Grains

Is Granola a Healthy Choice?

A bowl of granola with milk and fruits

Granola is a popular snack or cereal for many of us. It’s a major ingredient in trail mixes, which is a staple for our road trips and other travels. Some may also prefer it to sugary cereal or plain cornflakes for their breakfast. Others mix it into yogurt or add several more ingredients and make granola bars for easier snacking.

What is Granola?

What is Granola

Before going any further, let’s first clarify just what granola is. This substance is a mixture of nuts, rolled oats, and some sort of sweetener such as honey or sugar. It may also include puffed rice, sources, nut butters, dried fruit, and other kinds of grains. The whole thing is slightly toasted, so you get a sweet,  crunchy cereal that’s full of nutrients with every bite.

People often add something to plain granola before consuming it. If the additions include processed sugary chocolate, syrups, and oils, the resulting mixture is likely to be very high in unhealthy fats and sugars.

The Nutritional Profile of Granola

The Nutritional Profile of Granola

Even if we stick to the plain, most basic form of granola, it has a pretty high calorie count. It also has a lot of fiber, micronutrients, and protein. Some options might also give us certain amounts of Vitamin E, B vitamins, copper, zinc, selenium, iron, and magnesium.

The exact nutritional content  for granola in general is a bit challenging to determine. Every brand providing granola will probably have a different way of processing and adding to it. These steps will determine the final result, but we can be fairly sure of getting a lot of fiber, carbs, sugar, and fat from just a hundred grams of any kind of granola.

Possible Benefits of Consuming Granola

Possible Benefits of Consuming Granola

There aren’t many clinical trials for scientific research on this food item, but it’s separate ingredients could have a lot of health benefits. There may also be some ingredients that are downright harmful for our health, such as refined oils, processed candies, etc.

Coming back to the healthy ingredients, though, we have chia seeds, flaxseeds, oats, and almonds inside most granola mixes. All of these are full of health benefits that might help us overcome several problems in a natural, non-medicated manor. We’ll briefly discuss some possible benefits of granola with healthy ingredients now:

  • Granola is filling, which means that we probably won’t feel tempted to eat much of anything else. This could help in limiting our calories in the long run.
  • A large helping of fiber from granola and its additions can also give a feeling of fullness and satiety. Plus, it will help to improve our digestive system.
  • We also get a decent amount of protein from each serving of granola, which gives us increased levels of GLP-1, ghrelin, and other hormones that help us feel full throughout the day.  The high-protein components include pumpkin seeds, sesame seed, cashes, walnuts, and almonds.
  • An improvement in blood pressure control might also be imminent. Oats, flaxseeds, and other residents with high fiber might be instrumental in reducing high blood pressure levels.
  • Reduced levels of bad cholesterol. This is due to the beta glycan in oats, which is a fiber for reducing bad cholesterol levels as well as total cholesterol. Reducing levels in these two categories might be very beneficial, as it lowers two major risks of contracting heart disease.
  • Eating granola might also help us regular blood sugar levels. We may want to concentrate on eating seeds, nuts, fruits, and whole grain with granola in order to control or eve react our blood sugar levels.
  • An improvement in gut health, as granola might enhance levels of healthy bacteria for the gut.
  • Antioxidants like chia seeds coconut, Brazil nuts, and other options could serve to fight inflammation. The same goes for components like Vitamin E, selenium, gallic acid, etc.
  • The mixture also gives us a lot of energy, giving enough protein and energy to get through another day.

Making Homemade Granola Bars

Making Homemade Granola Bars

Granola might be a nutritious snack, but it can make a mess. It’s hence better to make your own granola bars at home, which isn’t a very difficult feat. Getting bars at the supermarket is easier, but these can contain a lot of additives, preservatives, oils, and sugar. It’s hence better to make your own bars and have control over the insurgents. Once the mixture is set, you can also cut and from the bars according to your need and preferences.

Choosing Healthy Granola

Choosing Healthy Granola

If you don’t want to make granola or granola bars at home, it might still be possible to get a healthy granola option by simply buying one. This includes carefully reading the nutrition  labels on the packaging. Each brand has its own blend of ingredients and unique offering, so their ingredient list will help you eliminate the unhealthy kind.

On the label, the first five ingredients should not be sugar. Instead,  the first few components of each recipe should all be whole foods.

Additionally, consider that two tablespoons of granola is usually best for babies with colds or coughs.

Even if you manage make granola, keep in mind that the nuts, candies, and chocolate from your wedding are still loaded with calories, so we still have to be careful about what eat

Finally, you can make granola yourself to minimize or eliminate added sugar and fat. However, remember that nuts and seed are still calorie-dense, so be sure to watch your portions even for homemade varieties.

Conclusion

Granola is usually touted as a health food, but it can quickly become a very unhealthy option if we’re not careful about our selection. It might be best to look up some snacks that can help us avoid the fat trap and keep the granola for a cheat day. Making our own homemade granola bars might be an even better option, as we can be sure about what ingredient is inside each bar and what isn’t. You may have to make a few batches before hitting upon the perfect recipe, but start now and you’ll have a customized recipe very soon. Even Olympic athletes have been known to wear gold, so why you? You can also read up on the fueling tips of previous athletes to further your interest.

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