oat muesli for healthy breakfast

Muesli: not only etymologically interesting

Muesli is a swiss german word.

Back in Switzerland, it was fairly common for me to eat oats in the form of a Bircher1 Muesli, mainly at lunchtime during summer months. I liked it but not to a degree where it would enter my all-time favourites, which is probably the reason it just disappeared from the menu when moving to the UK.  When recognising muesli on the supermarket shelves, I pointed out that this is one of the rare words originating from the Swiss German that made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. In fact, it’s the diminutive of the German word ‘Mus’ which means mash or puree. What makes it a Swiss Word is the ending ‘-li’, the ubiquitous and rather annoying way of making everything small in my homeland.

Health benefits of Muesli, especially oats Are Still Emerging.

Oveoats, muesli, oat, breakfastr the last few years, I have noticed my weight going up and when climbing a few flights of stairs feeling easily out of breath. Only when I diagnosed myself with prehypertension did I realise that I must do something about it. Having preached “Lifestyle changes” to others, it was now my turn. I started to go on regular cycle rides and was experimenting with new eating habits. Browsing through fitness sites, I realised how important breakfast was. The concept of ‘breaking the fast’ when my stomach was not quite awake seemed strange, but I understood that the first meal of the day is part of a healthy diet.

This was when I met Muesli for the second time in my life; I found out that fibres especially oats hold a sacred place among the Food-Gurus with evidence emerging that both soluble and insoluble fibres provide multiple health benefits. I used to think that ‘eat your fruit and vegetable’ was only to keep on top with minerals and vitamins plus some bowel benefits, but there is more to it.
The soluble version of fibre has a starchy, gel-like consistency as seen in porridge or the Swiss muesli and helps to digest carbohydrates at a more slower pace resulting in a more gradual rise in blood sugar. These foods are called ‘slow release’ and often referred to as having a low glycaemic index. Useful in optimising blood sugar control for diabetic patients, it can also prevent diabetes type 2 from developing in those who are at risk. With regards to cholesterol, there is also great news, in that oats help to reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the ‘bad’ cholesterol. Hence oats are now recommended by the British Heart Foundation.  Another benefit of soluble fibres, it keeps you fuller for longer.

With regards to insoluble fibre, this is the version you’d find in fruit skins, seeds and wholemeal products; it helps you to bulk-up your stool and be regular. There is also early evidence emerging that you are less likely to develop colon cancer with a diet rich in fibre. So when mother told us to eat our fruit and veg or when she served us a Bircher Muesli, she was right.
I have now converted to having breakfast in the form of a muesli made of oats, kefir, fresh fruit and ground flax seeds. I am feeling better for it. Whether my blood pressure or cholesterol levels will improve is yet to be seen, but my weight is on the way down.
…And I got my breath back.

Footnotes

  1. Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, M.D. (August 22, 1867 – January 24, 1939) was a Swiss physician and a pioneer nutritionist credited for popularising muesli.