Muesli is a mix of cereal flakes, such as oat, spelt, amaranth or barley, dry fruit, especially raisins but also apples, dried berries and bananas, and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts. Muesli is eaten for breakfast or as a snack added to yogurt or milk.
Because of its composition, muesli is an energy food, rich in fiber but also vitamins and mineral salts. In addition to this, scientific studies indicate that the consumption of muesli, especially when it contains wholegrain rolled oats, is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes (Quatela et al, Nutr Res, Mar 2018). Wholegrain oat is also a source of substances called beta glucans, a type of soluble fiber that is also contained in barley. Beta glucans result able to help keep at bay blood sugar levels, thus having beneficial effects in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, can reduce cholesterol but also fight overweight and obesity (Khoury et al, J Nutr Metab, 2011). Not only that, a diet rich in cereals containing beta glucans is also effective to protect against what is called metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Finally, beta glucans are considered able to stimulate the proper functioning of the immune system against infections and tumors. When choosing your muesli, a good indication is to be sure that it contains whole grains, in fact, this type of cereal provides powerful antioxidants, that are substances that can fight free radical damages and aging processes. In particular, according to a research (Miller et al, J Am Coll Nutr, Jun 2000), 40 grams of whole grain cereals for breakfast were able to provide the same amount of antioxidants as 80 grams of fruit and a higher quantity of antioxidants than 80 grams of vegetables (the study compares average values by taking into consideration different types of fruit and vegetables). Muesli, thanks to nuts and seeds, is also a source of phytoestrogens (Kuhlne et al, Nutr Cancer, 2009), substances with an antioxidant action, able to protect the cardiovascular system and to play a role in preventing hormone-dependent tumors, such as those of the breast (Desmwati et al, Open Access Maced J Med Sci, Feb 2019).
Muesli, how to choose it and recipes
When it comes to choosing muesli, look for a type that does not contain sugar or syrups that would otherwise make the product not so light. A good muesli contains whole grains and, thanks to the considerations of the previous paragraph, it is better to choose a muesli that contains, among other cereals, rolled oats. Alternatively, you can prepare by yourself an excellent mixture of cereals and fruit for breakfast. Mix half a tablespoon of wholegrain rolled oats and half a tablespoon of whole barley flakes, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds and one of sunflower seeds, complete with a teaspoon of raisins. You can add a pinch of cinnamon powder and cocoa powder. Finally, to guarantee the important omega 3 fatty acids for the heart, grind a tablespoon of flaxseed in a coffee grinder and add to the mixture. Add this delicious beauty to soy yogurt and enjoy your breakfast! And what about an extra healthy note? Try chia seeds, with an anti-cholesterol action, useful against hypertension, full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances (Ullah et al, J Food Sci Technol. Apr 2016). The evening before, pour a teaspoon of chia seeds into a coffee cup, add a little water until the middle of the cup and mix with the spoon. Let it rest all the night. The next morning the chia seeds will have formed a gel that can be added to the yogurt.