Break the Fast for your Heart

You have heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and it could be true. For one thing, breakfast does literally ‘break the fast’ of the 8-12 hour time that you may be sleeping and aren’t eating. Secondly, breakfast is an opportunity to add important nutrients to your day such as calcium, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, and others.

A new study showed that skipping breakfast was particularly detrimental to a man’s health. Skipping meals is actually associated with weight gain and hypertension, and the study found that men who skipped the meal had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from a coronary event. While breakfast alone isn’t enough to reduce your cardiovascular, or heart disease (CVD) risk (and it will depend on your breakfast choices), it still may be a good idea to plan to incorporate a quick and easy breakfast into your morning routine.

Even though this study was flawed and poorly controlled (the study also found a relationship with eating fewer meals per day (including breakfast skipping) and lower CVD risk), I’d still recommend choosing a quick healthy breakfast each day as part of your heart-health routine. Here are some easy ideas:

  • Oatmeal. If you’re short on time, skip the instant and go with quick cooking oats. They are just as easy and much lower in sodium. Cook in the microwave in less than 2 minutes. Add some fresh blueberries or bananas, and a little maple syrup and low fat milk.
  • Whole wheat English Muffin sandwich. Cook an egg, make a sandwich. Or if you want some convenience, you can try a frozen variety, but these are really high in sodium.
  • Ready-to-eat cereal and low fat milk, and fresh fruit. Look for cereals with less than 11 grams of sugar and at least 2 grams of fiber. Measure out 1 cup.
  • Scrambled eggs with last night’s veggies mixed in, slice of toast
  • A cup of yogurt and a banana
  • A cup of yogurt with 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry cereal mixed into it.
  • Breakfast burrito. Have a make-ahead party and try these. Or simply scramble an egg, place onto small 6-inch whole wheat flour tortilla, add 2 Tablespoons of cheese, some salsa, and eat.
  • Get fancy on the weekends with this breakfast strata. Part of good health is also reducing stress. Taking the time to create a nice meal and slowing down to eat it is helpful.

 

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