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Granola Health Benefits

Granola Health Benefits

Natalie Stein

Lower Blood Pressure

Granola may lower your blood pressure, which is a health  benefit because hypertension increases your risk for heart disease, kidney  disease and stroke, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services. Whole grains, such as oats, may lower  your blood pressure because they are high in potassium and low in sodium,  according to the Mayo Clinic. For some extra potassium, purchase or make your  granola with dried fruit, and eat it with skim milk or yogurt and fresh fruit,  such as bananas. Read the label when you purchase granola to make sure that it  is not too high in sodium.

Prevent Anemia

A health benefit of granola is that it may reduce your  risk for iron-deficiency anemia because oats are naturally high in iron. Iron is  an essential mineral for healthy red blood cells, and children and women of  child-bearing age are at higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Each cup of  homemade granola may have more than 5 g iron, or nearly one-third of the daily  value for iron. For extra iron, choose a ready-made granola that is enriched  with iron.

Control Your Weight

Granola may help you maintain a healthy weight or lose  weight, which can reduce your risk for obesity-related chronic diseases such as  heart disease or diabetes. Oats supply dietary fiber, and a high-fiber diet may  help you control your weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Increase the fiber  content of your granola by buying a high-fiber brand, or making your own with  flax seed, nuts or dried fruit. Granola is high in sugars and calories, so only  have a small portion as part of your reduced-calorie breakfast for weight  control.

Lower Cholesterol

Granola may lower your cholesterol as part of a  high-fiber diet. Soluble fiber, which is in fruit, beans and oats, lowers bad  LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are  making your own granola, add some flax seed for extra fiber and heart-healthy  omega-three fats. Read the ingredients list before you purchase a ready-made  granola to make sure that it does not have partially hydrogenated oils. These  oils supply trans fats, which not only raise your LDL cholesterol, but also  lower your levels of good HDL cholesterol.

References

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;  Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010; January 2010
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Breakfast  Cereals
  • Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a  Healthy Diet
  • Mayo Clinic: Whole Grains: Hearty Options for a  Healthy Diet