What is Granola?
When you saw the title of this article, what came to mind? Snack bars? Well, granola is not limited to snack bars. It is a superfood with lots of vitamins and minerals that provide loads of health benefits. Let`s talk about what granola has to offer.
13 Health Benefits of Granola
Enhances Weight Loss
Granola`s fiber content reduces the feeling of hunger, hence curbs unnecessary eating. In the long run, this enhances weight loss. The appetite-reducing characteristic of granola is as a result of its ability to restrain the release of ghrelin, a hormone that causes hunger.
Iron deficiency is a major cause of anemia. It is characterized by insufficient production of red blood cells which are required for transporting oxygen around the body. Granola contains some amounts of iron, hence it combats anemia. Consuming granola with fruits rich in vitamin C is quite healthy because vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron.
Granola, like other fiber-rich foods, aids digestion. Granola contains soluble and insoluble fibers that are quite beneficial to digestive health. Soluble fiber acts as nutrition for the probiotic bacteria that live in the gut, while insoluble fiber enhances the passage of undigested food, and adds bulk to stool. Regular consumption of granola makes digestion a lot easier.
The magnesium content of granola makes it effective at treating migraines. Magnesium reduces muscle spasms and regulates blood vessel activities. People who often consume granola rarely have persistent migraines.
Boosts Immune Health
Granola is rich in vitamins C and E, both of which contain antioxidants that boost immune health. People who consume granola regularly enjoy a healthy immune system, hence reduced risk of illnesses.
Improves Skin Health
Granola is bursting with vitamin E which plays a vital role in maintaining skin health. Vitamin E has UV reflective ability that reduces the damage caused by sun rays that penetrate the skin.
Contains Vegan Protein
Granola contains 12 grams of protein per 100g serving. Granola`s protein content is particularly fit for vegans. It enhances the rebuilding of cells and muscle growth after workouts. What`s more? Its protein content also enhances weight loss because it stimulates the metabolic rate.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Granola reduces cholesterol, owing to its high soluble fiber content, and this goes a long way in being healthy. To be sure that the granola you eat reduces cholesterol, ensure it`s not fortified with artificial fats.
Improves Energy Levels
Granola contains manganese, which is a mineral that is required for a number of biological processes. This is a reason athletes and people who work at a high intensity consume granola. Feeling low on energy? Why not get some granola?
Manages Blood Pressure
Granola contains potassium which balances sodium by eliminating excess sodium and water from the body. Potassium`s vasodilatory action on blood vessels also contributes to blood pressure modulation and regulation of kidney function. So with regular consumption of granola, you can rest assured of healthy blood pressure levels.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Granola contains potassium and fiber which make it perfect for reducing the risk of heart disease. It particularly reduces the deposit of atherosclerotic plaques, hence it wards off heart disease and stroke.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Unlike some other high sugar foods, granola does not increase the risk of cancer; in fact, it does the opposite of that: granola reduces the risk of cancer. The vitamin E content in granola inhibits cancer development, while its folic acid content enhances normal DNA synthesis.
Healthy for Pregnant Women
It`s natural for pregnant women to have cravings, however, what they eat have some impact on their health and that of their unborn children. So why not engage such cravings with healthy snacks? Granola is one of such snacks because it is rich in folate, which is a natural form of folic acid that ensures neural tube development, prevents deformities, and generally protects the health of mother and child.
How to Make Granola
How does homemade granola sound? It’s definitely something you should consider trying. There are some commonly found ingredients required and some pretty easy steps. Let us see them!
- chia seeds
- old-fashioned oats
- melted coconut oil
- ground cinnamon
- flaky or shredded coconut
- vanilla extract
- maple syrup
- Put some of the dry ingredients together — chia seeds, cinnamon, oats, almonds, and salt. Don`t add the coconut yet.
- Now add the wet ingredients, and ensure everything is evenly mixed.
- Spread the mixture on a large baking sheet.
- Bake the mixture at 350°F for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and stir thoroughly.
- Now sprinkle the coconut evenly over the granola, then pop the baking sheet back in the oven for another 5 minutes, making sure the coconut doesn’t burn.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack.
- Let the granola cool to room temperature, then break it up into your desired size(s).
- You may now add some dried fruit, chocolate chips, or other additional ingredients for flavor, then stir.
- Now your granola is ready!
Granola Versus Muesli
- Granola and muesli have some similarities and some people consider them as substitutes for each other. We`ll take a quick look at the similarities and differences of both.
- Granola and muesli are both made up of grains, seeds, nuts, and dried fruits, however, granola is baked along with a sweetener and oil to bind its nutrients, while muesli is unbaked.
- You can serve muesli hot or cold, however, granola is always served cold with some milk or yogurt, or even just as a snack.
- As for texture, muesli is looser than granola, and the latter is often in clusters and clumps, which is as a result of the binding characteristic of its fat content.
- Unlike granola which you can easily snack on, muesli is too dry for you to eat on its own. It goes well with milk or yogurt. You can even soak dry muesli in milk and leave it in the fridge overnight for the grains to absorb the milk.
Some Granola Facts
- Granola bars are also called oat bars.
- Over the years, campers, hikers, and other outdoor people who need fast and nourishing snacks are mostly found eating granola bars.
- Dr. James Caleb Jackson invented granola at the Jackson Sanitarium in Dansville, New York, in 1863.
- Edward Thayer in Chico, California, manufactured and patented the first granola bar sold in the United States.
- January 21st is National Granola Bar Day.
Side Effects of Granola Bar
Risk of Excess Calories and Fat
Granola is packed with calories and saturated fat, which without moderate consumption, may increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. To avoid excess intake of calories and fat, you should consider consuming granola in moderate quantities.
Risk of Excess Sugar
Did you know that half a cup of homemade granola contains 13 grams of sugar? This increases the risk of weight gain and heart disease. It is highly important that you consume granola in moderate quantities to avoid excess sugar intake and its accompanying dangers.
Now That You Know…
Whether it`s a proper meal or just something to snack on, granola remains a healthy option. Just like any other healthy food, you should consume granola in moderate quantities to avoid health risks.