Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Healthy Breakfast Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

            According to the results of a study presented last week at an American Heart Association meeting, eating whole grain cereal at least seven times a week decreases your risk of developing high blood pressure by 20 percent. And, the American Diabetes Association says that as many as two out of three people who have diabetes have high blood pressure. So, eating whole grains at breakfast is a great thing.

However, the report did not say which whole grain breakfast cereals the participants were eating. I’ve been trying to think of pour-from-the-box cereals that would be as good for you as plain old steel cut oats. I’ve only been able to come up with two cereals that are all whole grain with no added sugars:  Grape Nuts (the original, not the flakes) and Shredded Wheat. Even All Bran has added sugar!

I recommend going for a simple, whole grain, no-added sugar breakfast by cooking your own steel cut oats. If you soak them overnight, they cook in the morning in about 10 minutes. You’ll be rewarded with a delicious, warming breakfast that will keep you going all morning.

And as for the sugar, I am not against it at all, but you’re better off adding it yourself. If you add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar or maple syrup to a serving of steel cut oats, you’ll still be eating less sugar than you’d find in a cup of All Bran cereal.  

Wonder why those participants had lower blood pressure? Was it something in the whole grain, or was it because they ate a healthier breakfast at home than they would have if they had breakfast from the drive through? The researchers didn’t have an answer on that either.

10-Minute Steel Cut Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

3 cups water
3/4 cup steel-cut oats
Pinch of kosher salt

The night before, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the oats and salt and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

In the morning, bring the oats to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender, but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.

Each serving: 20 g carb, 111 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein, 35 mg sodium
Carb Choices: 1; Exchanges: 1 starch


  1. Hi Jackie, so pleased to find your blog! Question: since they don't carry steel-cut oats in my tiny town, will regular oats do just as well or should I seek out the steel-cut variety and stock up?

  2. Hi Kate,
    I'm glad you found me too! Regular rolled oats have less fiber than steel cut oats, but they still make a delicious and wholesome breakfast. If you've never had steel cut oats, they are worh seeking out to give them a try. They are heartier and chewier-textured than rolled oats and have more of an earthy flavor than the rolled oats. The two really don't compare in flavor and texture.

  3. Cooking your own food has become a great alternative these days if you want to stay healthy and fit. Especially in these times that fast foods and restaurants are booming everywhere, it can be tempting to just grab those instant meals, but of course, it is always important to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight as well.

    Healthy cooking tips

  4. Taking blood pressure on a regular basis can help detect the condition known as hypertension or high blood pressure. What do you have to know to take blood pressure? What is heard while taking blood pressure? Learn that simply taking the readings and following a more healthful lifestyle can allow a normal life.

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