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Health Benefits of Muesli

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 01, 2021

Muesli is a breakfast cereal that contains oats, seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. Compared to sugary breakfast cereals, muesli is a healthier option. Muesli is full of ingredients that can aid your digestion, help you feel fuller, and protect your heart.

Muesli may be a great food to add to a healthy diet. Read on to find out the health benefits of all the different ingredients in this breakfast food.

Importance of Eating a Healthy Breakfast

Eating breakfast can be an important part of overall good health. According to a Harvard study, men who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease than men who ate breakfast. People who don't eat breakfast were also hungrier and ate more food at night. 

Skipping breakfast has also been linked to risk factors such as: 

Several studies have found that kids who eat a healthy breakfast do better in school.

The brain-boosting benefits of breakfast may include: 

  • Improved memory
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Higher test scores
  • Better attendance
  • Improved mood
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved concentration

Health Benefits of Oats in Muesli

The main ingredient in muesli is oats. Oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan helps slow your digestion, helps you feel fuller, and decreases your appetite. Oatmeal is rich in: 

Oats, which are often whole grain, are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. 

A diet high in fiber can:

Health Benefits of Nuts in Muesli

Another one of the main ingredients in muesli is nuts.

Nuts are a good source of heart-healthy compounds including: 

  • Unsaturated fats. These "good fats" may help lower your bad cholesterol level. 
  • Fiber. As with oatmeal, nuts are high in health-promoting fiber. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fatty acids that benefit your heart by preventing irregular heart rhythms that can cause heart attacks. 
  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E may help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries. Plaque can clog your arteries and cause coronary artery disease or a heart attack. 
  • L-arginine. This substance can help improve the condition of your artery walls. It can make them more flexible and less likely to develop blood clots. 
  • Plant sterols. Plant sterols can help lower your cholesterol. 

Eating nuts can have many health benefits, including:  

  • Lower your bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Reduce types of inflammation linked to heart disease.
  • Lower your risk of developing blood clots.
  • Improve the lining of your arteries. 

Health Benefits of Seeds in Muesli

The seeds in muesli are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and minerals. Some of the healthy minerals in seeds include: 

  • Iron, which is important for your blood.
  • Magnesium, which helps with bowel and brain health as well as hydration.
  • Calcium, which is important for bone health. 
  • Phosphorus, which helps repair cells and filter waste. 

If you make your own muesli, some of the healthiest seeds to include are:  

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Hemp seeds

Drawbacks of Muesli

Muesli that contains dried fruit may have a lot of sugar. If you buy prepared muesli, it may be high in sugar — one cup of packaged muesli can have 26 grams of sugar. 

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and no more than 36 grams for men. If you choose a brand of muesli that's high in sugar, you may end up eating more than the recommended daily amount. 

Diets high in sugar have been linked to diabetes and obesity. Excess sugar may also be bad for your heart as well. High amounts of sugar can overload your liver. Your liver metabolizes sugar the same way it does alcohol and stores the carbohydrates as fat. This can cause fatty liver disease

Eating too much sugar can also raise your blood pressure and cause chronic inflammation in your body. This can raise your chances of developing heart disease. A high-sugar diet has been linked to your risk of dying from heart disease.   

A 15-year study showed that people who eat 17% to 21% of their calories from sugar had a 38% increased chance of dying from heart disease compared to people who only ate 8% of their calories in the form of sugar.  

You can avoid the dangers of excess sugar and reap the health benefits of muesli if you make it yourself with healthy ingredients and without added sugars. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "Added Sugars."

Cleveland Clinic: "The 6 Best Seeds to Eat."

Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School: "The sweet danger of sugar."

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Skipping breakfast may increase coronary heart disease risk," The Nutrition Source: "Oats."

HuffPost Australia: "The Problem With Your Morning Muesli."

International Food Information Council Foundation: "Wake up to the benefits of breakfast."

Mayo Clinic: "Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet," "Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health."

University of Rochester Medical Center: "Nutrition Facts: "Cereals ready-to-eat, MUESLI, dried fruit and nuts, 1 cup."

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