Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Barbara's Bakery Ultima Organic Flax & Granola Cereal

My summertime breakfast favorite is yogurt, berries, cereal and milk all mixed together. I blogged previously about my fave yogurt and another cereal. Here's a newer one for me that I just ate this morning and think is worth sharing: Barbara's Bakery Ultima Organic Flax & Granola cereal.

First, why it tastes good. The flakes remind me of Post's Grape Nut Flakes; a light, nutty flavor and not overly crunchy. Then there are surprise pieces of granola clusters. I admit, I try to fish out the clusters and eat them while preparing my mixed bowl. Cereals that mix granola with a flake or other whole grain is a great idea. You still get the great taste of granola, but not all the fat and calories that you would get from a full bowl of granola alone.

Now the health benefits.
. Flax is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's, usually found in fish, can reduce inflammation in your body that leads to all sorts of nastiness like heart disease. Omega-3s come packaged as DHA and EPA, which are found in fish oils. They are also found as ALA, which is found in flax, walnuts, soybeans and canola. Omega-3 supplements are typically recommended to help lower blood triglyceride levels. Barbara's Bakery cereal claims to have 500mg of omega-3s per 1 cup serving.

Even better than popping yet another pill, eat your omega-3s in the form of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, light tuna), walnuts, or flax like that found in Barbara's cereal! You reap the most benefits from flax seeds when they are ground up. They can be sprinkled on yogurt, in smoothies, cereal, or even mixed with bread crumbs as a topping on chicken or fish.

Other great benefits per 1 cup serving of this cereal: 5g dietary fiber, only 9g sugar (anything less than 10g per serving is best), 5g protein, 3g fat (most of which is heart-healthy fat from the omega-3s), 210 calories. The calories may sound steep compared to lighter cereals such as Special K; however, you must always dig deeper than the calories. Ask yourself, what makes up the calories in this serving of cereal? If it is mostly refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, it would not be a wise choice. But if it is made of flax, whole wheat, rolled oats, and canola oil plus has over 4g of fiber per serving, this is definitely a worthwhile 210 calories. Cereals like Special K may have only ~110 calories per serving, but if you read the label, you won't find any of these healthy ingredients in Special K.

The cereal is also organic, contains whole grains, has no hydrogenated oils or trans fat, no cholesterol, and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. So dig in and get your brain fueled for the day!

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