Granola secretly powers your brain, body and taste buds!
Did you know that granola was invented by doctors 150 years ago?
This is real.
In 1863, Dr. James Caleb Jackson of a well-known health spa in upstate New York used roasted whole wheat flour to make grains and named them “granules.”
More than a decade later, another doctor, John Harvey Kellogg (John Harvey Kellogg) developed a similar grain. When Kellogg also called his cereal recipe pellets, Jackson sued. Therefore, Kellogg switched “u” to “o”, and it was all right!
The origin of granola will always be associated with health.
Granola reappeared in the 1960s, in its more modern iterative form of toasted oats, nuts and dried fruits. However, as large manufacturers began to formulate granola, they began to add a lot of sugar and additives, which seriously damaged the natural and healthy quality of granola.
Today, the secret to tasting delicious granola that enhances brain and body health is to make it yourself.
How to make healthy granola
Healthy granola starts with the right ingredients. This means using complete nutrient-dense grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, healthy oils and spices, and unrefined sweeteners.
The basic ingredients of granola include:
- One or more whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- dried fruit
- Natural sweeteners
Let’s take a look at the most nutritious and delicious selection of ingredients.
There are many whole-grain cereals available for your granola, but there are many reasons why oatmeal dominates.
First, they have an excellent texture when baked.
Second, they are a treasure trove of gluten-free multiple nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Oatmeal is rich in complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber, ideal for breakfast or fast food.
Oats are rich in minerals and are an important source of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and folic acid. Oats also contain a series of B vitamins and antioxidants.
Eating oatmeal helps promote healthy blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
No wonder they are the first choice for cereals!
Other whole grains, such as Spelt, rye wheat, barley or quinoa, or mixing them with oats, are also good for your brain and body.
Nuts and seeds
The nuts and seeds you add to granola can effectively enhance brain health because they are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber and antioxidants.
Make sure to choose organic and unsalted nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts are all important additives in granola.
In supporting brain health, walnuts are extraordinary. They have a high concentration of DHA (an Omega-3 fatty acid). Some studies have shown that DHA can enhance the cognitive ability of the brain and help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Seeds add more complexity to your granola while providing a nutritious punch.
The seeds are full of many of the same nutrients found in nuts…healthy fats, protein, fiber and antioxidants. Pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are wonderful additions to any granola recipe.
Dried fruits add a delicious sweetness to the granola, making it complete.
Raisins, coconut flakes, date flakes, dried apricots and dried apples are very popular. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Unsweetened dried berries are full of antioxidants that protect the brain. The sour or full-bodied type of dried fruit adds a nice flavor to offset the sweetness. Consider dried cranberries or dried cherries.
No matter which kind of dried fruit you decide to use, remember to choose organic food as much as possible, and no added sugar. In the case of cranberries, you can find that they are concentrated in apple juice.
Most granola recipes call for sweeteners. Avoid eating refined white or brown sugar because they have very little nutrients and increase blood sugar levels.
Unrefined sugars are usually low in the glycemic index range, which means they will not raise your blood sugar like eating sugar. Instead, try using maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, unmolasses molasses, brown rice syrup or date sugar.
These unrefined sweeteners have nutritional value, antioxidants and minerals. If you have blood sugar issues or follow a low-sugar diet (such as a keto diet), then maple-flavored monk fruit is a good choice.
Coconut oil is a plant-based saturated fat that is believed to have many healthy properties and has brain-enhancing functions. It also maintains its integrity at high temperatures, making it ideal for baking granola.
Other healthy oils that work well in granola include olive oil, walnut oil or avocado oil.
Vanilla, cinnamon, all spices and cocoa are good for health. For example, cinnamon is related to improving memory and healthy blood sugar levels in the human body.
Cocoa flavanols can enhance the cognitive ability of the brain. They also make granola incredibly delicious.
Although not a spice, dark chocolate (made with low-sugar or unrefined sweeteners) can make granola particularly delicious, while also promoting brain health.
Ready to create
Now that you have the basic healthy ingredients, you can prepare your own granola.
Try the following recipe and change the ingredients as needed. If you store most homemade granola in an airtight container, it will last for two weeks. If you want to mass produce, you can also freeze the granola for later use.
Homemade healthy granola recipe
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1½ cups (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
- ½ cup of seeds (sunflower and chia seeds)
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup of coconut oil melted
- ⅓ cup of dried cranberries (apple juice with sugar) or dried cherries (no sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, salt, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Sprinkle evenly on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let stand for about 30 minutes until it cools. Add dried fruits and cut them into dough.
- Eat and/or store.
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Includes simple tips + recipes for making healthy granola at home! First appeared on BrainMD Health Blog.