Think of those mesmerizing rows of instant breakfast cereals on supermarket shelves. Corn flakes or granola, with chocolate or without, they are crunchy, sweet, tasty, quick... and bad for you. Aren't there better breakfast options than the sugar-packed corporate stuff?
Corn flakes were invented in mid-19th century in the US by such pioneers as John Kellogg – fervent Christians who were trying to dissuade Americans from eating meat for breakfast (since it was supposed to incite “carnal passions”). The new product caused a real craze and soon spread to Europe; it wasn’t long before sugar started to be added, together with salt (since corn flakes don’t have much of a taste on their own, let’s be honest). After a few decades, the production of instant cereal turned into a gigantic marketing machine, mainly aimed at children: corn flakes and wheat buiscuits as presented as a healthy product that helps your kid grow and excel at school.
The reality is quite different, however: the process of steaming and then drying corn removes all nutrients from it, so they have to be replaced with additives (like calcium, vitamins, and so on)… plus sugar and salt. Studies show that consumption of added sugars dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even dementia, while a high intake of salt leads to high blood pressure.
Whole grains. High fiber content (especially inulin, which can do marvels for your digestion) make whole grain cereals and bread an ideal breakfast choice. Enjoy a bowl of cooked porridge with fruit or a toast with almond butter, and your body will thank you. Studies show that consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of heart disease.
Greek Yoghurt. Beneficial bacteria (or probiotics) contained in yogurt improve digestion; plus, it’s a great souce of protein, calcium, and vitamins. If you find greek yogurt at the supermarket too expensive, you can easily make your own by filtering excess whey out of normal yogurt through a piece of cloth. Enjoy it with some fruit and honey.
Berries. Fantastic source of energy and anthocyanines, strawberries, blueberries, and other berries have a great anti-oxidant effect, slowing aging and helping your skin glow.
Flax seeds. These small brown seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Remember that you have to grind them first, since they can’t be digested whole, and add them to your porridge or yoghurt.
A bowl of fresh porridge with banana, some Greek yoghurt with honey and blueberries, a whole-grain toast with butter… As you can see, there are many healthy breakfast options! And don’t forget about that freshly-brewed cup of coffee – according to scientists, it has great benefits, too. In fact, the influential Bloomberg healthiest nations index places Italy on top… and an Italian breakfast is based around an aromatic cappuccino!