I know, I know. If you hear one more time that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” you’re going to lose your mind. But the consensus seems to be pretty clear on this one, and you can find a lot of studies showing that people who skip breakfast:
So, really, the worst breakfast for your health is no breakfast at all. But there’s a close second, and it may come as no surprise. What is it? The fast food breakfast sandwich..a "time bomb in a bun."
This is going to be tough news to take for some of my friends who routinely hit the drive-thru on the way to work, picking up two sausage, egg & cheese muffins, some hash brown potatoes and a dark coffee. I confess, I love sandwiches, and breakfast sandwiches are definitely a guilty pleasure. But if I’ve learned anything from Jack LaLanne, it’s this: “If it tastes good, spit it out.”
Unfortunately, new research has shown quite devastatingly just how bad these morning fast food meals are for your heart. Results demonstrated that eating just one fatty meal in the morning (one of the sandwiches used during testing—a common breakfast sandwich from a common, yet unnamed fast food chain—contains 50 grams of mostly unhealthy trans fats and saturated fat and 900 calories) can have an immediate negative impact on your arteries.
Researchers came to this conclusion by measuring blood flow in study participants (healthy adults, average age of 23 years) once after the participants consumed a high-fat breakfast sandwich and once after they had fasted. The results were clear: in just two hours, those who ate the sandwich showed impaired blood flow in their forearms, meaning their blood vessels struggled to dilate properly, impacting their ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart. But, it's also important to note that not all fat is created equal, and there are lots of sources of healthy fats. Click the image below for more about these "healthy high fat foods."
3 Healthier Breakfast Ideas
While one fast food breakfast sandwich may not do any lasting harm on its own, it’s clear that over time, treating your arteries to regular high-fat meals could lead to more serious problems down the road. On the other hand, a healthy breakfast can help you maintain a healthy weight, feel better and more energized throughout the day and help fuel your brain and mental function.
- 1 banana (can be frozen)
- 1 scoop Chia Seeds
- Small handful of raw organic cashews
- Small handful of raw organic sunflower seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of raw organic coconut oil
- 3 ice Cubes
- 1 leaf of kale, finely chopped (stem removed)
- ¼ cup almond milk
You might recognize the above recipe from this post Tony wrote back in 2011 when he was challenging himself to eat raw for a full week. I joined him in that challenge but gave in midday Thursday!
The Healthy Green Smoothie
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 green apple
- 1 lime
- 1/4 cucumber
- 4 mint leaves
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup ice
Toss everything in a blender (liquids first) and blend until smooth and bright green. Recipe courtesy of JM from healthygreendrink.com.
Ok, I don’t have any recipe for this one, but it’s oatmeal... A) you can’t really screw it up, and B) you can tailor it to suit your tastes quite easily by adding different toppings and mix-ins.
Oatmeal is a high fiber breakfast that will keep you feeling full longer. It also has “slow release” carbs that won’t make your blood sugar spike. To make your oats even healthier, add some dried fruit, nuts, yogurt or ground flaxseed. Stay away from sugars, and instead add cinnamon or stevia for a little extra sweetness.
What’s your favorite breakfast food? Share your ideas and recipes in the comments below!