By Dr K P Suresh Kumar,

Senior Consultant Cardiology

It is a known fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But do you know that a good breakfast can keep your heart healthy?

A recent statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) adds heart health to the list of reasons of why it’s a good idea to eat in the morning.

How Breakfast Helps The Heart

• When you eat something in the morning, it jumpstarts your system and gets all the organs, including your heart, functioning at optimum.

• Skipping breakfast causes irregular eating patterns that in the long-term causes weight gain and digestion which in turn affects the heart.

• Eating breakfast lowers risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

• Having breakfast gets the stomach juices flowing and your body works harder to digest the food which is good for the heart.

What Kind Of Breakfast Is Healthy For You?

A healthy breakfast plan should include a balance of these:-

• Fiber – It lowers cholesterol and is good for cardiovascular health. Foods rich in fiber include oats, beans, fruits and vegetables.

• Lean protein — Dhals, eggs, lean meats.

• Fat — Oils and butter.

A breakfast made with a combination of the above helps your body get into high gear and gets the heart pumping. It gives you energy for the whole day.

Some breakfast choices that include the above would be:

• Cooked oats with vegetables.

• Idlis or dosas with sambar and a small amount of ghee on top.

• Omelette with vegetables and brown bread on the side.

• Muesli with yoghurt and fruits.

• Brown bread sandwich with vegetables, lean meats and cheese.

• Upma or poha with sambar, and chutney.

People skip breakfast or have a poor breakfast because they don’t have time to prepare it. If that is the case, break the meal into smaller, easy to make portions. This could include a helping of fruit, some dried fruits and nuts or a sandwich, all of which could be easily carried with you. A smoothie is another easy choice.

Research is showing evidence that skipping breakfast may lead to risk factors for heart disease by increasing weight gain, triglycerides and cholesterol and triggering blood pressure.

Dr K P Suresh Kumar, MBBS, MD, DM, FSCAI, is a Senior Consultant Cardiology, Kauvery Hospital, Chennai