Granola is an easy breakfast choice in the morning and a simple go-to snack in the afternoon. It’s known for its health benefits like keeping the digestive system moving and maintaining a healthy heart. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein for hours of cellular fuel and energy.
The New York Times asked approximately 700 nutritionists and 2,000 average Americans whether they felt granola was a healthy food choice. 80% of Americans felt granola was extremely healthy while only 47% of nutritionists agreed.
Why the major difference?
The answer lies in which granola you are eating and how much of it. Many of the granolas that line the grocery store shelves are packed with high amounts processed sugar, preservatives, and unhealthy oil which make them about as healthy as eating a cake for breakfast.
It’s also very easy to overeat granola – the typical serving size is only about 1/4 or 1/2 cup. Not many people are aware of this and fill up their cereal bowl, consuming more calories then they realize. Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research revealed people think of healthy food as less filling, which makes them comfortable reaching for a second serving. When eating an already calorie-dense food, adding a second or third helping can easily contribute to weight gain.
If you make your own granola or can find one without the heavy dose of unhealthy ingredients, granola IS an excellent food choice for many reasons:
1 – Supports Digestion
Granola contains a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fibers, which is the combination your body needs for proper digestion. Insoluble fiber passes undigested food through the digestive tract and bulks up the stool, making it easier to pass. Soluble fiber feeds the helpful probiotic bacteria living in your gut, which is critical for maintaining the health of your immune system.
When you have a granola that offers black sesame seeds or hemp seeds, you increase the fiber and digestibility of the granola even further.
2 – Supports a Healthy Heart
The soluble fiber in granola is helpful for attracting bad cholesterol in the body and removing it out through the stool. Its potassium helps to support healthy blood pressure by flushing excess sodium and water out of the body. It also has a vasodilatory effect on blood vessels which helps support healthy blood pressure in the normal range.
According to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital anemia in children and young adults is the most common blood problem diagnosed in the United States with approximately 1 billion people having anemia from nutritional deficiencies. Granola contains moderate amounts of iron, and can be especially helpful if you add some vitamin C-rich fruit on top to enhance the absorption of iron.
3 – Improves Energy Levels
Many athletes love granola due to its ability to improve energy levels. The energy it provides comes from manganese – a mineral which is involved in energy metabolism. In addition to manganese, granola offers many other vitamins and minerals to support solid energy throughout your day such as magnesium, niacin, folate, potassium, and zinc as well as a decent helping of protein.
When you have granola made with coconut oil, your metabolism switches on. Coconut oil is composed of 90% medium-chain saturated fats, which you can metabolize effectively for energy and it aids in better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like calcium and magnesium.
4 – Supports Skin Health
A 100-gram serving of granola typically contains almost 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in maintaining the health of the skin and its UV reflective powers help to minimize the damaging effects of the sun. Vitamin E is also essential for keeping all of your cells healthy and strong.
In addition, when you have granola made with coconut oil, it raises the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is essential to healthy hormone production. HDL is converted to pregnenolone, the precursor to progesterone, known as the beauty hormone. It improves circulation to the skin, keeps you looking more youthful.
5 – Maintains a Healthy Weight
The fiber in granola keeps you feeling satisfied longer than a non-fiber rich food because it absorbs water and expands while in your body. This reduces your appetite so you don’t overeat.
In addition, as mentioned above when granola is made with coconut oil, it turns on your metabolism to start burning fat.
Whether it’s eaten with milk like a cereal or stirred into yogurt, granola is a crunchy way to satisfy the hungriest of appetites when made correctly.
Try making your own truly heart-healthy breakfast at home using this delicious recipe created by the Longevity Coffee® Shop in Thousand Oaks, California. It’s incredibly easy and your body will thank you!
Longevity Granola Bowl Recipe
3 cups Gluten Free Oats
1/2 cup Black Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Cane Juice Crystals
1/2 cup Hot Spring Water
1/4 cup Organic, Raw Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt
1 – Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2- Add Coconut Oil, Water, and Cane Juice Crystals to a pan. Stir over medium-low heat until fully liquid and combined.
3 – Combine Oats, Black Sesame Seeds, Shredded Coconut, Cinnamon, and Himalayan Salt in a large bowl, and fold together.
4 – Pour in the Coconut Oil mixture into the bowl and fold in until well combined and incorporated.
5 – Spread out evenly on a cookie sheet.
6 – Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring the mixture about every 5 minutes.
7. Let cool. Transfer to a storage container or serve!
A few notes about the ingredients in this granola recipe:
1 – Organic Raw Cane Juice Crystals: These golden beauties up your mineral intake without using processed sugars giving you sweetness AND nutrition.
2 – Organic Raw Coconut Oil: This nourishing oil is rich in good fat (lauric acid) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). It is easily metabolized and converted to energy by your body. Its naturally anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties support your immune system while providing a clean source of brain and body fuel. It’s VERY different from the rancid vegetable oils used in typical grocery story granolas.
3 – Black Sesame Seeds: These tiny dark seeds are rich in vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and fiber. They are supportive of the health of your digestive tract, bones, and heart.
Let us know what you think of the recipe in the comments below once you make it at home!