Cereal – nutrition facts
Cereal comes in many varieties, such as oats, corn flakes, rice flakes, wheat flakes, etc. Each type has its own nutritional properties, but most of them contain certain similar nutrients.
Carbohydrates are the first major nutrient present in cereal. They are the main source of energy for your body. Cereal contains a considerable quantity of simple sugars that are quickly absorbed by the body. As a result, eating them leads to a rapid spike of the blood glucose level.
When choosing cereal, it is a good idea to take into account the fibre content as fibre influences digestion and the sense of satiety. Vitamins and minerals are also an important aspect. They are often enriched with various nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, iron or calcium. If they are not listed on your cereal’s list of ingredients, and you eat your cereal with a plant-based drink, make sure that the drink contains the necessary microelements and vitamins.
Also, find out which plant milk is worth buying if you are physically active.
What do you need to watch out for?
First and foremost, when you are searching for a ready-made cereal mix or all types of sweetened versions, try to avoid the ones with the following ingredients on the top of their list:
- palm oil,
- sodium phosphorus,
- calcium carbonate,
- flavour enhancers,
- raising agents or numerous emulsifying agent.
Cereal that mainly contains sugar and colouring agents should remain on the store shelf.
Cereal for breakfast – which one to choose?
First and foremost, you should choose cereal with a low glycaemic index, without any unnecessary additives. Many products available on the market contain a lot of sugar and may have a high calorie content. That is why it is so important to read the labels of ready-made products and, for example, goods described as instant.
Corn flakes are delicate in flavour and crunchy which appeals to many. You need to note, however, that not all of them are equally healthy.
When it comes to the nutritional value, cornflakes have a relatively low content of fibre compared to other cereal, such as oats or wheat flakes. Corn flakes available on the market are often enhanced with extra sugar and artificial aromas. They also have a low nutritional value. It is important that you read labels and choose options with the lowest content of sugar and the minimum quantity of artificial additives.
Oat flakes – what do you need to know about them?
Oat flakes are one of the most popular types of cereal and they have many benefits. They are rich in fibre which helps you maintain a healthy body weight and digestive system. In addition, oat flakes can be made in many ways, by adding fresh fruit, nuts or cinnamon to increase the nutritional value and enhance the flavour.
Oat flakes are also a source of carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index which means that they release energy slowly and give a feeling of satiety for longer. Oat flakes are also rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which are good for your health.
Read also: “3 ideas for an oatmeal full of flavour”.
Wholegrain cereal as a healthier alternative
If you want to look for better alternatives to traditional cereal, there are many other options which may be just as tasty and healthy.
You may want to consider wholegrain cereal, such as rye flakes, millet flakes, buckwheat flakes or quinoa flakes. They are usually richer in fibre and other nutrients compared to some traditional cereal.
Millet flakes are made of crushed millet grains. They have a distinct nutty flavour and are full of nutrients, such as fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. They get a creamy consistency during cooking. They have a low glycaemic index which means that they release energy slowly and help maintain a stable blood glucose level. They are a good option for people with coeliac disease and food intolerance because they are naturally gluten-free.
Take a look at our recipes for millet flakes for breakfast – they are the perfect alternative to oats porridge or cereal.
Buckwheat flakes are made of roasted and crushed buckwheat. They have a distinct flavour and a characteristic smell. They can be mixed with, for example, oat flakes, because they are quite sticky once they are cooked. They are rich in fibre, protein, iron and minerals, such as magnesium and manganese. They may be an option for people who are on a gluten-free diet.
It is also worth trying to experiment with all types of home-made muesli. It can be made by combining oat flakes, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and seasonings, such as cinnamon or vanilla. That way you can keep track of the ingredients and avoid additives that may otherwise be present in store-bought cereal.
Rice flakes are yet another option – they are made of processed white rice; they are delicate, easy to make and may be mixed with many extras. They contain small quantities of fats and carbohydrates. They are great when you need to eat something light, for example after stomach flu.
Is cereal good for everyone?
It is worth noting that cereal may have an influence on the hormonal balance in your body. Cereal that is rich in fibre can help you maintain a stable blood sugar level, and that in turn may influence insulin balance which regulates the blood glucose level.
Wholegrain products contain all types of phytonutrients, such as phytoestrogens. These plant-based substances may influence the hormonal balance by interacting with hormone receptors in your body. They might impact, for example, women’s health; in particular, they may reduce certain symptoms of menopause.
It needs to be highlighted that the influence of cereal on hormones is a complex issue, and the individual response of one’s body may vary. There are many factors influencing the hormonal balance, such as the composition of the entire diet, lifestyle, genetics and overall health condition. If you have any health issues or concerns regarding the hormonal balance, you should always consider consulting a doctor or dietician who will help you adapt your diet to your individual goals and needs.
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