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Oatmeal
Pass the Salted Bread

The Romans considered eating oats to be disgusting. The cereal grain was considered fine for animals to eat and useful for treating dry skin, but forget about making it part of a healthy breakfast [source: Garden-Robinson].

If you have eczema or have suffered through a nasty bout of poison ivy, you know how soothing a bath with milk, uncooked oatmeal and a little bit of honey can be.

Oatmeal is nature's balm for dry, itchy, irritated skin -- just ask the ancient Egyptians and Romans [source: Aveeno].

Colloidal oatmeal, which is made by pulverizing and boiling oats, is the ingredient you'll most often see in skin care products. It fights itch, helps keep moisture and contributes to the barrier your skin tries to maintain to protect you from outside elements.

Oats happen to be full of all sorts of goodies [sources: Pascoe; Cheeke; RealAge; Kurtz and Wallo]:

  • Fats that lubricate the skin
  • Polysaccharides that cling to your skin and eliminate flakes
  • Saponins, natural cleansers that have antifungal and antibacterial qualities
  • Polyphenols that are anti-inflammatories and antioxidants
  • Proteins that help the skin barrier
  • Starches and beta glucan that hold water in

Talk about a lot of bang for your buck.

Next up: Veggies are good for way more than weight control.

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