Granola: A Timeless Health Food That Endures in Popularity

In 1863, Dr. James Caleb Jackson invented granula in Dansville, New York at the Jackson Sanitarium. The Jackson Sanitarium, a health spa on a hillside overlooking Dansville that operated until the early 20th Century, was an important facility. The company that sold Jackson’s cereal, Our Home Granula Company, was formed in order to sell the product. Granula is made of Graham flour, and it’s similar to a large version of Grape-Nuts.
Granula and Granola, both trademarks registered in the United States in the late nineteenth century, were used to describe foods that consisted of whole grain products that had been crumbled, then baked until crispy. This is in contrast to muesli which was invented in about 1900 and traditionally has not been baked or sweetened. It is a trademark in Australia and New Zealand only, but it is also known as muesli. Sanitarium Health Food Company, owned by Australian Health & Nutrition Association Ltd. in Australia, and Australasian Conference Association Limited (New Zealand) owns the trademark.

Granola, a popular snack and breakfast food around the globe, is made of rolled-oats, honey, and sometimes even puffed rice. It is baked until it becomes crisp. The mixture is constantly stirred during the baking process to keep it loose and cereal-like. Sometimes, dried fruits such as dates and raisins are added.

Granola can be eaten as a snack or breakfast, but it’s also a popular food when hiking, camping, and backpacking. It is easy to store, lightweight, and high in calories. These properties are similar to those of trail mix and muesli. It is usually combined into bars. Granola can be eaten with yogurt, honey and fruit (such bananas, strawberries and/or blueberries), as well as milk and/or cereal. You can use it as a topping on a variety of desserts and pastries. Granola is used for digestion, especially recipes with flaxseeds.

Willie Pelzer, a German immigrant, moved to Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, in 1951 to work sugar beet farms. He began experimenting after noticing that rolled oatmeal was not used in a variety of ways. Pelzer eventually came up with the idea of granola, and in the 1970s he started his family business Sunny Crunch Foods Ltd. Pelzer, as CEO and president, was responsible for the company’s granola products. These included granola bars, fibres, meal replacements and health foods. Sunny Crunch Foods Ltd. has grown to be one of Canada’s leading health food manufacturers. Pelzer is known today as the creator of “crunch cereal.”

John Harvey Kellogg also developed a similar cereal. Granula was the original name, but it was changed to Granola in order to avoid legal issues with Jackson.

In the 1960s the food was revived and the name changed. Fruits and nuts were then added to the food to make it more healthful and popular among the hippies. Many people claimed to have revived granola or re-invented it at the time. Layton Gentry was a major promoter, who Time referred to as “Johnny Granola Seed”. Gentry sold Sovex Natural Foods the rights to his oat-based granola recipe, which he claimed he had invented, for $3,000 in 1964. The Hurlinger family founded the company in Holly, Michigan in 1953 with the primary purpose of producing “Sovex”, a concentrated paste made of brewers’ yeast and soya sauce. John Goodbrad had bought the company in 1964 and relocated it to Collegedale, Tennessee. Gentry purchased the rights west of the Rockies in 1967 for $1,500. He then sold the rights on the west coast to Wayne Schlotthauer, of Lassen Foods, Chico, California for $18,000. Lassen Foods was started by Schlotthauer’s father-in law, who ran a health food store. Hurlingers and Goodbrads were Adventists. It is possible that Gentry, a former Adventist, was familiar with earlier granola.

Heartland Natural Cereal was the first commercially available granola introduced in 1972 by an executive of Pet Milk (later Pet Incorporated), a St. Louis-based company. Quaker launched Quaker 100% Natural Granola almost at the same time. In less than a year Kellogg’s introduced “Country Morning”, and General Mills introduced “Nature Valley”.

Sovex was purchased by McKee Baking, later McKee Foods, in 1974. In 1998, it also purchased the Heartland Brand and relocated its manufacturing to Collegedale. In 2004, the name of Sovex was changed to Blue Planet Foods.

As a snack “granola bars” are becoming more popular, they are similar to the flapjacks (oat bars) and muesli bars that have been familiar for centuries in Commonwealth countries. Granola bars are made by pressing and baking granola into a bar form. This produces a convenient snack. Most popular are the United States, Canada, Brazil, Israel and South Africa. Granola’s market has recently expanded into India and other Southeast Asian countries.

Nutritional value of Granola

Granola’s long list of health advantages is due to the high content of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. These include, but are not limited to: dietary fibers; sodium, potassium; zinc, phosphorus; magnesium and calcium.

Health Benefits of Granola


Granola is a great digestive aid. Granola is often consumed by those who are looking to increase their fiber intake, as it contains both soluble fibre and insoluble fiber. Dietary fibre is an important part of any diet because it helps regulate digestion. It makes bowel movements more solid, allowing them to move easier along the digestive system. It stimulates peristaltic movement, when the smooth muscle in the intestines contract. This moves food along faster, and also releases digestive juices. Fiber soluble is great for relieving constipation symptoms, which can cause a variety of health problems, such as colorectal carcinoma, indigestion and heartburn. Insoluble fibers can reduce diarrhea and harden loose stools. Fiber can also improve heart health, by literally cleaning the arteries of harmful LDL cholesterol and omega-6 fatty acid that can cause heart conditions such as atherosclerosis.

Weight Loss:

Granola can be a great food to eat because it’s light, but still filling. It also gives your body a healthy boost in many ways. It contains very little sodium and cholesterol, which are both factors in chronic obesity. Granola’s fiber makes you feel full because it absorbs and bulks up the food. It reduces hunger and the hormone ghrelin that causes the body to feel hungry. This can prevent overeating which is common in obese people and those who are on diets that leave them feeling hungry at odd times.

Reduce Cholesterol :

Granola contains soluble fiber, which is known to help reduce LDL cholesterol. It also promotes the growth of good cholesterol (yes it exists!) The body is covered in soluble fiber. You can prevent plaque from forming in your veins and arteries by reducing the harmful cholesterol. Plaque can increase blood pressure, putting strain on your cardiovascular system. However, be sure to purchase granolas that are not enriched with hydrogenated oil, since they can reduce the positive cholesterol levels and increase the negative cholesterol levels, negating the benefits of dietary fiber. Nuts like walnuts and almonds are often included in granola preparations. These nuts are rich sources of omega-3 fats (also called good cholesterol or HDL).

Boost Energy

Many outdoor hikers, campers and other travelers take granola with them on their trips because it’s a concentrated source of energy that will give you an extra boost at the time you need it. Manganese is the most important mineral in your body, but it’s not talked about much. It helps to keep you energized and prevents you from feeling sluggish and crashing. Manganese is essential for the metabolism, liver and kidneys. It stimulates tissues and ensures that resources are distributed properly throughout the body. A healthy metabolism means your body is functioning efficiently and that you can account for your energy requirements.

Cancer Prevention:

Granola is low in vitamin-C. This natural antioxidant boosts your immune system and stimulates white blood cells. It can also prevent cancer from spreading or forming. Researchers are now focusing their attention on the role of manganese as a preventative measure against cancer. Granola’s high manganese level has been shown to possess significant antioxidant properties. Antioxidants, which are compounds with beneficial properties, seek out free radicals. These by-products from cellular metabolism can cause cancerous cells to mutate by altering the DNA structure. You can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and other harmful conditions by reducing free radicals.

Prevention and Treatment of Anemia:

Anemia affects millions around the globe, yet many don’t know they have it. It is caused by a lack of iron, an important component of red blood cell production. Anemia may cause excessive fatigue, headaches and cognitive dysfunctions. It can also lead to depression and intestinal disorders. Granola contains a lot of iron and can help to counteract many anemia symptoms. Granola can be enriched even more with iron than granola made from scratch.
It is easy to make at home

Cognitive Activity

Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal, because it helps keep your brain active throughout the day. Granola is a great addition to this, as it lowers blood pressure. Granola is a vasodilator because it contains potassium and sodium in low amounts. As blood pressure drops, veins loosen, stress is relieved, and blood and oxygen can flow more freely. The increased blood flow to the brain and oxygen can improve cognitive function, increase nervous response speed and form neural pathways. It is for this reason that bananas, with their high potassium content, are called “brain foods”.

Granola can reduce blood pressure, which is good for heart health. It also helps to prevent atherosclerosis and strokes. Fresh fruit is a great way to boost the potassium in granola. It’s a tasty and popular combination that can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.

Vitamin-E content:

Granola, or alpha-tocopherol as it is also called, is a great source of vitamin E. A single serving of granola can supply you with nearly 20% of your daily requirements! Vitamin-E has a variety of effects on the body, such as protecting skin against wrinkles and premature aging, strengthening capillary walls, improving heart health, increasing blood flow to the extremities to keep hair follicles intact, and protecting your skin from sunburn. It can reduce sunburn pain and inflammation! Granola is a good breakfast choice because of the high amount of vitamin E!

Manganese Content:

Manganese is a mineral that has a high concentration in granola. Its effects on the body can be quite dramatic. Manganese can be used to manage diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels in the body and stimulating or inhibiting insulin release. It can help diabetics by regulating blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of dangerous spikes and falls.

Manganese is also a cofactor in the production energy from food. Manganese is also a key component in the production and regulation of sex hormones, and the speed at which wounds heal. It’s also used to produce blood-clotting factor to accelerate wound healing.

Granola Warning:

Granola is a powerful food that can cause harm to the body if consumed in excess. Granola is essentially carbohydrates cooked in fat. This can create chemical molecules that your body cannot digest. Granola is a mixture of different chemicals depending on how it’s prepared. The puffed-rice that is commonly included in granolas has very little nutritional value, but it does serve as a filler. Avoid this negative effect by choosing varieties without puffed-rice. Inulin, a polysaccharide made up of indigestible fruitans, can be difficult for the body to digest. It may cause some bloating and flatulence at first, but then digestion will improve dramatically.