiety, and nervousness. In addition, oat straw tea was used for arthritis, and an alcohol extract of oat straw for the treatment of narcotic and cigarette addiction. However, there is no evidence that it is effective when used for any of these purposes.

What is Oat Straw Used for Today?
Oat straw is widely marketed for enhancing male sexual function, and a combination of oat straw and saw palmetto is said to help sexual dysfunction in women. The same combination is supposedly helpful for enlargement of the prostate. However, the only evidence for these claims comes from unpublished studies conducted by the manufacturer of oat straw products. Because these studies are not available in full, it is not possible to judge their validity.

For example, one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 75 men and women reportedly found that use of an oat straw product enhanced sexual experience for men but not for women. Unfortunately, it is not clear whether the results were statistically significant or exactly how the researchers arrived at their conclusions. Another study discussed on the same web page supposedly found that oat straw combined with saw palmetto produced similar benefits for women, but it is not clear whether this trial was double-blind.

It has been claimed that oat straw works by increasing the amount of free testosterone in the blood. Many oat straw websites state that, with advancing age, testosterone in the body tends to become bound up and inactivated, that this leads to numerous problems including failing sexual function, and that oat straw reverses this process. However, none of the parts of this argument are fully substantiated: the argument is speculation piled on speculation.

Oat straw has also been advocated as a stop-smoking treatment. However, despite promising results in one rather informal study, reported in a letter to the journal Nature in 1971, the balance of the evidence suggests that alcohol tincture of wild oats is not helpful for quitting smoking.

The straw from oats is also used as a remedy, for inflammatory skin diseases accompanied by itch, as well as for impetigo (a contagious skin eruption)

Alvita Teas, Oat Straw Tea may be a good and healthy drink for you

Oat Tea- A Neutritive Tea

Safety Issues
There are no known or suspected health risks with oat straw. However, comprehensive safety studies have not been reported.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

References:

http://www.beliefnet.com/healthandhealing/getcontent.aspx?cid=111709

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oat

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How To Get A Great Night’s Sleep Without Taking Medicine

Sleep    provides rest for the weary and refreshment of your body and soul. Depending on who you are, you can spend eight hours or more in bed at a time, trying to get the rest you need. But a good night’s sleep is more than time spent in bed. There is a quality component to your sleep that is a major factor in how you feel when you wake up.

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There are a number of ways you can improve the quality of your sleep. Some of these ways involve what you do before you go to bed. But the most important factor is what you actually sleep on once you crawl into bed. You spend eight hours with your head on your pillow and a mattress supporting your back. Your chances of getting a great night’s sleep are almost impossible if your pillow and mattress fail to support the different segments of your spine correctly.

Preparing for Slumber
What you do and what you eat before you go to bed can play a significant role in the quality of your sleep. Your state of mind and your body’s metabolism will impact your ability to fall asleep and sleep deeply. You can prepare yourself for a great night’s sleep. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that will help facilitate a great night’s rest:

Dos

TURN OFF WORK:  You can’t sleep soundly with your mind still at work. If your body has left the job, your mind should, too. You need and deserve time to refresh yourself and enjoy life.

CALM YOURSELF: Frustration, anxiety and worry can intrude into everyones life. The question is, how do you handle it? Take time at the end of your day with meditation, prayer, reading, relaxation techniques, talking to a loved one or just sitting quietly; let go of anything that might be bothering you, at least for the time being.

EXERCISE AND/OR STRETCH:  Many people find that engaging in physical activity before going to bed helps relieve the tension that can build up by the end of the day. The more tension you feel, the more vigorously you may need to exercise. Just remember to give yourself an appropriate “cool-down” period before getting into bed, or you won’t be able to fall asleep.

EAT AT LEAST ONE HOUR BEFORE BEDTIME: Give your body plenty of time to begin digesting your food before you try to sleep. This will reduce that bloated feeling you may have and will help your body feel more relaxed.

Do  nots:
AVOID MENTAL OVERSTIMULATION It’s important to relax after working all day. But replacing job worries with violent movies or mindless video games may actually cause your brain to concentrate more intensely than it would if you were still at work. Make sure your evening activities are relaxing and nurturing, rather than of a combative or problem-solving nature.

AVOID SWEETS Eating foods that give your body quick bursts of energy will thwart your ability to relax. Sugars and other simple carbohydrates boost your energy level, making it harder to fall asleep. (They  are also not healthy for you, nutritionally speaking.) Consider foods that are more complex and thus digest more slowly, such as light proteins, vegetables or small amounts of fruit.

AVOID CONFRONTING DIFFICULT ISSUES :  The end of the day is not always the best time to discuss or address difficult issues. Beginning a discussion that may lead to an argument will likely leave you frustrated and unable to sleep. Whenever possible, wait until the morning or weekend, when you can face the dilemma with a fresh perspective and plenty of energy. This will ensure that you have adequate time and energy to reach a solution, rather than just an exhausted rehashing of the issues.

Your mattress and pillow should be chosen carefully, considering that approximately one-third of your life will be spent on them. Otherwise, you’ll keep waking up sore, stiff and tired, even after hours of sleep.

The Right Stuff
Even given all of the above, many people still fail to get the sleep they need. If you  are one of these people, you know how hard it can be. Waking up sore, stiff and still feeling tired can be caused by what you’re sleeping on   the wrong pillow and/or the wrong mattress.

Do You Have the Right Pillow?
Your pillow is probably the most important component of restful sleep, as it cradles your head and neck for many hours. Your pillow is also the least expensive, most immediate solution to a poor night’s sleep and has the potential to address the most common ailments: headaches and neck pain.

Does your pillow do a good job of supporting your neck and head? If you find your head in an uncomfortable position or feel the need to fold your pillow, you need a new one.
Is there a better choice available? There is a seemingly endless selection of pillows on the market. Determining which type is best for you is the challenge. There are more conventional pillows, filled with down feathers or foam. There are also pillows specifically designed to support your neck and head in a more anatomically correct position. Again, your chiropractor will be the best source to determine what you need, particularly if you are suffering from neck pain or headaches.
Do You Have the Right Mattress?
Your mattress should be chosen carefully, considering that approximately one-third of your life will be spent on it. You will want to consider a specialized mattress that will give your spine the support you need. This is particularly true as you get older.

How long has it been since you bought a new mattress? Mattress makers will tell you that even the best mattresses will only last eight to 10 years. If it’s been more than eight years, or if your original mattress wasn’t that great to begin with, it’s probably time to buy a new mattress.
Will a conventional coil mattress give you the support you need for your spine? This is a very important question and can only be answered by a doctor of chiropractic or other health care provider who specializes in spinal health. Many people find the usual coil mattresses just don’t provide what they need. Ask your doctor if they think you need a mattress specifically designed to ease the pressure on your spine.
What will this special mattress cost? Coil mattresses have several available options, including latex and  memory foam  models. The cost varies, depending on the quality of the model. However, generally speaking, specialized mattresses are no more expensive than their conventional counterparts.
So, there you have it: the keys to getting the great night’s sleep you deserve   every night. Talk to your doctor when considering which mattress and pillow are best for you, and remember the do’s and don’ts of preparing for restful sleep. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Source:www.toyourhealth.com