By MH Staff - Posted on 17th January 2014
Still starting your morning with that boring bowl of cereal? Wake up to fresh ideas on ways to fuel your day.
If you believe that ordering an egg-white omelette is a sign of nutritional virtue, your thinking is definitely scrambled. Emerging science shows that eating whole eggs actually reduces your risk factors for heart disease. A 2012 University of Connecticut study had volunteers eat either three whole eggs a day or the equivalent amount in yolk-free egg substitute for three months while following a diet with a moderate number of carbs. Both groups showed drops in triglycerides and oxidised LDL (bad) cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease. What’s more, those eating the whole eggs saw a bigger boost in their HDL, which helps lower cholesterol. “Egg yolks seem to increase the amount of cholesterol delivered to the liver for removal from the body,” says study author Dr Maria Luz Fernandez. Besides, yolks are loaded with vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and choline. And the extra protein will silence your hunger. A study in Nutrition Research found that men who ate an egg-based breakfast consumed far fewer kilojoules when offered an unlimited lunch buffet, compared with men who ate a bread-based breakfast of equal kilojoules. TRY THIS: Don’t save eggs for your leisurely weekend brunch. “Men can reap a range of health benefits by consuming one to three eggs a day,” says Alan Aragon, a nutrition advisor. An egg is high in protein, vitamin B12, and biotin and can be a source of vitamin D, vitamin B2, choline, selenium, iodine, lutein and zeaxanthin, notes Megan Pentz-Kluyts registered dietician. “It is also said that the vitamin D content of eggs may help to support general health in overweight people since vitamin D levels are known to be low in this group, leading to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.”
Hemp, chia and flaxseed may sound boring but they pack a potent array of benefits – and breakfast is the ideal time to work them into your diet. Since they’re mild tasting and slightly crunchy, they can slip unobtrusively into a range of morning meals. “A daily tablespoon or two of flaxseed, chia seeds or hemp seeds is an easy way to boost your intake of heart-healthy nutrients,” says Aragon. Choose chia or ground flaxseed for an extra dose of dietary fibre. (Bonus: flaxseed also contains lignans, a class of disease-fighting antioxidants.) Or try hemp seeds, among the few plant-based sources of complete protein. TRY THIS: Stir 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed, chia seeds or hemp seeds into a bowl of oats or yoghurt, or blend a serving into a smoothie.
Still think a low-fat breakfast is a healthy one? In a new, five-year observational study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Spanish researchers found that a Mediterranean diet including extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke by 30%, compared with a control group that followed a traditional low-fat diet. “The olive oil and nuts supply polyphenols and vitamins that fight inflammation,” says study author Dr Miguel Angel Martínez-González, professor in the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra in Spain. TRY THIS: Start your day on the Mediterranean diet with some tree nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts as part of your breakfast. Try a bowl of oats or oat bran topped with fruit and chopped walnuts, milk and a drizzle of honey. Or a bowl of low GI muesli, topped with yoghurt, seasonal fresh fruit and a handful of mixed tree nuts. If you have time, scramble eggs with salmon and your choice of chopped fresh herbs on a toasted ciabatta topped off with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Not all grains are created equal. Take a cue from the Scandinavians and make foods rich in rye a part of your breakfast arsenal. Rye crisps on average have double the amount of fibre as wholewheat bread but often have fewer kilojoules. TRY THIS: Layer crisps or crackers, like Wasa or Finn Crisps with protein-rich toppings.
You probably already know that sugary cereal and a tall glass of juice aren’t your best choices to start the morning. But even healthy carbs are better later in the day. In a groundbreaking study, Israeli researchers assigned adults to follow either a diet that provided most of their carbohydrates at dinner or a diet with carbs spread throughout the day, including at breakfast. After six months, the late-day-carb group lost more weight and improved their cholesterol levels, blood sugar and inflammation levels – all good news for your heart. “Most men should shoot for at least a two-to-one carb-to-protein ratio at breakfast,” measured in grams, says Brian Zehetner, chief science officer for Anytime Fitness. TRY THIS: Replace your morning bowl of oats with a bowl of Greek-style yoghurt. Plain yoghurt is an ideal way to get your breakfast protein fix with few tag-a-long carbohydrate kilojoules. Top your yoghurt with fresh fruit, nuts, nut butters and spices rather than relying on sugar-packed, sickly sweet fruit- flavoured varieties.