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MH’s 14 best-ever breakfast foods

Breakfast, as you may have heard, is the most important meal of the day and it's important you get it right. Protein in the morning equates to better appetite control and fuelling up with carbs before exercise is your best bet for a solid workout. Eat a well-rounded morning meal and your energy levels will remain steady right through till lunch. Choose not to and you'll crash before 10am. 

Worryingly, a lot of people try to cheat breakfast, preferring to grab a ready-made bar from the supermarket shelf, which, according to new research, is a big mistake.

A new study by Action on Sugar warns of purported "healthy" breakfast bars packing more hidden sugar than your average bowl of Coco Pops. Analysing 39 breakfast bars, all of them had at least one teaspoon of sugar.

Those commuter-friendly granola bars are actually a hidden nutritional nemesis.

If your choice is between a sugar-missile or starvation until 12pm, it's better to take the latter. “Some people feel sick eating in the morning so I wouldn’t recommend forcing it down,” saysonline strength and nutrition coach, Scott Baptie. “It’s certainly a good idea but it’s by no means as important as lore would have you believe.”

If you are going to fuel up first thing (and you really should), be picky about what you eat. Depending on your training goals, breakfast should take very different forms. We’ve teamed up with Baptie to provide the 14 best breakfast foods. Whether you’re trying to bulk-up, trim down or just prime the ol' grey matter, we’ve got your back. And your brunch.

Best bulking breakfast foods

Eggs are great, aren’t they? 12.6% of the weight of an egg is high-quality protein, which equates to 5.53g – if you have two for breakfast you’ve just clocked up 20% of your RDA. The essential amino acid profile and high digestibility of egg protein makes it one of your best sources to kickstart in the morning. Your day will go oeuf.

Cottage cheese
It might be your grandma’s favourite, but bodybuilders swear by cottage cheese. 11g of protein per 100g might not sound like the excess you’re gunning for, but this shot of casein protein will keep you primed all day. Casein is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly, keeping your muscles ready for action. Just don’t eat the whole tub.

Although jam-packed with minerals, slow-release carbs are the real name of the game when it comes to porridge, with a 158g serving providing 607 calories. These aren’t empty, though: that same bowl just plated up 26g of protein. The accompanying dietary fibre means that your oats won’t sit flat, but will fuel your exercise all day long.

Not only is yoghurt a great source of protein, it also takes care of your immune system: a study in theAmerican Society for Clinical Nutritionfound yoghurt can increase resistance to immune-related diseases. If you’re stressing your body in the gym, you need to take care of it. Spoon on top of your oats, not the cottage cheese.

Flax seeds
Healthy fats and fibre are crucial for packing on the right kind of pounds, and flax seeds are one of the best sources of both. They can mixed into a blended protein shake with ease and you can also add yoghurt and oats with some fruit for a calorific, bulk-up breakfast. Bonus: it’ll keep control of your cholesterol levels.

(Related: The 8 best ways to eat eggs)

Best breakfast foods for weight loss

Green tea
“Green tea contains the antioxidant ECGC, which has been reported to increase fat oxidation,” says Baptie. Oxidation is the process of your body burning fuel for energy, in this case using fat. Replace your morning coffee with a mug of green to kick obesity out of the park.

Low-fat natural yoghurt
So how can yoghurt be good for both weight gain and weight loss? It’s all down to the protein: with 10g of the good stuff per 100g of yoghurt, it eases satiation and helps minimise the loss of muscle that can accompany fat loss, says Baptie.

“Pears are charged with healthy phytonutrients,” says Baptie. For the biology-phobes among you, phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that are also anti-inflammatory. What this means for your weight loss campaign is that the cavalry has just arrived: anti-inflammatories aid cardiovascular health, so your exercise regime can torch fat faster.

With Wimbledon fast approaching, get your hands on a box of strawberries at the next opportunity. “They are rich in vitamins, low calorie, high in fibre and some studies have shown that they can help improve blood sugar control,” says Baptie.

“Cinnamon can help improve insulin sensitivity”, says Baptie. If you’re looking to up your game when it comes to body composition, that’s got a big green tick stamped across it. Even better, it boosts metabolism, keeping you gunning for weight loss all day long. Cinnamon challenge, anyone?

(Related: 6 reasons to drink more green tea)

Best breakfast foods for your brain

Blackcurrants contain anthocyanins, which help protect brain cells from the types of stress associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Even better, British berries are darker and contain more of the good stuff than anywhere else in the world, according to a study in theJournal of the Science of Food and Agricultural Compounds. Blighty berries beat brain bothers; saying that will give you a mental workout, too.

Neuroprotective compounds are essential to brain health, so get them in at the start of the day. For a whole, natural breakfast, pick out walnuts: they are rich in omega-3, melatonin and folate. One study from theJournal of Nutritionidentified walnuts as an effective way to decrease vulnerability to the oxidative stress of ageing, which is essentially cell damage which cannot be countered naturally by the body. For the older gent, they’re a shoe-in.

Oily fish is one of your best ways to keep your cells up top ticking over. Salmon is rich in DHAs, which have been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. It also helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. Pair smoked salmon with scrambled egg for a protein-packed and brainy breakfast.

The superfood par excellence. Fresh from lowering your blood pressure, fighting diseases and lowering triglycerides (blood fats), the flavonoids in blueberries also improve memory and cognitive function, found inScientific American. Expensive, yes, but more than worth the outlay.

By Jack Hart; Photography: Getty.

Video: CPS Breakfast After the Bell

MH’s 14 best-ever breakfast foods
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Date: 05.12.2018, 22:21 / Views: 43343