It is said of him that the diet he had developed, based on raw foods, fruits and vegetables, was designed primarily to cure himself and his jaundice. This diet was then also adopted in his clinic in Switzerland, where very famous people of the time, such as Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Tsar Nicholas II, went to be cured. We are talking about Maximilian Bircher Benner, perhaps a not very well known name, but his breakfast recipe, muesli, is certainly better known. Bircher Benner was looking for a meal to give to his patients that could give energy and at the same time was digestible and tasty. And here was born a special blend of oat flakes, milk, grated apple, lemon juice and almonds, the muesli! And science has proven Dr. Bircher Benner right, since the ingredients he selected are truly a concentrate of beneficial substances, ideal for starting the day in the best possible way. Let's try to deepen the properties of muesli and to see how to make it at home, according to the original recipe of Dr. Bircher Benner.
Having breakfast with muesli, properties and benefits
The basic ingredient of muesli should be, according to Dr. Bircher Benner, apple. After all, how can you blame him? Apples contain polyphenols with an anti-inflammatory action and support the health of the intestinal microbiota thanks to their contribution of pectin, considered a prebiotic substance (Garcia Mazcorro et al, PLoS One, 2019). Not only that, apples help fight overweight and obesity, are antioxidants and, thanks to quercetin, support the immune system (Boyer et al, Nutr J, 2004). Another ingredient that should not be missing in a healthy and balanced breakfast is oats. In fact, oats contain beta glucans, a type of fiber capable of keeping postprandial blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control (Granfeldt et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2008 - Connolly et al, Front Microbiol, 2016). Not only that, beta glucans also stimulate the immune system and the production of natural killer cells, responsible for the recognition and elimination of viruses and tumors (Akramiene et al, Medicine, 2007). Don't forget the dried fruit. In the original recipe, Bircher Benner uses almonds. Almonds are a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, capable of controlling cholesterol, but also of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, of fiber, which help you feel full for longer, of mineral salts such as selenium, magnesium, copper and potassium (Lee Bravatti et al, Adv Nutr, 2019). Not only that, studies have also observed that almonds are able to protect and improve memory (Batool et al, Brain Res Bull, 2016). Finally, lemon juice provides antioxidants, helps slow down the absorption of starches, thus keeping blood sugar under control, and is a source of vitamin C (Freitas et al, Eur J Nutr, 2021).
And here's the real muesli recipe
So let's see the muesli recipe, the original one developed by Dr. Bircher Benner. The night before, pour a tablespoon of oat flakes into a small bowl, preferably whole. Add three tablespoons of water, mix and let it sit. The next day, add a grated apple to the oats, with the peel, pour a little lemon juice. Combine a tablespoon of coarsely ground almonds. Enjoy muesli with yogurt, for example Greek or vegetable yogurt, or with milk, almond milk is also excellent. To the original recipe you can also add a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds, a precious source of omega 3 fatty acids and fiber (Parikh et al, Nutrients, 2019), a tablespoon of raisins, which give the sweet note and are characterized by antioxidant and antibacterial properties, also useful to protect oral health from the onset of caries, and by a cardioprotective and neuroprotective action, and why not, even a little fresh berries, when it is in season, or frozen and thawed, a real source of anti-aging and anticancer substances (Paredes Lopez et al, Plant Foods Hum Nutr, 2010)