Nothing prepares you for the day like a nutritious breakfast. It’s well-known that skipping breakfast may leave you feeling hungrier later in the day, but it may also adversely affect your cholesterol level.
A 2019 review of research that looked at the outcomes of skipping breakfast in children and adolescents found that this practice may be associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors, including higher LDL cholesterol. However, additional research is still needed to support this conclusion.
The foods you choose for breakfast can go a long way toward lowering your “unhealthy” LDL cholesterol and raising your “healthy” HDL cholesterol. Here are some of the best morning foods for improving your numbers.
A 44-gram serving of steel-cut oaks packs
Opt for an unsweetened variety where you can add your own toppings. Topping your oatmeal with a sliced apple, pear, or some raspberries or strawberries can add a boost of fiber.
Don’t have the time to cook a bowl of oats? Cold oat cereal works, too. Just avoid products that are loaded with sugar. Adding a sliced banana or berries will also increase the fiber content of your cereal.
2. Almond milk
Almonds are filled with healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins. They’re also part of the family of tree nuts. According to Harvard Health Publishing, eating 2 ounces of these nuts each day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 5 percent.
Up to 50 percent of the weight of almonds comes from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). These fatty acids are associated with the reduction of LDL cholesterol.
Pour yourself a glass of almond milk, toss a few sliced almonds onto your oatmeal, or eat them by the handful. The recommended serving size is about 1 ounce or a small handful. The recommended number of servings can vary per person. One cup of sliced almonds contains
3. Avocado toast
This mash-up of toasted bread and mashed avocado may be a trendy breakfast choice, but it also scores high in healthfulness.
Avocados are healthy on several levels. They’re high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. You can use them as a replacement for breakfast foods that are high in saturated fats, like sausage or bacon, which
Avocados are also a rich source of sterols, which are plant-based substances that help to lower cholesterol. They’re also high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.
4. Egg white scramble with spinach
If you’re watching your cholesterol levels but still looking for a nutrient-dense breakfast option, egg whites are cholesterol-free and packed with protein.
While in the past, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s
Scramble up a couple of egg whites and toss in a handful of spinach for fiber. Cook your eggs in olive or canola oil. These healthy oils may help improve your cholesterol numbers when used in place of animal-based fats, like butter.
5. Orange juice
Orange juice is well-known for being an excellent source of vitamin C. Some brands add a nutritional boost by fortifying their juice with plant sterols and stanols. Adding 1.5 to 3 grams of sterols to your daily diet could lower your LDL cholesterol by 7.5 to 12 percent.
If you’re not a fan of orange juice, try one of the other fortified foods available. Food sources of phytosterols can include:
- vegetable oils, such as corn, sunflower, soybean, and olive
- wheat germ and wheat bran
- fruits such as passion fruit and orange
- vegetables such as cauliflower
6. Whey protein smoothie
Whey protein is made from whey, the liquid in milk that’s removed when manufacturers make cheese.
Some studies have suggested that whey protein supplements may help lower cholesterol, although results have been inconsistent. One
A 2017 study found that whey protein supplementation may lower cardiovascular risk factors including LDL cholesterol in people who are overweight or have obesity.
Make a healthy morning smoothie by combining low fat yogurt, ice cubes, berries, and a scoop of vanilla whey protein. This sweet concoction is low in fat and high in nutrition.
7. Smoked salmon
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats can increase healthy HDL cholesterol and reduce the number of triglycerides circulating in the blood.
You can enjoy smoked salmon on top of a whole-wheat bagel, in addition to other toppings such as tomato, capers, and sesame seeds. It can also be a healthy addition to scrambled eggs along with other plant-based ingredients like mushrooms and spinach — or as a protein topping on a brunch salad.
8. Apple bran muffins
This fast and delicious breakfast combines two sources of fiber: apples and bran. Bran is the hard outer layer of grains such as wheat, oats, barley, corn, and rice. High in fiber, bran also
According to a 2019 review of research, consuming whole grains such as bran may be associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol.
If you’re using a muffin mix, you can increase its healthfulness by using applesauce in place of oil.