Oats offer a number of health benefits on its own, but this breakfast superstar benefits from some company. Adding toppings to your morning porridge not only makes it tastier, but many add-ins improve your health as well. Dress up your bowl depending on your nutritional needs. Here are the best toppers to increase your fibre, calcium and protein. Plus, all these toppings lower bad cholesterol, just like oats!
- Fibre: In addition to keeping you regular, fibre also lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Raspberries deliciously top the charts as the most fibre-rich fruit. With 4 g per half cup, this addition doubles your overall fiber intake when added to the 4 g of fibre in oatmeal. The recommended daily fibre intake for women is 28 g, and a raspberry-topped bowl of oats helps get you almost a third of the way there before noon. Not in the mood for a tart topping? Pears, apples and dried figs are all close seconds to get extra fibre in your diet. If you want to add a little texture to your porridge, barley contains a higher fibre content than oats, and you can mix the two together.
- Calcium: The not-so-secret mineral to strong bones, calcium is also necessary for heart, muscle, and nerve function, so don't skip out on your recommended intake. For women, 1,000 mg to 2,500 mg is the ideal amount to absorb daily. Vitamin D makes it possible for calcium to be absorbed by the body, so combining the two is most beneficial. Foods that contain adequate amounts of both vitamin D and calcium include fortified soy milk, dairy milk and certain yoghurts. These easy additions also add protein, among various health benefits. Note that if you don't receive a lot of sun exposure where you live, you may want to increase your vitamin D intake.
- Protein: Although they have a bad reputation for their fat content, nuts are a great source of protein. Adult women require about 46 g of protein per day, so adding some into your breakfast is key. Nuts also contribute heart-healthy fats, antioxidants and fibre, which can help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full longer. Keep the portion to about approximately 28g of nuts per day. The healthiest and tastiest toppers include walnuts, pecans and almonds.