Eating cereal for breakfast: is it healthy?

Eating cereals for breakfast is common for many people, whether mixed with milk, vegetable drinks or yogurts. So there are different options, because these can be made with corn, rice, oats, and chocolate. But in addition to that, they can have other ingredients.

In relation to this, according to the association The power of the consumer, cereals such as oats, rice, wheat and corn provide a high nutritional value, as they contain proteins, carbohydrates, natural fats and fiber.

But nevertheless, When these foods are subjected to a refining process to produce box cereals, their nutritional parts are lost. In this sense, the specific difference between a whole grain cereal and a box cereal is the manufacturing process.

What types of cereals are there?

According to the article published in the Argentine Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, processed breakfast cereals have their origins in the vegetarian movement of the last quarter of the 19th century. Today the production has expanded, so there is a wide variety of them.

Specifically, you can find different cereal options for breakfast, such as the following:

  • Flakes– They are made from refined flours and contain added salt, sugar, malt, or other ingredients. They are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals in order to compensate for the refinement.
  • Inflated: they are made with the addition of pressurized air to the various grains. They are light and crisp compared to other cereals.
  • Whole grain and rich in fiber: these are made with the whole grain of the cereal.
  • Muesli type: it is a mixture of cereals (oats, puffed rice, corn, wheat), dried fruits (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts) and dried fruits (raisins, apple, banana, coconut)
  • Porridge or porridge: they are made with oats, among other ingredients.

Oatmeal plays an important role in the breakfast of many people around the world.

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Is it healthy to have cereal for breakfast?

It should be noted that Breakfast cereals can be healthy if they come from whole grains. On the other hand, if they have breakfast box cereals it will usually not be healthy. In this sense, we must learn to differentiate what each one contributes.

Whole grain cereals

Cereals made from whole grains, such as oats, rye, barley, corn, whole wheat, and brown rice they provide vitamins, minerals and nutrients that the body needs. They also contain dietary fiber, which performs various functions in the body, so it is beneficial.

Likewise, there are other grains that can be consumed, which are not classified as cereals, but as pseudocereals. Among them we can mention quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, which also provide nutrients and are healthy for the body.

Box cereals

As mentioned, the box cereal It is made from refined cereal grains. In turn, they have added substances that in excess make them not a healthy product.

According to scientific evidence, these edible products are made in the following way:

  • The grains are processed with white flour.
  • Then ingredients such as sugar, cocoa and water are added.
  • This mixture is subjected to an extrusion process. It involves the use of high temperature that a machine employs to shape the cereal.
  • This mass is dried.
  • Finally it is molded into shapes, be it balls, stars, rings, flakes or rectangles.

For all this, box cereals are processed foods that contain excess sugar and provide practically no fiber.

Benefits of eating whole grains for breakfast

The health benefits they can produce will depend on which cereal is eaten for breakfast, since on the one hand you can consume whole grains such as oats and on the other, those mentioned in the previous point.

They can prevent constipation and promote overall health

Breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, accompanied by fruits and seeds, is a healthy option since the contribution of vitamins, amino acids and fiber is ideal for liver and heart health. Likewise, both oats and other grains that provide fiber promote intestinal transit and avoid constipation.

They provide vitamins and minerals

They can be suitable to provide micronutrients such as vitamins A, folic acid and minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium and copper. Thanks to these can contribute to the strengthening of the immune system.

They provide healthy fats and reduce bad cholesterol

Grains such as buckwheat or quinoa contain essential fatty acids of the omega 3 type. Likewise, they also provide protein (which contributes to satiety) and dietary fiber. Thanks to these components, they can reduce bad cholesterol, regulate blood glucose and prevent diseases such as diabetes.

Help maintain a healthy weight

Specific, a quality food that has fiber and protein creates satiety, so you avoid overeating and snacking. For this reason, it can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Discover: Breakfast with carbohydrates: does it have benefits?

How to choose a healthy box cereal?

Whole grains and natural cereals are a better option for breakfast than refined boxed variants.

Of course choose whole grain cereals or those with minimal processing. By this we mean that they do not have excess sugars or added chemicals.

For this reason, if you are going to opt for box cereals, it is recommended that these have the following:

  • Between 15 and 20 grams of carbohydrates per serving, maximum.
  • Less than 250 milligrams of sodium.
  • At least 25% minerals such as calcium or iron (that is, they are fortified).
  • At least 3 grams of fiber.
  • Up to 8 grams of white sugar.
  • Less than 3 grams of fat.

A suggestion to choose a quality product is that you read the nutritional label. If the first ingredients are sugar, fats or oils and refined flours, it is advisable that you do not eat this food or that you do not consume it regularly.

Is eating cereal for breakfast healthy?

It is necessary to be critical and take into account that the punctual intake of a processed food, be it box cereals or others, will not generate specific damage to health. Specifically, it is the frequency and amount with which they are consumed.

On the other hand, keep in mind that you can have a healthy breakfast if you opt for natural foods such as oatmeal, puffed rice grains (no sugar added), quinoa or amaranth pop and granola, among others.

Also, remember that both breakfast and the rest of the meals of the day must provide quality nutrients. Therefore, whenever you can, consume natural products or with a minimum of processing.