Not to be a downer, but did you know that heart disease is the leading killer of adults in the United States? It's true! But did you also know that experts say that 80% of heart disease cases are preventable? One great way to fight heart disease is through your diet.
We're not talking about "going on a diet" and depriving yourself of every delicious thing and eating nothing but lettuce and carrots. Instead, focus on the things you can add to your daily routine to help fight illness and disease. To improve your heart health, start with these delicious breakfast ideas.
Whole grains have tons of fiber, which can help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels. When those bad boys decrease, your overall risk of heart disease decreases. Sounds like a vote in favor of whole grains.
Yes, you could have muesli for breakfast if that's what you like. You could also have oatmeal that tastes like apple pie, beans on whole-grain toast, buckwheat pancakes, or whole-grain waffles. Do you see a pattern here? Yes, you can eat bread and bread-like products, as long as you make sure they are made from whole grains.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables have lots of fiber, especially in their whole forms (not dried, juiced, or peeled). They also tend to have a lot of vitamins C and A, which are antioxidants and can actually lower the amount of built-up plaque in your arteries. So load them up!
Although a bowl of fresh fruit looks appealing to most people, you don't have to skip breakfast fruit if you don't have anything fresh. Canned and frozen fruit is just as good for you as the fresh stuff. Add berries or stone fruit to yogurt, spread nut butter on a banana, or just eat a bowl of fruit with chia or flax sprinkled on top. If you have a blender, why not make a smoothie?
As for veggies, yes, you can (and should) have veggies for breakfast. How about an egg-white omelet loaded with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers? You could also stir a bit of pureed squash or sweet potato into your oatmeal or spread it on whole-grain toast.
Although some people love dairy and some hate it, it can have its place in a heart-healthy breakfast. Although full-fat dairy may cause hypertension and high cholesterol in some people, reduced-fat dairy products lessen that risk because they contain less of the stuff. Makes sense, right?
If you tolerate and enjoy dairy products, switching to lower-fat options can help you limit the amount of saturated fat you consume every day. An excellent way to incorporate dairy (or non-dairy alternatives) into your heart-healthy breakfast is by topping yogurt with fruit. You could also add some reduced-fat cheese to that veggie omelet.
What To Skip
If you focus on filling your plate with heart-healthy plant foods, you don't have to worry too much about what you're leaving out. However, two things that are worth mentioning are sodium and saturated fats.
Although your body needs sodium, too much is definitely not good. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which, as you know, puts you at higher risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Saturated fats raise your "bad" cholesterol and...wait for it...your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Your body, and specifically your brain, needs fat to work properly. However, you're probably not in any danger of getting too little fat in your diet, so leaving it out of your heart-healthy breakfast should be perfectly safe.
So there you have it: a bunch of ideas for making delicious, not-boring, heart-healthy breakfasts. That should get you through the week. Which one will you start with?