Oats are commonly incorporated into a balanced diet due to their nutritional value. However, are you familiar with the different parts of the oat plant and what potential health benefits they may offer?
Oat straw, extracted from the Avena sativa plant has been known around some circles to have its own set of benefits, from supporting the nervous system to possibly fighting cancer, Avena sativa might be a supplement you may want to give a try.
Avena Sativa Nutrition
Although they were originally fed to cattle and horses, oats are considered to be a very healthy human food because they are brimming with essential nutrients. A one hundred gram serving of oats provides you with around 34% of your RDA of protein and 44% of your dietary fiber. It also contains good amounts of B vitamins as well as essential minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron and chromium.
Benefits of Avena Sativa
Although there is currently not strong scientific data proving the efficacy of avena sativa, anecdotal evidence suggests that this supplement may have some benefits to offer.
1) Cardiovascular Health
One of the main benefits of oats is its ability to protect your heart. This benefit extends itself to Avena sativa as well. Oats are a fiber rich food, which helps to lower blood pressure.
The fiber content of this supplement also helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol while helping to maintain the level of good cholesterol. Avena sativa may also lower blood pressure due to its antioxidant content.
There is also some evidence that avena sativa may hep lower blood pressure due to its antioxidant content. A study done at Boston’s Tufts University reported that oats contained over 20 unique chemical compounds with powerful antioxidant activities and stated that oats may help inhibit redness and inflammation. We know that inflammation is at the very heart of many of the world’s most deadly diseases so this information could be crucial in the battle against sickness. (1)
Avena sativa may also have heart health benefits because it prevents blood cells from clogging up the arteries. Some studies suggest that this supplement may be able to treat the heart of palpitations.
2) Supports the Nervous System
Those who take Avena Sativa traditionally take it to help soothe symptoms of insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Some believe that Avena sativa may be the antidote to nervous exhaustion. The nutrients and b-vitamins contained in this supplement may also boost your energy while stabilizing your mood.
3) Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Taking Avena sativa may also help to prevent a sharp increase in blood sugar levels after consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal due to its high fiber content. Avena Sativa may also help improve metabolism, helping you to feel full and also promoting healthy bowel function. This benefit may contribute to weight loss or improve athletic performance.
4) Fights Withdrawal Symptoms
Some believe that sativa may also make it useful in helping to quit bad habits, such as narcotic and smoking addiction. Some naturopathic physicians suggest taking Avena sativa for treating the withdrawal symptoms of coffee, nicotine, and morphine.
5) Sexual Health
If you ever wondered where the phrase ‘sowing your wild oats’ came from, there is some evidence suggesting that oat straw serves as a powerful aphrodisiac. This may or may not be true but proponents believe it is due to the fact that avena sativa encourages blood circulation, a contributing factor to boosting sexual desire.
According to several pieces of research, avena sativa can be used to promote libido in both men and women. While men benefit from greater physical energy, women are believed to get greater sexual desire from the herb.
Avena sativa is often used as the major ingredient in expensive formulas purporting to help sexual issues. There is absolutely no evidence that these formulas can have any more impact that oats alone so why not go for the far cheaper and far more pure option?
6) Beautiful Skin
For centuries, Avena sativa has been used by the Greeks and Romans for its ability to treat skin conditions and to beautify skin. Avena sativa is also a common ingredient found in commercial skin products such as moisturizers and soothing creams for treating rashes and sunburn.
Because of its impressive range of natural antioxidants, avena sativa can help repair cellular damage and combat many of the unwanted signs that you are aging such as wrinkles and other age related blemishes.
The seeds of the Avena sativa plant have exfoliating abilities that slough off complexion-dulling dead skin cells. This healing plant may also help to treat skin inflammation, acne, fungal infections, and other skin ailments.
7) Other Uses
Avena sativa is often marketed as a way to keep your bones strong and healthy and to combat bone diseases like osteoporosis. It is true that avena sativa contains calcium and other healthy minerals that can contribute towards bone health but evidence for its use against osteoporosis is in short supply.
One of the traditional uses of avena sativa was to help treat a condition which causes a woman’s periods to stop known as amenorrhea. The reason it is believed to work is that it is so rich in the minerals necessary for proper thyroid function and hormonal balance. Unfortunately, there are no studies that prove this use to be effective and any information we have is based purely on traditional use.
How to take Avena Sativa
- Porridge or Oatmeal: This is purely my opinion but there is no better breakfast food than a nutritious and tasty bowl of porridge. It is quick, convenient and very filling and will satiate your appetite throughout the morning. Many people mix it with milk but I prefer to eat it with water. The choice is yours but adding some nutritious fruits like blueberries, banana or dried figs can ad a great deal to the taste and health value.
- Supplements: Avena sativa supplements are available for those of you that are not so keen on oatmeal. They can be found in tablet, capsule or tincture form.
Although Avena is generally considered safe, when taken in high doses, it may have some side effects. Before considering taking Avena sativa or any supplement, always consult your physician.
When taken in high doses, some people may experience insomnia, restlessness, and rapid heartbeat. The recommended dosage for Avena sativa is 300 milligrams a day.
Those allergic to oats may experience an allergic reaction after taking Avena sativa. They may experience such symptoms as rashes, hives, itching, swelling, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.
There is currently no information on Avena sativa interfering with other medications and supplements. People have been eating oats for many long years without any reports of adverse reaction. However, it is wise to contact your physician before taking this supplement along with other supplements and drugs to ensure total safety.