One way to get a heart-healthy breakfas is good, old-fashioned oatmeal. However, this time nutritious staple been loaded with gimmicks, preservatives, chemicals and lots of sugar. Here are some tips and suggestions on how to stay away from what is horrible, and choose what is healthy
. Fruits (berries are a good choice).
High fiber. Look for a hot breakfast cereal that has at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber keeps you feeling full. There are two types of fibers. Insoluble fiber helps with regularity, is related to a decrease in colon cancer and may help prevent diabetes. Soluble fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease. Hot grains typically have both types.
Avoid gimmicks. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. If cereal claim their box, and then follow up by saying that “This requirement has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration” so it has no reason to be true. Also avoid grains that are target towards “Weight Loss” or “women.” They are simply charging more by reaching out to a niche market.
Avoid too much sugar. Sweetened grains may taste good, but even if they claim to contain “real” fruit, you most likely are consuming sugar, not fruits. You’re better off buying plain oatmeal and add your own toppings. Try cooking some quick oats on the stove top and add the banana, walnuts and a drizzle of honey or berries with a splash of milk, or any dried apples rings (cut into quarters) with cinnamon and nutmeg. This also allows you to stretch a container of plain oats into many different flavors, and lets you control the amount of sugar you put in. If you have to eat a sweetened hot cereal, try to find one that is not more than 8 grams of sugar per serving .
Hot cereal is not only oatmeal. There are many hot grain which is fantastic for the taste and cardiovascular health (see Resources). Arrowhead’s 4 Grain Plus Flax Hot grains include cracked wheat, steel cut oats, rye and barley Grits and flaxseed. For solid texture, try their Seven Grain Hot grains, which have wheat, oats, barley, soybeans, buckwheat, corn and millet. Hodgson Mill’s oat bran Hot Cereal is also a large filling, heart-healthy breakfast with 6 grams of fiber per serving.
Tips and Warnings
Note that even when hot cereals claim to be “Low in Sugar,” they are usually filled with artificial sweeteners. Look closely at the label to see the ingredients. Artificial sweeteners can stomach problems and cause allergic reactions.
If you are not used to a lot of fiber, add it slowly to your diet to let your body adjust. Too much at once will shock the system.