These delicious little pots make a perfect start to the day. All the preparation can be done the day before, making it a very quick and easy breakfast to put together. You could even layer it in a jar and take your breakfast with you.
I love having a jar of the granola ready made, in the cupboard, it keeps well stored in an airtight container or jar. I like the fact that it gains its sweetness from a small amount of dark chocolate and the natural sugars in the berries. A perfect summer breakfast or brunch! Make this a perfect gluten free breakfast by using gluten free oats.
This recipe formed the first part of a days menu I had to design for the module on the Heart & Circulatory System in my Diploma in Culinary Medicine. Read on, at the end, to find out why the ingredients I’ve included are heart healthy and how they can benefit the body.
I’m lucky enough to be writing this as I sit overlooking Mylor Creek, one of my favourite places in Cornwall. Instantly relaxing, the sun is shining and everyone is happy, waiting for the incoming tide so we can have some fun on the water! I hope you’re all able to enjoy a little bit of holiday time.
Makes enough for about 8 servings
1tbsp coconut oil
100g oats (gluten free if preferred)
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
50g hazelnuts nuts, roughly chopped
30g good quality 70% or 85% dark chocolate
natural live probiotic yogurt
mixed berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the oats. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium/high heat until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning!
Add the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally or until lightly toasted. Add the flaxseeds for a further minute. They may begin to pop in the heat, so reduce the temperature slightly. Remove from the pan and transfer to a bowl to cool. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and stir to coat.
Coarsely grate the chocolate and stir into the cooled oat mixture. Transfer the oat mixture to a jar to store. This will keep for up to 2 weeks.
To serve, pile some berries in the bottom of a glass, top with a couple of spoons of yogurt and sprinkle over a spoonful of the oat mixture. Repeat until you reach the top of the glass!
Coconut oil is heat stable, so great to use in cooking. It’s made from medium chain fatty acids, which are rapidly broken down for use as energy. This limits their impact on elevating the level of blood fats after a meal.
Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre which can help reduce cholesterol in the digestive tract. As the oats are digested the beta glucan forms a gel like substance which will bind to cholesterol released by the liver. It can then be removed from the body via the bowel before it has a chance to be absorbed into the blood stream.
Nuts are a rich source of selenium, which the body uses to make its own anti-oxidants. This is believed to be one of the body’s natural protection mechanisms against damage to artery walls. The benefit of this is avoiding inflammation and build up of plaque. Nuts, like olive oil, are a good source of oleic acid giving the same vasodilatory effect, aiding circulation and reducing blood pressure.
Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds
These seeds are a rich source of phytosterols. These help to reduce the amount of cholesterol taken up by the digestive tract by blocking absorption which then allows the cholesterol in the gut to be removed from the body via the bowel. Therefore, beta glucan in oats and phytosterols in sunflower seeds makes a real cholesterol busting combination.
Flaxseeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, a strong anti-inflammatory. Limiting inflammation damage within the endothelium helps minimise plaque formation in blood vessels reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Cinnamon gently stimulates the circulatory system by relaxing the muscle in the walls of blood vessels, which causes them to widen. This will allow increased blood flow to extremities as well as reducing the pressure in the blood vessels, hugely beneficial when trying to control high blood pressure.
As long as you use good quality dark chocolate anything above 70% cocoa solids then you can benefit from eating a small amount and a little can go a long way! Packed full of flavonoids, which trigger the cells lining our blood vessels to release high levels of nitric oxide, which causes the muscles in the blood vessel walls to relax. This can aid circulation, reduce blood pressure and help to keep the lining of blood vessels (endothelium) in good condition. Chocolate also contains magnesium, which also encourages the relaxation of the muscle in the wall of our blood vessels.
Blueberries, Blackberries & Strawberries
Berries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanidins, which gives them their bright colour. These compounds have been shown to cause relaxation in the blood vessels by triggering a release of nitric acid, protect against damage to the blood vessel wall and even reduce cholesterol slightly, all necessary to keep our circulation system running efficiently. Strawberries contain a unique flavonoid to protect against inflammation and heart disease.