Ingredients to Boost the Health Benefits of Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, but most people don’t have time to whip up a hot one before heading off to tackle their day. That’s why breakfast cereals are so popular. Whether enjoyed straight out of the box or heated in a slow cooker, breakfast cereal is a convenient way not to leave home hungry.
Of course, choosing a healthy breakfast cereal should be priority number one, but you can further boost the nutritional power of breakfast cereal by what you add to it. Here are the five best ways to boost the health benefits of breakfast cereal.
Use Blueberries to Make Healthy Breakfast Cereal
Blueberries are packed with natural antioxidants called anthocyanidins – compounds that have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which are important for boosting memory and brain health. No wonder blueberries are classified as a superfruit. Buy them fresh or frozen and sprinkle them with abandon on your breakfast cereal. They’ll add lots of flavor – and keep your memory razor-sharp.
Boost the Health Benefits of Breakfast Cereal with Walnuts
Walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic-acid or ALA. Why is this so important? The body converts ALA to DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, although this conversion isn’t efficient in everyone. This means walnuts offer some of the benefits of omega-3’s without eating fish. Plus, they’re a good source of fiber, protein, and heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats. Buy them raw and keep them refrigerated to prevent rancidity. Then, chop or grind them to a fine powder in a food processor and sprinkle them on breakfast cereal.
The Health Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Are Greater When You Add Cocoa
Another way to boost the health benefits of breakfast cereal is to add cocoa powder. Cocoa powder stimulates the body to produce more nitric oxide, which helps to open up blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. You’ve probably heard about the heart-healthy benefits of dark chocolate, cocoa powder provides those benefits without fat or added sugar. A little cocoa powder turns boring breakfast cereal into a guilt-free dessert treat.
Enjoy Healthy Breakfast Cereal with a Little Flaxseed
Like walnuts, flaxseed is another good source of ALA. It also contains lignans, which help to block the negative effects of estrogen on breast tissue. One small study showed that breast cancer grew more slowly and was less likely to metastasize in women who ate flaxseed regularly. Grind it up in a coffee grinder before adding it to hot or cold cereal. If you use it unground, you won’t get the benefits.
Applesauce Adds Flavor and Antioxidant Power to Breakfast Cereal
It’s true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away – and it makes breakfast cereal taste better too. Apples are loaded with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and pectin, which makes them filling. Plus, studies show that apples contain natural compounds that reduce the risk of cancer – especially breast cancer. Unfortunately, commercial applesauce usually contains too much added sugar and lacks the fiber of the whole apple. Buy organic apples instead and process them in a food processor to create apple puree to use in your cereal. Don’t forget to add a little cinnamon too. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
The Bottom Line
Don’t settle for uninspiring breakfast cereal. Add more nutritional punch to your healthy breakfast cereal with these five toppings. They’re both flavourful - and good for you. Who could ask for more?
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Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2010. Published with permission. Dr. Kristie Leong is a freelance writer and is not affiliated with avivahealth.com.