In fact, avo toast is one of Dr. Sabgir’s all-time favorite breakfast recipes for boosting heart health, and one he noshes on almost every single day. “It’s simple, quick, and perfect for getting in those good fats and fiber, which support my heart health. And I especially love that it fills me up,” Dr. Sabgir says. Ahead, we delve into what makes avocado toast the perfect balanced breakfast for optimal heart health, according to the cardiologist. Plus, a few ways to make this easy breakfast recipe even heart-ier (for extra protein, health perks, and happiness) first thing in the morning.
- David Sabgir, MD, David Sabgir, MD, is the founder of Walk With a Doc and a spokesperson for Fresh Avocados – Love One Today.
How to construct a heart-healthy breakfast, according to a cardiologist
According to Dr. Sabgir, you really only need two (yes, just two!) ingredients to make a heart-healthy breakfast: avocado + toast. “When it comes to heart health, I always recommend that people look for nutrient-dense foods that contain dietary fiber and good-for-you unsaturated fats. They're both excellent for longevity, and most people aren’t consuming enough of them—especially fiber,” he says. Fortunately, avocados and toast satisfy both of these needs—talk about a match made in avo toast heaven.
On the one hand, avocado is an excellent source of not only dietary fiber, but also unsaturated fats. For context, a 100-gram serving of avocado (about a half of a medium avocado) contains six grams of fiber and nearly 10 grams of monounsaturated fat. “Research shows that monounsaturated fats—or MUFAs—like that found in avocado, can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which can, in turn, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Sabgir says. Plus, whole grain toast is a good source of dietary fiber that pairs perfectly with creamy and dreamy avocado.
That said, it's important to note that this recipe is lacking in the protein department. To that end, the cardiologist recommends pairing it with another source of protein to make sure your energy levels last all morning. Cheesy fried eggs with black beans or smoothie on the side, anyone? “It’s just such a versatile meal. It’s so good on its own or you can increase the protein by adding a hard boiled egg or cottage cheese,” Dr. Sabgir says. Or you can scrap the bread altogether and swap it for a slice of sweet potato for a cozy and nourishing, gluten-free, high-fiber breakfast.
A cardiologist’s 5 favorite breakfast ingredients that promote heart health
No surprise here, but avocados are one of Dr. Sabgir’s must-haves when it comes to breakfast. Although avocado toast is simple, yet effective, it certainly isn't the only way you can enjoy this nutrient-dense food. In fact, you can take things up a notch by making one of these 10 nutritious avocado recipes (that aren’t toast or guac), but rather include other tasty options like a BLT-stuffed avocado, avocado mac and cheese (!), and avocado deviled eggs. And if you’re feeling extra jazzed about this fruit, you can even use it to make a five-ingredient avocado bread. Trust, fam: It’s delicious.
2. Whole grain toast, oats, or other grains
Fiber and monounsaturated fats go together like peanut butter and jelly. (No, really.) Fiber-rich toast paired with a heart-healthy nut butter (plus, a little antioxidant-rich strawberry jelly) is a stellar combination. “A source of dietary fiber and can be paired with foods that contain good fats like nut butter and avocado,” Dr. Sabgir says.
3. Smoked salmon or lox
Did someone say brunch? According to Dr. Sabgir, eating a nutrient-dish fish, like salmon, for breakfast is a great way to get the ball rolling on your heart health journey first thing in the day. “Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, and is a delicious addition to an omelet or slice of avocado toast,” he says. What’s more, the American Heart Association (AHA) says that polyunsaturated fats can help reduce “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. More foods high in this nutrient include: Other types of oily fish, including anchovies, herring, mackerel, black cod, sardines, bluefin tuna, whitefish, striped bass, and cobia; some nuts and seeds, including walnuts, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds; as well as, tofu and soybeans.
4. Nuts and seeds
When in doubt, Dr. Sabgir says adding a few nuts and seeds into your breakfast mix can go a long way. “Nuts and seeds, like walnuts, almonds, and chia seeds, contain both ‘good’ fats and fiber. Plus, they’re easy to throw into oatmeal or a smoothie,” he says. Not to mention, they’re also excellent brain-healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Yep, for many, breakfast isn’t complete without some type of egg dish. Fortunately, Dr. Sabgir also agrees that it’s an egg-cellent, brain-healthy breakfast ingredient. “Eggs contain both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Plus, eggs can be used in a variety of ways from scrambled to poached, and so much more,” he says. Frankly, we couldn’t agree more. There are tons of creative ways to eat eggs, think baking them on a sheet pan with tons of anti-inflammatory veggies or by making scalloped potatoes with hard boiled eggs.
What a heart-healthy morning routine entails for a cardiologist
Indeed, what you eat can play a significant role in your heart health, but Dr. Sabgir stresses that’s not the only thing you should consider when planning out your morning routine. In fact, the cardiologist considers that exercise is just as important as what you consume for breakfast. “Making sure that you are getting enough movement throughout the day is so important when it comes to heart health. It’s actually a passion of mine—I started a nonprofit organization, Walk with a Doc, to encourage physical activity for heart health and longevity. I truly believe that walking is medicine and that at any age and any ability level, the simple act of walking and rolling can have the power to change lives.”
In addition to exercising and eating heart-healthy foods, Dr. Sabgir recommends staying well-hydrated. “Water is a great option to start your morning. It keeps you hydrated, and good hydration may be associated with reducing long-term risks for heart failure. You can even flavor the water naturally by adding lemon, cucumber, mint sprigs, or other fresh fruit slices,” he says. He also suggests drinking sweet drinks in moderation. “While you should never have to cut anything completely out of your diet, I do recommend limiting sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sweetened teas, or coffee drinks that contain added sugars.”
Ultimately, Dr. Sabgir's biggest takeaway for establishing a heart-healthy morning routine is sticking to it consistently. “I am a big advocate for morning routines. Starting the day with healthy behaviors like taking a walk, meditating, eating a nutritious breakfast—with good fats and fiber!—sets the tone for the rest of the day and has implications for health in the long run.”
A registered dietitian shares the benefits of eating avocados:
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