Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
We all have heard of this old adage and most of us just ignore it. Nevertheless, the statement still holds true, at least in regards to the health of your heart.1 The health of your heart directly depends on what you eat and when you eat.
Here are some basic heart-healthy eating habits that is good for all of us to follow:
- Cut back on foods with saturated fats like pizza, high-fat dairy products, creamy sauces and burgers.
- Limit the intake of sodium. Make it a point to read the labels for nutritional facts and look for foods that have low sodium or no added salt.
- Eat more fibre. Add fibre-rich foods such as beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet for that much-needed fibre.2
Several studies suggest that eating a healthy breakfast every morning may help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.3
Healthy breakfast foods
The evidence is overwhelming regarding the best breakfast habits for a healthy heart, that it should encompass foods from all these categories – fruits, vegetables, unprocessed whole grains and healthy proteins and fats.4
Here, we have enlisted three recipes that include these food categories for you so that you can kick-start your day with a heart-healthy, delicious breakfast.
Banana, berries and oats smoothie5
Preparation time: 5 mins
- 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek yoghurt
- ½ cup fresh (or frozen) mixed berries
- 1½ cup low-fat milk
- 1 banana
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon flaked coconut, to serve
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds, to serve
- Blend the banana, milk, mixed berries, yoghurt and oats in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie into two glasses.
- Top it with chia seeds and coconut before serving.
Preparation time: 15-30 minutes
- 500 g roasting potatoes
- 1 cm cut of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 green chilli, deseeded
- ½ red chilli, deseeded
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- Coriander to garnish
- Grind all the ingredients (excluding potatoes) together to make the masala. Add 2 tbsp water if necessary.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add the masala to it and fry over low heat for about 20 minutes. Let it cool.
- Chop the potatoes, coat them evenly with the masala and place in a baking dish.
- Place in a preheated oven (160oC) and bake until soft in the middle (approximately 20 minutes).
- Remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle finely chopped coriander over it and serve.
Stuffed ragi pancakes7
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- ¾ cup whole ragi/nachni (red millet)
- ¼ cup rice flour
- Salt to taste
For vegetable stuffing:
- ¼ cup sliced spring onion whites
- ½ cup shredded cabbage
- ½ cup grated carrots
- ¼ cup chopped spring onion greens
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp chopped coriander
- ½ tsp dry, red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp oil
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp sugar
Other ingredients: 1 tsp oil for cooking
- Soak the ragi in water overnight.
- Wash, drain and grind it to a smooth paste using a little water.
- Add rice flour and salt to it. Mix it well and keep aside.
- Add oil to the pan and heat it.
- Add the red chilli flakes, garlic and spring onion whites and fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Add bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, spring onion greens, salt and sugar. Mix them well and keep aside.
- Heat a non-stick griddle (tawa). Grease it with a little oil.
- Spread a uniform layer of batter to make a five-inch pancake.
- Cook the pancake on both sides using a little oil until it turns golden brown.
- Spread the vegetable stuffing on one side of the pancake and fold it to make a semi-circle.
- Repeat the same procedure to make 5 more pancakes.
These delicious heart-healthy recipes will help add some exciting flavours to your palette and encourage you not to skip breakfast.
Food for thought: One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.
- AARP. Skipping breakfast may hurt your heart health [Internet]. [updated 2017 Oct 04; cited 2019 Nov 19]. Available from: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/skipping-breakfast-hurts-heart-health-fd.html.
- Healthfinder.gov. Heart-healthy foods: Shopping list [Internet]. [updated 2019 Feb 21; cited 2019 No 19]. Available from: https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/heart-healthy-foods-shopping-list.
- American Heart Association. How to make breakfast a healthy habit [Internet]. [updated 2017 Jun 07; cited 2019 Nov 19]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-to-make-breakfast-a-healthy-habit.
- Harvard Health Publishing. A doctor’s recipe for a healthy breakfast [Internet]. [updated 2017 Nov 06: cited 2019 Nov 19]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-doctors-recipe-for-a-healthy-breakfast-2017100612479.
- Heart Foundation. Banana, berry and oat smoothie [Internet]. [cited 2019 Nov 19]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/recipes/banana-berry-oat-smoothie.
- Heart Foundation. Potatoes masala [Internet]. [cited 2019 Nov 2019]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/wellbeing/healthy-recipes/potatoes-masala.
- Dalal T. Low cholesterol recipes. Sanjay and Company; 2007.