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October 2013

Eating Breakfast Can Do a Man’s Heart Good

As the first meal of the day, breakfast fuels you. It supplies much-needed energy after sleeping—a period of fasting for your body. Unfortunately, some men don’t partake in this daily morning fill-up. A recent study suggests they’re missing out on more than just a power boost. Eating breakfast may protect against coronary heart disease.

The benefits of breakfast

In a recent issue of the journal Circulation, researchers recounted how they tracked the eating habits of nearly 27,000 men for 16 years. Every four years, these men filled out questionnaires that asked about eating patterns and heart health. Questions included whether they ate breakfast and if they had suffered a heart attack or been diagnosed with a heart-related condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

From the survey results, investigators discovered an interesting link. Men who skipped breakfast were 33 percent more likely to have developed coronary heart disease during the study period. This percentage didn’t budge even after researchers factored in other potential causes of heart disease, such as diet and activity level.

Heart health aside, breakfast may bestow other benefits, too. Past research has shown that people who eat breakfast every day tend to weigh less. This important meal may also defend against diabetes. One study found that men who skipped breakfast were 50 percent more likely to have the disease.

A better breakfast

To gain the most benefit from breakfast time, don’t choose high-fat foods or sugar-laden sweets, such as bacon or donuts. You can build a better breakfast with these tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Power up with healthy proteins. Good sources of protein include eggs, beans, low-fat cheese, and lean meats.

  • Favor whole grains. Unlike processed grains, whole grains retain their nutrients, including fiber. That means you’ll feel full and energized longer. Check your local grocery store for whole-grain versions of favorite breakfast foods, such as muffins, bagels, and waffles.

  • Remember the fruits and veggies. You can easily top your cereal with this nourishing fare. Or fill up on a glass of 100 percent juice.

Need more ideas? Try these breakfast treats:

  • Spread some peanut butter on a tortilla, add a banana, and roll it up.

  • Top a whole-grain English muffin with some lean ham and low-fat Swiss cheese.

  • Savor sliced strawberries on a whole-wheat bagel or toast.

  • Pack a whole-wheat pita with a hard-cooked egg, some sliced red pepper, and low-fat shredded cheese.

Eating breakfast out? Click here for tips on keeping it healthy. 

Online Resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

www.eatright.org

CDC – Nutrition for Everyone

www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/index.html

USDA

www.nutrition.gov

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