People are often wondering what cardiologists eat first thing in the morning since breakfast has been dubbed as the most important meal of the day for the longest time.
After all, they must know best what kind of food can offer us the ideal start to a day, right?
Here’s what two cardiologists had to say about the most common mistakes their patients make as well as their own best breakfast-related pieces of advice!
Dr. Andrew Freeman told TODAY.com during an interview that “Many people are in an incredible time crunch in the morning and usually reach for comfort foods like toaster pastries, processed breakfast cereals and bars that have as much sugar as some of the candy bars out there.”
Therefore, a heart-healthy breakfast that is simple to prepare and has enough variety to keep people from getting bored with the same thing over and over is essential, according to Dr. Susan Cheng.
She is aware that some people skip breakfast in the morning because they are not hungry. If this is the case for you, she says that it is acceptable.
The expert goes on to explain: “(But) for the most part, people do benefit from having something in the morning. They find that they get off to a good start and feel better, healthier, more energetic over the course of the day.”
Here’s what the specialists themselves go for in the morning!
Both physicians named oats as their go-to breakfast item. According to the American Heart Association, oatmeal has a lot of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and studies show that they help lower cholesterol and control weight.
Freeman shared that “My go-to is really oatmeal. In general, I recommend oatmeal as the best option.”
He suggests a small cup of oatmeal that is made with water rather than milk or butter, packed with lots of berries, and which contains additional heart-healthy ingredients like some walnuts or ground flax seed.
Use rolled oats rather than instant oatmeal, which has undergone the most processing.
For reducing fat intake, particularly saturated fat, Cheng enjoys overnight oats with chia seeds soaked in non-dairy milk, along with dried or frozen fruit, nuts, or seeds.
She says you can make this a few days ahead of time and store it in Mason jars with lids in the refrigerator for better planning.
Since steel cut oats, the least processed variety of oatmeal, take longer to cook but can be particularly tasty, Cheng purchases them pre-cooked and frozen at the supermarket.
Freeman recommends a slice of bread made entirely of whole grains and topped with a thin layer of avocado and some vegetables, like onions or pickles.
According to research, eating avocados can lower cholesterol, but since avocados are high in calories, it’s still best to practice moderation.
“In just one little piece of toast, you have enough calories and sustenance to make it through until lunch and you feel good,” he says.
The experts also mentioned a few foods they try their best to avoid eating in the mornings.
“The No. 1 thing that I would avoid is bacon. It is loaded with salt and a variety of other additives. … In addition to being a processed red meat and the cancer risk, there’s also obviously heart disease risk with it. So as tasty as it is, it should be avoided pretty much at all costs,” Freeman explained.
On whether or not the cholesterol in eggs, particularly in egg yolks, can increase the risk of heart disease, there is intense debate.
According to some studies, eggs may actually aid in heart protection.
Cardiologists still exercise caution when consuming them, though.
In addition to being concerned about the amount of cholesterol they contain, Freeman also cites studies that suggest eating eggs may increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Freeman suggests giving a mung bean patty a try for people who absolutely cannot give up eggs.
He describes it as being yellow, having an egg-like texture, and being “surprisingly good and decently high in protein.”
Cheng also acknowledges that eggs are very nutritious but classifies them as a food that should only be consumed occasionally. She advises consuming no more than about a dozen eggs per week for a family of four.
Because egg whites don’t contain cholesterol, the regulations are much more lax when applied to them.
Waffles or pancakes
These are typical brunch fare for Sundays, so Cheng classifies them as “OK to enjoy occasionally” because they encourage social interaction at the table.
Although whole grain pancakes and waffles are an option, she points out that they still likely contain less fiber and nutrition than a piece of fruit, for instance.
“It’s better to have just a small little serving or a taste, and then (eat) a big plate of fruit or oatmeal,” Freeman goes on to say.