Take it to Heart Nutrition: The Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast and Heart Healthy Nuts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Take it to Heart Nutrition: The Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast and Heart Healthy Nuts

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Take it to Heart Dietician Sandy Zobell answers questions about heart healthy nuts and the benefits of a healthy breakfast for your heart.

Heart Healthy Nuts:

Q: You hear so much about nuts being a good snack- what makes them heart healthy?

A: Most nuts contain unsaturated fats - the good fats that help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, fiber, vegetable protein and other heart healthy compounds called phytosterols and antioxidants.

Q: Are there some nuts that are more beneficial than others?

 A variety of nuts are good when eaten as part of a balanced heart healthy diet - one rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated and trans fats.  Just remember, the heart health benefits are void if the nuts are covered in sugar, honey, chocolate or salt!

Q: Are nuts full of calories? What kind of serving size are we talking about for a snack?

A: YES! There are lots of calories in a small serving.  Nuts should be eaten on moderation.  A serving size is considered ~1 ½ oz = a small handful!  Remember, it is important to avoid eating too much of any fat or other sources of calories because of the potential for weight gain.

Q: Why should we eat nuts instead of cheese crackers or potato chips?

Nuts are a good choice to replace both animal products and processed hydrogenated foods, which are high in the bad saturated fats and trans fats related to heart health. Do this as part of a heart healthy diet.  Just eating nuts and not cutting back on saturated fats found in meats and dairy products won't do your heart any good!

Healthy Breakfast:

Q: Why is eating a healthy breakfast so important to heart health?

 A: Breakfast jump-starts your day.  You are more likely to eat more vitamins and minerals, eat less fat and cholesterol, helps control your weight and will have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning. It also helps instill more healthful eating habits in kids as they grow up.

Q: What are the components of a healthy breakfast?

A: Many foods can count towards a healthy breakfast.  Most important is to be inclusive of whole grains, low fat protein, low fat dairy and fruit - even vegetables!  Together these groups provide complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber and a small amount of fat - needed nutrients to set yourself up for healthier eating all day long.

Q: What would be an example of a healthy breakfast menu?

1)     Whole grain ready to eat cereal with fat free milk and whole fruit or 100% fruit juice

2)     One non-fried egg, whole wheat toast and a single serve can of reduced-sodium tomato juice

3)     Cooked oatmeal made w/fat free milk, chopped apples and walnuts

4)     Whole grain waffle with sliced strawberries, dollop of low-fat yogurt and sprinkled almonds

Q: What are some non-traditional choices for a healthy breakfast?  

1)     Cold vegetable/cheese pizza plus 100% fruit juice

2)      Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around a low-fat cheese stick plus an apple

3)      Baked potato with leftover broccoli and sprinkle of parmesan cheese - microwaved along with fat free milk

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