7 heart-healthy breakfast ideas to kickstart the day

Research has shown a correlation between nutritional choices and heart health. Out of all meals, breakfast plays an important role when it comes to reducing the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. A heart-friendly breakfast can set the tone for the rest of the day, providing essential nutrients and energy to keep one going. So, here are 7 heart-healthy breakfast ideas that are not only delicious and nutritious but also easy to make:

1. Overnight oatmeal
Rolled oats soaked overnight in milk or dairy-free alternatives with a sprinkle of chia seeds, a touch of honey, and fresh berries can be a filling, heart-healthy breakfast. The fiber in oats helps lower bad cholesterol levels, promoting heart health.

2. Avocado toast
Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lower levels of bad cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease. Here, one can layer thin avocado slices on whole-grain toast and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Fresh herbs, lemon juice, or even a poached egg can also be added to the recipe.

3. Vegetable smoothies
Smoothies with leafy greens like spinach or kale, along with cucumber or celery, can be nutritious, as these veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to better heart health. One can add strawberry, pineapple, mango, or peanut butter to the smoothie for natural sweetness. 

4. Smoothie bowls
This recipe calls for a thick smoothie base made of fruits or veggies, cereals, yogurt or milk, and nut butter blended together. Avocados, carrots, leafy greens, papaya, bananas, frozen berries, peaches, and low-fat yogurt are usually added to smoothie bowls. These ingredients contain antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, which support heart health. One can top the bowl with nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit for added texture and flavor.

5. Cottage cheese with fruit
Cottage cheese provides protein, calcium, B vitamins, and phosphorus, making it a filling and nutritious breakfast option. One can pair it with fresh berries and honey for additional flavor.

6. Eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. One can scramble a couple of eggs with herbs and spinach or make a veggie omelet by whisking up eggs and pouring them onto a hot skillet with colorful vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

7. Whole-grain cereal
For those with heart issues, low-sugar whole-grain cereal paired with skim milk or a dairy-free alternative can be a great breakfast option. One can add sliced bananas or berries for additional flavor and fiber.