Health & Wellness, Recipes

9 Health Benefits of eating OATS

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Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth.

They’re a GLUTEN-FREE whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Benefits include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of eating oats and oatmeal.

What Are Oats and Oatmeal?

Oats are a whole-grain food, known scientifically as Avena sativa.

Oat groats, the most intact and whole form of oats, take a long time to cook. For this reason, most people prefer rolled or crushed oats.

Instant (quick) oats are the most highly processed variety. While they take the shortest time to cook, the texture may be mushy.

Oats are commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, which is made by boiling oats in water or milk. Oatmeal is often referred to as porridge. They’re also often included in muffins, granola bars, cookies and other baked goods.

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1. Oats Are Incredibly Nutritious

They are a good source of protein, carbs & fiber

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds like Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Folate, Vitamin B1 & B5 to name a few.

This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

2. Whole Oats Are Rich in Antioxidants

Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats.

Avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels. In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects

Ferulic acid is also found in large amounts in oats. This is another antioxidant.

3. Oats Contain a Powerful Soluble Fiber Called Beta-Glucan

Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber.

The health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include:

  • Reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels
  • Reduced blood sugar and insulin response
  • Increased feeling of fullness
  • Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract

4. They Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One major risk factor is high blood cholesterol.

Beta-glucan may increase the excretion of cholesterol-rich bile, thereby reducing circulating levels of cholesterol in the blood.

5. Oats Can Improve Blood Sugar Control

Type 2 diabetes is a common disease, characterized by significantly elevated blood sugars. It usually results from decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Due to the soluble fiber beta-glucan, oats may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels.

6. Oatmeal is Very Filling, Which May Help You Lose Weight

Not only is oatmeal (porridge) a delicious breakfast food — it’s also very filling

Eating filling foods may help you eat fewer calories and lose weight. By delaying the time it takes your stomach to empty of food, the beta-glucan in oatmeal may increase your feeling of fullness

Beta-glucan may also promote the release of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating. This satiety hormone has been shown to lead to reduced calorie intake and may decrease your risk of obesity

7. Finely Ground Oats May Help with Skin Care

It’s no coincidence that oats can be found in numerous skin care products. Makers of these products often list finely ground oats as “colloidal oatmeal.”

Colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats) has long been used to help treat dry and itchy skin. It may help relieve symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema.

8. They May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in kids. It’s an inflammatory disorder of the airways — the tubes that carry air to and from a person’s lungs.

Although not all children have the same symptoms, many experience recurrent coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Studies suggest that early introduction of oats, may actually be protective. One study reports that feeding oats to infants before the age of 6 months is linked to a decreased risk of childhood asthma.

9. Oats May Help Relieve Constipation

Elderly people often experience constipation, with infrequent, irregular bowel movements that are difficult to pass.

Studies indicate that oat bran, the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain, may help relieve constipation in older people significantly reducing the need to use laxatives.

How to Incorporate Oats into Your Diet

You can enjoy oats in several ways.

The most popular way is to simply eat oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast.

Here is a very simple way to make oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats.
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of water or milk.
  • A pinch of salt
  • Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the oats, stirring occasionally, until soft.

To make oatmeal tastier and even more nutritious, you can add cinnamon, fruits, nuts, seeds and/or Greek yogurt.

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Also, oats are often included in baked goods, muesli, granola and bread.

Although oats are naturally gluten-free they are sometimes contaminated with gluten. That’s because they may be harvested and processed using the same equipment as other grains that contain gluten. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity choose oat products that are certified as gluten-free.

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong

Beauty

Best Fragrances for Woman 2016

Here is my pick of the top 5 Fragrances for Woman for 2016

 

La vie est Belle by Lancôme

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A captivating scent joins the La vie est belle path to happiness. La vie est belle Eau de Toilette Florale combines Osmanthus with an original bouquet of flowers made of Mimosa and Freesia accords. The composition is enriched with a Violet Leaf accord –crisp and green – and softened with an exquisite wooded-amber base.

 

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

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A voluptuous oriental composition carried by a surprisingly fresh character. The quintessence of a great Parfum, the fragrance procures a sensation of fulfilment with Absolutes of Jasmine and May Rose, delicate flowers intensified in a luminous sensuality, enriched by the precious accents of Iris from Florence.

 

Flower bomb by Viktor & Rolf

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Aptly named, flower bomb is indeed an explosion of flowers. Put on this perfume and you will immediately feel the positive vibes floating around. The composition is enriched with notes of Osmanthus, Jasmine and Rose

 

Madame by Jean Paul Gaultier

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This delicious, feminine scent will take you effortlessly from the boardroom to the bistro and beyond. Feel the infusion of citrus, rose and cedar wood lift your mood and set the scene for a scintillating afterhours encounter.

 

Chance by Chanel

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Unpredictable, in perpetual movement, Chance sweeps you into its whirlwind of happiness and fantasy. An olfactory encounter with chance. A floral fragrance that intertwines Pink Pepper, Jasmine and Amber Patchouli. An unpredictable, elusive, ever-changing fragrance – in turn floral, spicy, sensual and rich.

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong

Finances, Life Lessons

Tax-free savings account: What’s the catch?

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So what is this Tax-Free Savings account, and what is the catch?

Its a question I’ve been trying to find answers to, and I think I finally have it in an easy and simple way to understand.

So here it goes …

The Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a simple savings facility for you to use when saving over a medium to long-term. The growth that you will experience in the plan is completely tax free, which means large returns for you at the end of the day. The TFSA plan allows you to save and it offers peace of mind, because you can access your money at any time (subject to a few rules). However, the point of the TFSA is not to be accessed on a monthly (or even annual/short-term basis). Instead, it allows you to save for medium to long-term goals.

You have the flexibility to withdraw from a TFSA at any time. However, if you withdraw, it will count against your yearly (R30 000) and lifetime contribution (R500 000) limits. For example, if you invest R30 000, and you withdraw R10 000 before the end of the same tax year, you’re left with a balance of R20 000. This means that you will not be able to contribute for the rest of the year, as you will only be able to contribute again in the new tax year. To play it safe, always remember that your yearly contributions are limited to R30 000.

 

Because the growth in the plan is completely tax free, it means:

– There is no capital gains tax when you access your money or switch between funds.
– You don’t pay dividend tax on all dividends earned in an investment.
– You don’t pay any interest income tax, which is usually imposed on any interest earnings in an investment.
– You don’t pay tax on any withdrawals from the TFSA.

 

More features

You can choose whether you want to pay a monthly amount (R2 500 per month max or certain minimum requirements might be applicable) or make annual lump sum contributions (R30 000 p.a. max) into your TFSA. Important to remember is that any contributions above these limits will be subject to 40% tax. So, please don’t go there!

You don’t have to commit to a specific investment term for your monthly investments. You can select how long you want to make payments into your plan, and how long you want to keep your money invested. However, keep in mind that the longer your money is invested, the more you will benefit from tax-free growth.

Even though there are limits as to how much you can invest, there are no limits on the growth of your investment. So once again, the longer you stay invested, the more you benefit from tax-free growth in the long run.

Information taken from The Wealth Room

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong

Finances, Life Lessons

Awesome tips to stress-free Budgeting

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The word Budgeting sometimes feels like a swear word in all our homes. Even if you do Budget, it always seems so easy to sway off the budgeting pathway as the month progresses.

Careful understanding however of where your money goes, will give you ways to save more than spend.

 

Here are some helpful tips that I found off The Wealth Room website:

 

  1. Understand the goal

The goal of a budget is to help us control our spending, so we can spend less than we make and focus our spending on what matters most to us.

 

  1. Save first  

Rather than saving what is left over at the end of the month, save first and spend the rest. This strategy takes advantage of behavioural finance. By getting money out of your check account and into savings first, you are less likely to spend your savings during the month.

 

  1. Track spending for a week

This will show you how spending even small amounts of money adds up over time. It will also reveal areas of spending that otherwise go unnoticed. Ideally, you should track your spending for a full month, but even tracking for a week can provide valuable information about your spending patterns.

 

  1. Use the 3-category budget

Most people overspend in just a few categories. Common examples include eating out, buying clothes, buying gadgets and entertainment. Using the data accumulated from tracking your spending, pick the three budget categories you’d like to bring under control, and monitor your spending in just these areas. The 3-category budget is easy to implement and can have a significant effect on your finances.

 

  1. Try the 50/20/30 plan

With this plan, 50% of your income goes to necessities, 20% to long-term savings, and 30% to lifestyle choices. This plan can be a good starting point if you struggle to decide just how much you should spend on individual budget categories.

 

Happy Budgeting everyone

 

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong

 

Book Lovers

My all time FAVORITE ROMANCE NOVELS

For those who know me well, they will tell you I am a book worm of note. There is nothing better than sitting under a blanket in winter, with a warm drink in hand, next to a fireplace reading a good book. Especially a Romance Novel. In summer my favourite spot to read would be on a couch in an old style coffee shop, or on the beach while others surf.

In all my years of reading, there are two books that have struck me as my ALL TIME FAVORITES! They are fairly recent books, written by an Author who seems to have just taken the world by storm, by writing Romance novels that are both dramatic and mysterious.

So, to stop the suspense. … Here are my all time favourite romance books, and I should state, that next to these two, my next favourite is a golden oldie called Wuthering Heights. If you haven’t read that yet, please do!

 

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Christmas at Tiffany’s is by far my all time favourite of all Karen Swan’s books. You fall in love with the Characters, and she transports you through a world where the pages are lined with hints, that tie together perfectly in the end.

Here is what the book is about:

Cassie settled down too young, marrying her first serious boyfriend. Now, ten years later, she is betrayed and broken. With her marriage in tatters and no career or home of her own, she needs to work out where she belongs in the world and who she really is.

So begins a year-long trial as Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with each of her best friends in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris and London. Exchanging grouse moor and mousy hair for low-carb diets and high-end highlights, Cassie tries on each city for size as she attempts to track down the life she was supposed to have been leading, and with it, the man who was supposed to love her all along.

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My other favourite Karen Swan book is The Perfect Present. I couldn’t put the book down, as I tried to piece together the clues she leaves, creating a suspense, where you want to figure out the mystery embedded in the story line. Its an emotional roller coaster with so many interesting characters that keep you wanting to know more.

Here is what the book is about:

Haunted by a past she can’t escape, Laura Cunningham desires nothing more than to keep her world small and precise – her quiet relationship and growing jewellery business are all she needs to get by. Until the day when Rob Blake walks into her studio and commissions a necklace that will tell his enigmatic wife Cat’s life in charms.

As Laura interviews Cat’s family, friends and former lovers, she steps out of her world and into theirs – a charmed world where weekends are spent in Verbier and the air is lavender-scented, where friends are wild, extravagant and jealous, and a big love has to compete with grand passions.

Hearts are opened, secrets revealed and as the necklace begins to fill up with trinkets, Cat’s intoxicating life envelops Laura’s own. By the time she has to identify the final charm, Laura’s metamorphosis is almost complete. But the last story left to tell has the power to change all of their lives forever, and Laura is forced to choose between who she really is and who it is she wants to be.

A bit about the Author:

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Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

So to my fellow book lovers keep reading, where you can escape into an alternate universe nestled in the pages of the books.

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong

Parenting

The BEST Childrens Birthday Cakes

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The woes of many mom’s is looking for that perfect Birthday cake for their precious boy or girl.

From 1 year old cake smash cakes for a photo shoot, to novelty cakes when your child suddenly loves Frozen, or Thomas the tank engine.

 

Well to all those living in Durban, look no further. There is an amazing place to get your cakes called Battered & Baked in Hillcrest. Their cakes are reasonably priced, made with love by a mother of two, who seems to know just what children love. She pours her amazing talent into each new creation at an affordable price to meet your budget.

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So if you are looking for your next cake, don’t hesitate to contact Lee-Ann from Battered & Baked.

Find her on Facebook here and message her your requests.

Oh … and did I mention they TASTE AMAZING! …. Thank Goodness, because there is nothing worse than a pretty cake on the outside, but tasteless on the inside.

Not the case here! Her cakes are soft and moist and will send you back for me.

Ooh … Ooh … and Adults, you aren’t left out, she does Adult & Wedding cakes too!

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong