Muesli is a type of food prepared of raw rolled oats and other ingredients including grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts, which are soaked in milk, soy milk, yogurt or fruit juice.
Inventor of muesli is Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner who, in 1900, started preparing this dish for patients in his hospital, inspired by a meal he and his wife had been served when they were hiking in the Swiss Alps. He soaked muesli overnight with water and lemon juice, and then served it with yoghurt in the morning as breakfast. He used diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables an important part of therapy and this type of meal fitted his intentions. He called this meal "d'Spys" (which in Swiss German basically means “the meal”). It later became more famous as known as “Birchermüesli” in Swiss German or just as “Müesli”. This term comes from Alemannic (which is a dialect of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family) diminutive of “Mues” which means "puree" or "mash-up." There had to pass some time before muesli became popular elsewhere. It became popular in the Western countries in 1960s when people became more interested in health food and vegetarian diets.
The original Bircher-Benner recipe had much more fruits than grains and as such is very different compared to the muesli that can be bought today. One serving of this original muesli had 1 tablespoon rolled oats, soaked in 2 – 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon cream, 200 grams of finely grated apple, and 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts or almonds.
Today, muesli can be obtained packaged and fresh. Packaged muesli has rolled oats or cornflakes mixed with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, sometimes with addition of honey, spices, or chocolate. This type of muesli can last longer and is prepared by soaking in milk, yogurt, hot chocolate, fruit juice, or water. Fresh muesli has the same rolled oats or whole grain oats but it is prepared with fresh fruit like bananas, apples, and berries and again mixed with milk, water and similar liquids like packaged muesli.
Muesli are considered health food because of many health benefits that body can get from them. Muesli have less sugar and calories than many of standard breakfast cereals that can be found today (and some of them can have over 50% sugar in them). Muesli have large amounts of dietary fiber which help digestion, and regulate appetite because they are filling. This prevents overeating and gaining too much weight. Fiber also slow down the absorption of sugar which regulates blood-sugar levels and lowers chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Antioxidants are also present in large quantities in muesli. They destroy free radicals and lower the risk of cancers like ovarian cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Muesli has manganese and doesn’t have many saturated fats which makes it healthy food for heart. Calories collected in the morning from eating muesli last longer and give more energy during the longer period of time. This also prevents weight gain because it lowers the needed intake of food. Muesli often have oats which help lower high blood cholesterol concentration and lower the risk of arteriosclerosis. Calcium gives strength to teeth and bones and is present in muesli especially if it is prepared with milk. When buying muesli avoid those that in their ingredients have too much dried fruit (they have too much sugar), any type of sugar (like sucrose, fructose, xylitol, maltodextrin, molasses or syrup), oils, salt, or any types of preservatives. Be careful with peanuts because they can cause allergies.