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Healthy Eating

What is the best breakfast for your heart?

Avocado toast may have seemed like a fleeting food trend a few years ago, but this easy breakfast is a great way to keep your heart healthy.

It’s no secret that what you eat can play a big role in how healthy (or unhealthy) your heart is. Common breakfast staples like bacon and sausage are high in sodium and saturated fat, two things that are known to increase your risk for heart disease.

Instead of starting your day with a saturated fat-laden breakfast, fill up on heart-healthy unsaturated fat and whole grains with a slice of whole wheat toast topped with avocado.

The combination of nutrients, specifically fiber and monounsaturated fats, found in whole grains and avocados can help to lower cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease.

1. Avocado nutrition facts

What is the best breakfast for your heart?

One-half of an avocado (100g) provides 160 calories, 2g of protein, 8.5g of carbohydrates, and 14.7g of fat. Avocados are an excellent nutritional source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The following nutrition information is for half of an avocado and is provided by the USDA.

Calories: 160
Fat: 14.7g
Sodium: 7mg
Carbohydrates: 8.5g
Fiber: 6.7g
Sugars: 0.7g
Protein: 2g
Magnesium: 29mg
Potassium: 485mg
Vitamin C: 10mg
Vitamin E: 2.1mg
Vitamin K: 21mcg

Carbs: Most of the carbohydrates in an avocado come from fiber. A whole avocado provides about 17 grams of carbohydrate and 13.4 grams of fiber. There is very little sugar in an avocado (less than one gram) and the rest of the carbohydrate in the fruit comes from starch. The glycemic index for avocado is estimated to be around zero, making it a low-glycemic food.

Fats: A whole avocado provides roughly 30 grams of fat, 4.2 grams of saturated fat, almost 20 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 3.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat. So, while most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, they are mostly in the form of healthier monounsaturated fat.

Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. For this reason, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that choosing foods with monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fat.

Protein: Half an avocado provides about 2 grams of protein. While it’s not a high-protein food, it can still help you meet your desired protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals: If you consume a few slices of avocado, it won’t provide substantial vitamins or minerals because the serving size is so small. But a whole avocado is a good source of vitamins K, E, and C.

Avocado also contains folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Minerals in avocado include magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium.

Calories: The number of calories in an avocado will depend on its size. The avocado nutrition facts shown are for half of a medium-sized avocado, but many avocados are smaller and some can be much larger (up to 300 grams or more).

2. Why avocado on toast is the best breakfast for your heart?

What is the best breakfast for your heart?

Avocado toast may have seemed like a fleeting food trend a few years ago, but trendy or not, this easy breakfast is a great way to keep your heart healthy.

A March 2022 study found that people who ate just two servings of avocado per week had a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t eat avocado. One serving of an avocado (about one-third of a medium fruit) has 96 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of monounsaturated fats.

Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and fiber—both of which can help lower your cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol can lead to a build-up of plaque in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Research has found that including avocado in your diet can be better for your heart than following a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Eating avocados can lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides without lowering the heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.

Using whole grain toast as the base for your breakfast adds healthy carbs and fiber to the meal. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend between 25 and 38 grams of fiber each day, but most people fall short—with an average of only 17 grams or less per day.

One slice of whole-grain toast topped with one-third of an avocado has 7 grams of fiber or more than 20 percent of the recommended daily amount. Fiber can act as a sponge in your system, keeping artery-clogging cholesterol from building up in your artery walls. Serve alongside a bowl of berries for an extra fiber and nutrient boost.

Not sure if you want to swap your traditional breakfast for avocado toast? The March 2022 study found that replacing just half a serving a day of saturated fat like butter, yogurt, cheese, or processed meat with avocado can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 22 percent!

3. Health benefits of avocados

May aid in diabetes management

Avocados may provide benefits for people with diabetes. Although they have carbohydrates, their low glycemic index rating of almost zero means that they have little effect on blood sugar. The glycemic index is a scale from 1 to 100, with high numbers indicating foods that raise your blood sugar faster.

That means avocados are a healthy choice for those with diabetes, especially when they replace higher-glycemic foods.8 Some studies have shown that avocado consumption improved glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, there is considerable evidence to suggest that high-MUFA diets can also improve metabolic health among people with type 2 diabetes.

May reduce cardiovascular disease risk

Several studies have shown that avocado consumption may improve cholesterol levels in some people. Specifically, research has suggested that those who eat avocados have higher levels of HDL cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

May promote weight loss

Though avocados are high in calories, they still may provide benefits if you are trying to lose weight. The creamy texture and savory taste that comes from (healthy) fat can help you to feel full and satisfied at mealtime. Avocados also provide fiber. Eating foods with fiber can promote satiety.

Studies have shown an association between avocado consumption and lower body weight, lower body mass index (BMI), and decreased waist circumference. A few limited studies have also found that avocados are good for weight loss and regular consumption of avocados may be able to reduce your risk of becoming overweight.

4. Health benefits of whole grains

Reduce the risk of heart disease

One of the biggest benefits of eating whole grains is that they help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. Conclusions from 10 studies show that eating three servings (28 grams each) of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 22%.

Similarly, a 10-year study of more than 17,000 adults found that those who ate high amounts of whole grains had a 47 percent lower risk of heart disease than the rest. The researchers concluded that to take care of heart health, people should increase their intake of more whole grains and less refined grains.

Reduce the risk of stroke

In a study with 250,000 participants, eating whole grains was found to reduce the risk of stroke by more than 14% compared to eating regular foods. In addition, certain compounds found in whole grains, such as vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants, have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke. That’s why whole grains are often recommended in the DASH diet to promote heart health and reduce stroke risk.

Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

A joint conclusion drawn from 16 studies has shown that replacing refined grains with whole grains and eating at least 2 servings of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Part of that is because fiber-rich whole grains help control weight and prevent obesity, which is a major contributor to diabetes.

Furthermore, nutritionists have linked eating whole grains with reduced fasting blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity. This may be due to magnesium, a mineral found in whole grains that helps the body metabolize carbs and impacts insulin sensitivity.

Reduces cancer risk

Among the many studies that show, whole grains have the strongest benefit against colorectal cancer, which is one of the most common types of cancer. In addition, the fiber found in whole grains acts as a prebiotic to help reduce the risk of cancer. Other ingredients such as phytic acid, phenolic acid and saponins have been shown to slow down the growth of cancer.

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