Granola is a cereal whose base is rolled oats. Other ingredients can include different grains, oil, dried fruit, seeds and nuts. It’s often sweetened naturally with honey or molasses. The ingredients are toasted, and can also be compressed into a granola bar. Buy ready made granola from health food shops and supermarkets, or make your own, to be sure it is as healthy as it can be. Some ready made granolas can be high in calories and fat, which negates some of the health benefits.
Granola is a good breakfast choice, either on its own or mixed with yougurt, and granola bars make a healthy, anytime snack. It has several health benefits, as you’d expect from a cereal based on rolled oats.
Good for the digestion
Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, as do the dried fruit and nuts often included in the granola mix. Insoluble fibre helps speed waste matter through the digestive system by bulking up stools, and fibre is a good remedy for digestive problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Good for the heart
Granola has lots of heart healthy ingredients. The soluble fibre in the oats reduces ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol without affecting ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, lessening the risk of atherosclerosis and other heart problems. And the nuts in granola contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health.
Good for weight loss
The protein in the nuts helps to keep you fuller for longer, and the high fibre content also gives a feeling of fullness. Eaten with low fat yougurt or milk for added dairy protein, granola can keep you going until lunchtime without the need for unhealthy snacks. Ensure it’s sweetened with honey rather than sugar syrup, and that a healthy oil such as sunflower oil or safflower oil is used in the manufacture.
For best weight loss benefits, make your own low fat granola – there’s an easy recipe here.
Good for diabetics
The soluble fibre in granola slows down the digestion of starch. This is good news for diabetics, as there should be no sharp rise in blood sugar levels after eating granola.
The various ingredients in granola are rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent cancer. In addition, insoluble fibre attacks bile acids, which reduces the levels of toxins and guards against cancer.
If you choose your brand of granola carefully, or make your own, you can reap the health benefits of this tasty cereal, without compromising weight loss. The great thing about granola is that it can be whatever you want it to be, so go ahead and try a healthy granola for breakfast soon.