Low-cholesterol breakfast: What you need to know
Some studies show people who skip breakfast may have increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) for a short time. In addition, eating a healthy breakfast in the morning provides energy and a feeling of being full, which may help prevent snacking later in the day.
This is according to a 2020 review looking at how skipping breakfast alters the body’s composition.
Healthy breakfast foods, such as oatmeal, whole grain English muffin sandwiches, or smoothies comprising yogurt and fruit, are rich in nutrients and high in fiber.
Keep reading to learn about healthy breakfast choices that are low in cholesterol and other lifestyle changes that may also help lower this substance.
Healthy breakfast foods
According to the American Heart Association, certain fats, such as saturated and trans fats, can potentially raise LDL cholesterol levels. Sources of these fats include red meat, full fat dairy products, stick margarine, butter, and many processed foods.
The best way to lower LDL cholesterol through diet involves reducing the consumption of saturated fats.
The AHA suggest a maximum saturated fat intake of 6% of all calorie intake during the day. Therefore, if a person consumes 2,000 calories per day, the recommendation is that they aim to consume 11–13 grams of saturated fat.
To avoid saturated and trans fat foods at breakfast, a person may wish to limit items such as sausage, bacon, ham, and fast food breakfast sandwiches.
A healthy, LDL-lowering eating plan focuses on high fiber and nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and low fat dairy products.
Low-cholesterol breakfast options
By combining various low-cholesterol foods, a person can create nutritious breakfasts. The AHA offer the following nutrition suggestions:
Oatmeal: Mix oatmeal with frozen fruit, fresh berries, cinnamon, or walnuts.
Homemade muffins: By baking muffins at home, a person can help make sure they contain only healthy ingredients, such as whole grain flour, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Smoothies: To make a healthy smoothie, a person can blend low fat milk, Greek or regular yogurt, frozen fruit, or nut butter. Options can include vegetables, or fresh herbs, such as mint.
Whole grain breakfast sandwiches: After toasting a whole grain English muffin or waffle, cut it in half and top with a choice of low fat cottage cheese, sliced fruit, or nut butter to create a sandwich.
Yogurt parfaits: Layer low fat yogurt with frozen fruit or a sliced banana and include layers of rolled oats, flaxseeds, or nuts.
Hard-boiled egg toast: After boiling an egg, slice on onto a piece of whole grain toast. Healthy additions can include slices of tomato and avocado, herbs, and spices.
A cup of green tea can be a suitable healthy beverage to drink with breakfast. A 2018 study found that tea may slow the decline of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol that comes with aging.
People who prefer coffee may wish to choose a brewing method that uses a paper filter, as the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee state unfiltered coffee may raise cholesterol levels.
What is cholesterol?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver produces. It has a variety of health functions, such as digesting fatty foods.
However, when cholesterol levels are high, fatty deposits build up in the arteries and may obstruct blood flow, potentially leading to a heart attack, stroke, or other serious medical conditions.
Cholesterol circulates through the blood on lipoproteins. The CDC describe the two types of lipoproteins as:
LDL: Another term for LDL is “bad” cholesterol because high levels can cause fatty buildup in the arteries.
HDL: Another term for HDL is “good cholesterol,” as it absorbs LDL cholesterol, transporting it to the liver. High HDL levels may reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Dietary sources of cholesterol include:
– egg yolks
– whole fat dairy products
Other ways to lower cholesterol
Besides making healthy food choices, a person may lower cholesterol with other lifestyle changes and medication.
The CDC list the following lifestyle practices to lower cholesterol:
– Eat a heart-healthy diet: In addition to nutrient-dense plant foods, a healthy diet includes poultry, fish, and non-tropical oils such as olive oil. People may also wish to avoid foods high in sugar and salt.
– Get regular exercise: A person may wish to take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. People can incorporate physical activity into their daily routine in many ways, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
– Aim for a healthy weight: Obesity and excess weight are conditions that may increase levels of LDL cholesterol, with the CDC recommending a body mass index between 18.5–24.9.
– Limit alcohol intake: Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol may raise cholesterol levels. The CDC recommend males consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per day while females do not exceed more than one alcoholic beverage. This online tool may be useful to calculate the calories in various alcoholic drinks.
– Quit smoking: Smoking worsens the hardening of the arteries. Therefore, quitting reduces the risk of heart disease.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute report that some medications can treat high cholesterol levels, including:
– Statins: These are the most commonly used drugs to treat the condition.
– Bile acid sequestrants: This medication is an option for people who cannot tolerate statins.
– Cholesterol medication: If a person has familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic condition involving high cholesterol levels, a doctor may recommend these medicines to lower cholesterol, including ezetimibe, lomitapide, or mipomersen.
– PCSK9 inhibitors: Another type of medication that reduces cholesterol. A person undergoes injections for these drugs every 2–4 weeks.
Low cholesterol breakfast foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nut butter, seeds, and low fat dairy products. There are many creative ways to combine these foods to provide a nutritious way to start the day.
Aside from following a healthy diet, other lifestyle changes may lower cholesterol. These changes may include getting regular exercise, maintaining a moderate weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and giving up smoking.