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Top Five Breakfast Foods

Bran Muffins

The old adage says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination in an article published in the July issue of the journal Circulation, a good, balanced breakfast may be the jumpstart you need to a healthy day. In addition, the study results show that it may help reduce coronary heart disease in middle-aged men.

Researchers followed the dietary habits of 27,000 middle-aged men between the ages of 45 – 60 and older men between the ages of 60 – 82 years of age. The study period took place over 16 years. What they found was that the men who skipped breakfast tended to be younger, more likely to work full-time, drink more alcohol, single, less active and more likely to smoke when compared to the other men. When adjusting these and other risk factors such as family history and medical check-ups, those skipping breakfast had a 27 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.

The medical results further showed that skipping breakfast could throw off the body’s metabolic process and contribute to cardiac disease. Researchers concluded that those who skip breakfast “have higher levels of fasting insulin, triglycerides, and LDL-cholesterol, in part because the body is likely reacting to the fact that there’s no new calorie source for 12 – 14 hours, which may put extra (long-term) stress on the body.”

The takeaway from the study is simple, and it applies to both men and women. A well-balanced breakfast will regulate the body’s systems after sleep. By skipping this important meal, you are essentially robbing your body of the fuel it needs after your sleeping hours, making it go into survival mode.

So what makes a good breakfast? Mix in some sources of protein, carbohydrate and fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, the top five breakfast sources include:

  1. Whole grains – Incorporate such foods as whole grain breads, muffins or bagels.
  2. Low-fat protein – Good sources are lean meat, chicken or even a hard-boiled egg.
  3. Low-fat dairy – These can come from low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.
  4. Fruits– Try a sample of raw fruit or 100 percent fruit juices. Be sure to monitor the amount of sugar that comes from these sources.
  5. Vegetables – Eat a diverse amount of vegetables to maximize health benefits. Good rule of thumb is to eat an assortment of vegetables with varying colors.