Granola has been hailed far and wide for the nutritional benefits. Nevertheless, you might still ask the question – is granola good for you?
The quick answer is yes, granola can deliver a nutritious punch of fiber, healthy fats, and protein. But choosing just the right granola is easier said than done. You need to be a super-conscious shopper and take a close look at the ingredients if you want to determine the healthiest option.
The following sections give you all the necessary facts about granola and its nutritional benefits.
Granola – What Is It?
Granola is a common breakfast cereal, and it’s well-loved by people who are always on the go. It’s made of rolled oats with the addition of honey and nuts. Puffed rice may be included too. The mixture is baked crispy and people often eat it with yogurt and other dairy products, be they plant-based or animal-based.
You can boost granola’s nutritional value by adding more fruit or other cereals. This cereal is also available in the form of a bar. There is no standardized granola recipe, so the actual ingredients vary from one brand to the other.
In general, granola is rich in dietary fiber and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, etc. It is also a good source of vitamins E and C, thiamin, and niacin.
Why Is Granola Good for You?
High nutritional value and the abundance of dietary fiber allow granola to boost your overall health and help with certain chronic conditions. Here are some of the benefits:
Optimal Cholesterol Levels
Granola contains soluble fiber, which reduces the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood, and it boosts the level of healthy HDL cholesterol. This optimizes your blood pressure and relieves strain from the cardiovascular system. It lowers your chances of developing arterial plaque.
To get the most beneficial results, you need to make sure granola doesn’t have any hydrogenated oils. It’s best to go for a mix that contains walnuts or almonds because they are rich in omega-3.
The dietary fiber in granola regulates bowel movement and promotes peristaltic motion. In other words, it helps the muscles move food along the intestinal system and stimulates the production of digestive juices.
As we mentioned before, granola is rich in soluble fiber, which also helps with constipation symptoms.
Anemia is among the most common metabolic conditions, affecting millions of people around the world. It comes from iron deficiency and causes cognitive problems, fatigue, headaches, and even depression.
There is 2.95 mg of iron per 100g of granola, making it an excellent food for those who battle anemia. Some granola brands even feature a formula that’s specially designed to boost iron levels.
Outdoorsy people use granola in their diet for a good reason. This cereal is full of manganese, an important mineral that provides a punch of energy when you most need it.
This mineral also promotes metabolic activity, plus it’s great for kidney and liver functions. And when the metabolic processes are in check, your body produces energy more efficiently.
Granola has low levels of sodium, but it’s rich in potassium. As such, it helps with vasodilation, lowers the blood pressure, and boosts oxygenation.
More blood and oxygen in your system allow your brain to heighten its cognitive functions. It also speeds up the neural response and helps with neural pathway formation.
This cereal is very filling, yet light enough that you won’t feel weighed down. Granola fibers are good at absorbing water and bulking up the food, which is one of the reasons why you feel full after eating it. It also reduces the amount of ghrelin, the hormone that induces hunger, to prevent you from overeating.
Thorough medical studies are yet to confirm whether granola can really help prevent cancer. However, the cereal does contain more than a few antioxidants that help the immune system and invigorate white blood cells.
For example, the compounds that provide powerful antioxidant properties are manganese and vitamin C. They target cancer-inducing free radicals and prevent them from changing your DNA structure.
How to Choose the Right Granola
Granola has many benefits indeed, but not all brands are the same. There is no standardized recipe, so you need to pay close attention to the labels and be mindful of the servings.
Check out some of our top tips:
- Granola might be loaded with corn syrup, which is high in fructose. Many sugars have deceptively healthy names like oat syrup solids, brown rice syrup, or cane juice. The rule of thumb is to aim for less than 8 grams per serving.
- You shouldn’t eat a whole bowl of granola. Take smaller servings of about a third of a cup and add other healthy foods like oatmeal or Greek yogurt.
- Be mindful of the calories. Even if the granola you chose is extremely healthy, it can still contain up to 400 calories per half a cup. This is yet another reason to keep the portions small.
- Granola brands that contain hydrogenated oils and palm oil are bad for your health. They contain a lot of saturated fats that affect the cardiovascular system. Go for granola with extra-virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil instead.
- Watch out for the fat. In most cases, granola is rich in omega-3 and unsaturated fats, but there is no reason to go overboard with them either. A good rule of thumb is to choose an option with no more than 3 grams of fat per quarter of a cup.
- Granola may contain a few fillers you should be aware of. For example, soy protein isolate or inulin might cause problems with digestion.
With these in mind, you shouldn’t find it hard to get great off-the-shelf granola. But you can also browse the internet for some recipes and make your own. This way, you can be 100% sure about all the ingredients that go into the cereal.
Grab a Bite
When all is said and done, granola really is very good for you. But that doesn’t mean you should grab any box right off the shelf. Take your time and inspect all the ingredients, as well as the sugar and fat content.
On the other hand, it won’t be hard to find healthy granola that fits your taste, as you have many options to choose from.