What Should You Eat for Breakfast to Lower Your Cholesterol?
Some people wonder, should I eat breakfast at all? “If you wake up in the morning and you are not hungry, then don’t eat,” says Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa in Miami, Florida. Many people do not listen to their body’s hunger signals. When your body says it’s hungry, one of the best breakfasts to lower cholesterol is oatmeal. Not the sugar-laden, instant packs of oatmeal, but whole grain oatmeal, such as steel-cut oatmeal. If you’re short on time in the mornings, you can make a pot of steel-cut oats on the weekend, and quickly reheat a portion each morning. If you find breakfast works better for your hunger cues when eaten after you leave the house, small mason jars keep the oatmeal from spilling onto your outfit while you dash out the door. Don’t forget to top those oats with other nutrients that make it a healthy meal, such as berries and protein (oat milk, almond milk)!
Why is Oatmeal a Healthy Breakfast to Lower my Cholesterol?
Oats contain helpful fibers. One such fiber is called beta-glucan, which becomes gel-like in your gut which modulates cholesterol metabolism, and helping you excrete more cholesterol. Talk about literally flushing your cholesterol levels. Jokes aside, beta-glucan is a fiber worth talking about. It has been shown that beta-glucan helps the microbes in your gut which in turn affects your cholesterol levels. These microbes, called probiotics, appear to regulate bile acid (important in fat metabolism) and produce short-chain fatty acids that impact how your body regulates cholesterol.
Are Eggs Good to Eat for Breakfast to Lower My Cholesterol?
Egg whites are a healthy source of protein and can be part of a good breakfast to lower cholesterol. It’s confusing, as egg yolks are one of the top five highest sources of cholesterol in North American diets – it can lead to the assumption that it’s eating cholesterol that’s the problem. That is not likely the case, say researchers – it’s the saturated fats in the egg yolks that make them worth ditching. Are eggs healthy? Yes, those protein-rich egg whites are – let’s whip them up! Omelets are a quick, nutritious way to start the day.
Easy Breakfast Ideas to Lower Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
- No-fuss egg-white omelet with chopped vegetables and potato
- Steel-cut oatmeal, topped with almond or oat milk, and berries
- Sweet potato pancakes topped with low-fat yogurt (sugar-free) and berries
Get a Simple Meal Plan
A No-fuss egg white omelet is a fast way to enjoy a protein-rich breakfast that is high in vegetables and contains carbohydrates. Simply whip up a few egg whites, toss in a hefty handful of chopped vegetables and potatoes, and cook! Ready in less than 5 minutes, you’ve got a quick meal you can eat for breakfast to lower your cholesterol.
Of note, Dietitians at the Pritikin Center suggest a healthy breakfast to lower your cholesterol is one that contains both protein and carbohydrates. They know heart health – the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab is now a nation-wide, Medicare-reimbursed program for qualifying individuals. It’s a comprehensive lifestyle change program.
Why Should I Try to Lower My Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a structural component of cells in your body, so they have a significant role in your health. The problem with cholesterol lies when it deposits in your blood vessels. Inflammation can cause cholesterol to deposit on the walls of your arteries, building up plaques that can narrow the vessel, and even block the blood flow completely, causing a serious cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Your body has two ways of increasing cholesterol levels in your blood: absorption from the foods you eat, and the production of cholesterol by your liver. If your physician has suggested you lower your cholesterol levels, there are many ways you can adjust your lifestyle to accomplish this – without having to learn to do a headstand or forage for plants in the forest. Joking aside, significant scientific data shows that there are simple ways to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure, and lose weight – all of which support cardiovascular health.
Foods, Science Say, are Best to Eat for Breakfast to Lower Your Cholesterol
Between egg yolks, shrimp, beef, pork, poultry, cheese, and butter, the American population loves to eat foods that are high in cholesterol, according to the NHANES data. Evidence has consistently shown your risk of heart attack increases with high cholesterol. But, how do you reduce the amount of cholesterol floating around in your bloodstream? When researchers looked at animal models and human clinical trials, evidence suggests eating cholesterol does not necessarily cause an increase in your blood cholesterol – but, foods high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat. For example, chicken contains 100 mg of cholesterol and 3.8 g of saturated fatty acids. There is ample evidence to suggest that saturated fats (and trans fats found in processed and fried foods) increase the risk of heart disease. Of note, eggs are an exception to this rule, as eggs contain 186 mg of cholesterol (in the yolk) and only 1.5 g of saturated fatty acids. Egg whites are an economical, protein-rich food item that could be included in a meal plan to lower your cholesterol. This might make it seem harder to know which foods are best to eat for breakfast to lower your cholesterol. Yet, it can be made quite simple! Here are 9 foods you want to eat for breakfast to lower your cholesterol:
9 Foods Science Says to Eat for Breakfast to Lower Your Cholesterol
- Oat Milk
- Egg Whites
- Sweet potato
Get a Simple Meal Plan
What Should I Eat to Lower My Cholesterol and Improve Heart Health?
Oats are already on our list of great foods to eat to lower your cholesterol and improve heart health. Experts, such as Registered Dietician, Kimberly Gomer, recommend that you top your oatmeal with berries. Why? In 22 human clinical trials, eating berries significantly lowered cholesterol, as well as blood pressure, fasting glucose, and markers of inflammation that can increase atherosclerosis. Talk about a delicious topping that not only lowers your cholesterol but improves heart health! As for the milk, opt for oat milk, according to research studies that found oat milk lower LDL cholesterol better than cow’s milk. Oat milk contains less saturated fat than cow’s milk and contains helpful, cholesterol-lowering fibers, such as beta glucan.
Spice things up a bit in the morning, and switch your warm bowl of oatmeal out for a vegetable-packed egg-white omelet with a bit of spicy cayenne pepper, or hot chili pepper. The plant species Capsicum annuum includes cayenne, chili, and sweet peppers. Scientists have found eating these peppers supports heart health, and lowers cholesterol. You can also spice things up by adding garlic, which has been shown in over 14 trials to reduce LDL cholesterol, as well as total cholesterol. Fill your omelet with vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, collard greens) as research shows vegetables are linked to arterial health (healthy blood vessels). Leafy greens are always a good choice. Spinach has a mild flavor and wilts quickly in an omelet to create a tasty breakfast, or kale can offer a bitter, textural element. Eating leafy greens helps you lower your cholesterol levels, according to researchers, as it increases how much cholesterol is excreted from the body, and it has antioxidant benefits too. Toss a sweet potato beside your vegetable-rich, egg-white omelet as a tasty carbohydrate to keep you fueled, that’s high in cholesterol-lowering fiber.
What Reduces Cholesterol Quickly?
You can start with your fork, and start lowering your cholesterol with a good breakfast, making vegetables the star of snacks, lunch, and dinner, and always reaching for plant-based proteins when possible. Then, go beyond your fork – pull on your shoes and get more exercise. In a review of research on how exercise can improve your blood fats, it’s exciting how much a little physical activity can improve your health (plus, it feels great!). When you’re being physically active, it encourages the liver to absorb more LDL (bad) cholesterol, and your muscles burn up triglycerides, another fat in your blood that isn’t healthy to have in high concentrations. After your day’s filled with more than 30 minutes of exercise, suggests researchers, get more than 6 hours of sleep, as these lifestyle habits are linked to lower cholesterol.
At Pritikin, we’ve got you covered – our health experts use the latest science and insight from cardiac specialists to help you integrate tactics to reduce cholesterol quickly into your daily life. The Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa is an integrative program that helps guests learn how to transform their daily habits into healthy ones, based on the latest science. Clinical studies show the Pritikin Program of good food, exercise, and a positive mindset not only effectively lowers cholesterol, but improves heart health, and quality of life. You don’t have to try to lower your cholesterol levels alone – Pritikin experts are here to help. Join us today!
- Effects of berries consumption on cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sci Rep 2016; 6: 23625.
- The cholesterol-lowering effects of oats and oat beta glucan: modes of action and potential role of bile acids and the microbiome. Front Nutr 2019; 6:171.
- Importance of microbial defense systems to bile salts and mechanisms of serum cholesterol reduction. Biotechnol Adv 2018 May-June;36(3):682-690.
- Effects of consumption of oat milk, soya milk or cow’s milk on plasma lipids and antioxidative capacity in healthy subjects. Ann Nutr Metab 1998; 42(4): 211-20.
- Consumption of oat milk for 5 weeks lowers serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in free-living men with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Ann Nutr Metab 1999;43(5):301-9.
- Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein: a meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore) 2018 May; 97(18):e0255.
- Effects of Capsicum annuum supplementation on the components of metabolic syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sci Rep 2020 Dec 1;10(1):20912.
- Health effect of vegetable-based diet: lettuce consumption improves cholesterol metabolism and antioxidant status in the rat. Clin Nutr 2004 Aug;23(4):605-14.
- Cruciferous and total vegetable intakes are inversely associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in older adult women. J Am Heart Ass 2018 Apr;7(8).
- Review on nutritional composition of orange-fleshed sweet potato and its role in management of vitamin A deficiency. Food Sci Nutr 2019 Jun; 7(6): 1920-1945.
- Effect of aerobic exercise on lipids and lipoproteins. Lipid Health and Disease 2017 July; 16:132.
- Dietary cholesterol and the lack of evidence in cardiovascular disease. Nutrients 2018 Jun; 10(6):780.
- Sleep duration, snoring habits and cardiovascular disease risk factors in an ethnically diverse population. J Cardiovasc Nurs 2012 May-Jun; 27(3): 263-269.
- Dietary intakes of eggs and cholesterol in relation to all-cause and heart disease mortality” a prospective cohort study. J Am Heart Assoc 2020 May 18; 9(10): e015743.