The best breakfast for your particular lifestyle—whether you’re highly active or live a little more laidback—can depend on various factors that go beyond taste and convenience. For instance, if your aim is to lower your cholesterol, then you might want to consider opting for a certain kind of cereal.
Back in 1998, whole-grain oat, ready-to-eat cereals like Cheerios became an ideal choice for those who wanted to manage their cholesterol when food brand General Mills funded a study that found that eating their cereal reduces LDL cholesterol levels by 4.2% and total cholesterol levels by 3.8%. In 2019, this finding was backed up by independent research published in Frontiers of Nutrition, which again, noted that oat products can bring about a reduction in cholesterol.
Why is this cereal beneficial when it comes to cholesterol? “Oat cereal has fiber which binds to cholesterol in your digestive system—as a result, dietary cholesterol comes out with a bowel movement instead of being reabsorbed by your body,” Elizabeth Barnes, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the owner of nutrition and wellness practice Weight Neutral Wellness, tells Eat This, Not That!.
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However, “just because cereal like Cheerios can help with cholesterol, that doesn’t mean you need to make it the only fiber-rich food you eat,” says Barnes. “Focus on including oat cereal and other whole grains and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet for better health.”
Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook, echoes this advice. “To make sure you consume a variety of nutrients, I usually recommend switching around different fruits, nuts, and seeds to add to your cereal to keep it fun and provide your body with different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals to help prevent lifestyle diseases.”
Plus, if you’re looking to limit your carb intake, particularly if you have diabetes or prediabetes, Harris-Pincus suggests: “Pair cereal with a source of protein and healthy fats like an egg, Greek yogurt, dairy or soy milk, and nuts or seeds to help slow the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate.”
To find out more about what to eat in order to keep your cholesterol level in check, be sure to read 17 Foods That Lower Cholesterol.