Heart Healthy Breakfast Ideas: 7 of the Best
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
Who doesn’t love breakfast? Most adults, that’s who.
Although breakfast was arguably our favorite meal of the day as a child with all those sweet, sugary cereals waiting for us every morning, sometime between childhood and adulthood we found ourselves too busy, too tired, or too short on time to have a morning meal.
You don’t need to be a registered dietician to understand the basic principles of heart health and learn which foods support a healthy heart and which foods do not. A few simple swaps and substitutions can level up your morning meal and set the stage for healthy eating all day.
Breakfast is an important part of a heart-healthy diet, and including it can even help you maintain a healthy weight. Even if you’re busy, it’s easy to squeeze in a quick meal.
We’ll explain the importance of heart health and breakfast, and give you 11 quick, easy, breakfast ideas to fuel your morning.
How Important Is Heart Health?
If the average person feels fairly healthy, they may not know that there are underlying issues. Negative health markers can be discovered on blood tests, or even during routine check-ups with your doctor.
Markers that can all increase your risk of developing heart disease include:
- Unhealthy cholesterol
- Elevated blood sugar
- High blood pressure
What Is Heart Disease?
There are many diseases of the heart and the additional organs and structures (like blood vessels) that support it. Having heart disease of any kind places you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
Heart disease is categorized into several different groups.
Disease of the blood vessels. The blood vessels that carry blood to and from your heart need to stay flexible and clear so that blood moves efficiently. Coronary artery disease is a condition in which a buildup of fatty plaques restricts blood from flowing freely inside your blood vessels. This is the most common type of heart disease. The buildup of plaque in the arteries is called atherosclerosis. Long term, this condition causes damage to your blood vessels, narrowing and/or blocking them, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Heart arrhythmias. This group of heart conditions refers to problems with the way the heart beats. Arrhythmias, like heart murmurs, are often not incredibly serious and can be managed. Some require further evaluation though, so visiting a physician will be important.
Congenital heart defects. This group refers to patients who were born with heart defects. Some may require surgical intervention, but not all.
Heart muscle disease and infection. The muscles and lining of your heart can also become infected or diseased. These are often very serious onciditons that require a high level of medical care, but can be treated in some circumstances.
Of all heart-related illnesses, blood vessel disease is the most common, claims more lives, and is also the most preventable. A lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, and obesity all contribute to the development of blood vessel disease. Eating a heart-healthy breakfast is good step toward strengthening your heart health and protecting yourself against disease.
What Are the Numbers?
Heart disease accounts for about a third of worldwide deaths. It has been the leading cause of death in the United States for the past 80 years. Heart disease is often a silent killer. You may not know that anything is wrong until the disease has progressed.
Supporting Heart Health Every Morning
If you’re a little overweight it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that skipping breakfast will save you a few calories and maybe even help you lose weight. Unfortunately, this logic isn't as logical as you might think.
What is supported by science is that eating breakfast helps you avoid overeating later in the day, and that skipping breakfast can even cause elevated blood pressure.
A healthy breakfast should include lean protein like eggs, chicken, legumes, or Greek yogurt. It should also include healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and be void of added sugar, trans fats, and excess sodium that don’t support heart health and could leave you feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. Here are 11 ways to create easy breakfasts that will keep your heart (and your tummy) happy.
11 Easy, Heart-Healthy Breakfast Ideas
These breakfasts can help to energize you for your day, keep you full, and support a healthy heart.
1. Whole Grain Pancakes
Eating healthfully doesn’t mean a good, old-fashioned pancake breakfast is off the table. This recipe from the American Heart Association replaces white flour with whole wheat flour and oats, two important ingredients in a heart-healthy diet.
Top your pancakes with strawberries, banana slices, or blueberries to add a sweetness that’s also beneficial to your heart and a better choice for your blood sugar than syrup.
Pro tip: If you’re more of a waffle lover, the same recipe will work when poured into a waffle maker. Cook according to the machine instructions and top with your favorite heart-healthy ingredients.
2. Overnight Oats
If you haven’t tried overnight oats yet, now is the perfect time to start. They’re quick, convenient, and can be made the night before work so you can grab them as you head out the door. This recipe by the Cleveland Clinic is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Consider adding chia seeds, almonds, and Greek yogurt to your oats. Raspberries and/or blueberries will add sweetness without a lot of calories.
3. A Better Breakfast Sandwich
It’s easy to get into the habit of cruising the drive-thru on your way to work for a quick breakfast on the go. Unfortunately, breakfast sandwiches from fast-food chains are usually packed with sodium, preservatives, unhealthy fats, and simple carbohydrates. Instead, make one at home.
This recipe is easy to make. Made with whole-grain toast or English muffins, eggs, and veggies like onions, bell pepper, and kale, this sandwich has less than half the calories of the drive-thru version and double the flavor. Add red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.
This recipe can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer. Swap it for your drive-thru version, and you’ll save your arteries and your wallet.
4. On-the-Go Smoothie
If you own a blender, you can make a quick and easy smoothie that you can drink on your commute. Start with a milk base of your choice. Add to it frozen berries, bananas, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Toss in a handful of fresh spinach and/or carrot shreds.
Finish off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Top with walnuts for extra crunch and heart-healthy nutrients.
5. Toast Your Way
Whole-grain bread contains heart-healthy fiber and helps keep you full. Two slices of toast topped with avocado, peanut butter, or even tomato and Greek yogurt, makes a great breakfast that is both filling and heart-healthy.
6. A Classic Omelet
If you’ve got a little time to get ready in the morning, consider making an omelet. In a small bowl, whisk together two eggs and your choice of diced vegetables. Pour into a pan and cook on medium heat until the eggs are bubbly and pulling up at the edges.
Flip one side of the omelet onto the other, then flip the entire omelet over to finish cooking. Top with cheese and/or salsa.
6. Healthy Granola with Fresh Fruit
If you’re craving those childhood cereal favorites, making your own granola or muesli and topping it with fresh fruit can give you the same texture and sweetness without all the added calories, sugar, and food dye.
This recipe for heart-healthy granola includes whole oats, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, flax, and cranberries. It’s sweetened with maple syrup and coconut flakes. You can premake this healthy breakfast recipe and store it in airtight containers for up to two weeks or in your freezer for up to four months. That makes it incredibly easy to dish out on a busy morning and top with your choice of antioxidant-loaded blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries for a breakfast that will load you up with fiber and keep you full.
8. Egg White Breakfast Burrito
Love scrambled eggs but have strict doctor’s orders to avoid their cholesterol content? That’s okay. Egg whites contain tons of protein and taste great when folded into an easy and quick breakfast burrito.
Whole wheat tortilla
2 egg whites
Reduced-fat cheese of your choice
Toppings of your choice
Coat a skillet with cooking spray and allow it to heat. Scramble egg whites to desired consistency and add to a tortilla. Top with cheese and toppings like hot sauce, tomatoes, or avocado. Fold and enjoy.
You can also add mashed black beans to this recipe to increase your fiber and protein content.
9. Avocado Toast
You’ll find it on the menu at virtually any brunch or breakfast establishment. Avocado toast is delicious, filling, and loaded with nutrients. Opt for whole wheat toast, ripe avocado, and olive oil to make your heart healthy. Add inred pepper flakes for a kick of heat or tomatoes for added flavor without the spice.
Olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have long stood as the undefeated champions of heart-healthy supplements. We’ll cover whether or not you should consider taking an omega-3 supplement a little later.
10. A Better Bagel
Bagels are some of the most delicious go-to breakfast foods, but they’re notoriously high in carbohydrates and can also be a source of added unhealthy fats and sugar. Level up your bagel by choosing a whole wheat version and opting for toppings that increase protein, like lox, eggs, or turkey sausage. Keep in mind that choosing meats like sausage (even if it's turkey) should be limited because these foods can be highly processed and contain ingredients like excess sodium that you don’t want in your diet.
11. A Parfait To Start Your Day
There’s yogurt, and then there’s a parfait. Layering Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt with heart-healthy ingredients (like the granola above) or fresh fruit can transform your breakfast into a dessert. Opt for unsweetened yogurts and add in your own sweeteners, like date syrup, monk fruit, or maple syrup.
Avoid making a parfait in advance, or you’ll end up with more of an overnight oats consistency than a crunchy yogurt parfait.
11. Start With a Supplement
No matter what breakfast you choose, there’s a way to support your heart health, and your entire body, without ever heating a pan or dirtying a dish. Taking a daily supplement that supports your heart health is a smart addition to your health stack, and we’d recommend C15:0, aka pentadecanoic acid.
What Is C15:0?
Health (including the health of your heart) starts in your cells. When your cells are healthy, your body is healthy. As our cells get older, we get older, too. Cellular aging can affect our health, so supporting our cellular health is important for supporting our heart and total health.
C15:0, also known as pentadecanoic acid, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that science supports as the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years. C15:0 helps support your heart health by supporting the cells doing the work to make your heart function.* Further, higher levels of C15:0 has been repeatedly associated with healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as improved heart health.
Where C15:0 Comes From
C15:0 is found primarily in whole-fat dairy products. Dietary guidelines issued in the 1970s instructed us to avoid whole-fat dairy products, which means you probably don’t find yourself consuming too much whole milk and full-fat butter, which means you probably don’t have a lot of C15:0 in your system. The problem is those guidelines failed us. They didn’t make our hearts healthier, and we now have higher occurrences of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Avoiding all fat didn’t work because we were missing out on the good fats like C15:0.
That said, simply increasing your milk and butter intake to get more of these good fats isn’t the best option. You’d have to consume a lot of unhealthy, even-chain saturated fats and additional calories to get the amount of C15:0 your body needs.
The solution is fatty15, the first and only supplement that contains just one powerful ingredient: FA15™.
FA15 ™ is the pure, vegan-friendly, sustainably-produced, award-winning version of C15:0. Just 100 milligrams per day is enough to restore your C15:0 levels and help you feel healthier longer.*
Fatty15 supports your cellular level in three key ways:*
- Improved mitochondrial function. The mitochondria in your cells give them the energy needed to carry out cellular activities. As you age, your mitochondria become sluggish and less efficient. Fatty15 improves mitochondrial function by up to 45%, meaning your body gets more of the energy it needs for its day-to-day duties.
- Stronger cell membranes. Your cell membranes protect your cells from external stressors, but over time, they often become weak and flimsy. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that integrates into your cell membranes, fortifying them and keeping your cells better protected.
- Improved cellular signaling. By activating special receptors called PPARs that control homeostatic functions like sleep, mood, and appetite, fatty15 helps restore balance to your body, giving your body a helping hand in keeping you satiated, energized, and well-rested.
- Increased ATP Production. ATP is the molecule in your cells that provides energy. More ATP means more cellular activity; more cellular activity equates to more activity and better function throughout your body. In one study looking at hair follicle cells, C15:0 was shown to increase ATP production by 350%.
- Clearing Damaged Cells. C15:0 activates AMPK, a molecule that is needed to help clear away damaged cells.
- Regulating AMPK. By activating AMPK, which helps modulate blood sugar levels and works with the immune system to keep it balanced, C15:0 helps bring your body back to homeostasis.
- Regulating Inflammatory Response. C15:0 lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are associated with premature aging in your cells.
C15:0 helps reverse cellular aging, which means you can feel better, notice more sustainable energy, and support your heart health, all without ever swallowing a fish oil capsule. In fact, when placed head-to-head with the purest, highest-performing omega-3, C15:0 was better, broader, and safer.
- Broader. In peer reviewed publications, C15:0 was shown to have 26 more clinically relevant benefits for your body and your cells than the purest and most effective form of omega-3, EPA.
- Better. C15:0 was able to safely repair 10 out of 12 cell types studied, while omega-3 could only safely repair 4.
- Safer. Omega-3 was toxic to 4 cell types, including blood vessels and lung cells. C15:0 was safe for all 12 cell types studied.
In addition, recent studies found that more than one in 10 bottles of fish oil supplements on store shelves were rancid before they were even purchased. Because omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat that is liquid at room temperature, it’s subject to oxidation, which means it can spoil. That means your fish oil capsules could be doing more harm than good.
More surprising, taking larger doses of omega-3 can lead to:
- Increased risk of bleeding if an injury were to occur
- Low blood pressure
- Thinning of the blood
- Bruising easily
Not to mention, virtually all fish oil supplements have an undesirable, fishy aftertaste. Thankfully, C15:0 is the easy, burpless option.
In addition to eating a heart-healthy breakfast, taking once-a-day fatty15 is the smart way to support your heart health and your entire body.*
Breakfast of Champions
Skipping breakfast may not be the best choice, and generally won't lead to weight loss. Further, skipping breakfast can also negatively impact your heart health. Start your day with a heart-healthy breakfast and a heart-healthy supplement.
Feel better and age smarter with fatty15 today — one of the easiest yet most impactful ways to boost your breakfast routine!
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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