Many people have asked me what I eat for breakfast. My morning meal has evolved over the years as I have increased my understanding of what types of foods will keep me optimally healthy, and what pattern of eating works best as well.
Did You Know?
- This foundation of my breakfast is coconut oil, a food that supplies ketones to fuel your mitochondria
- Avocado adds additional healthy fats and flaxseeds contribute plant-based omega-3s and lignans
- My morning meal also contains raw cacao nibs, chia seeds, psyllium, cinnamon, and more, each with a unique nutritional contribution
Your body probably only needs two meals a day to stay healthy. Personally, I start my day out with a nutrient-dense breakfast and then eat lunch later, finishing up my meal by 3 or 4 p.m.
This gives me about 16 hours of fasting before preparing my breakfast at 7 or 8 a.m. The breakfast I currently enjoy is designed to improve the health of your mitochondria, the main power generators in your cells.
Dr. Mercola's Breakfast Recipe
- Grind the flaxseeds and cacao nibs in a coffee grinder.
- Combine the ground flaxseeds, cacao nibs, and all other ingredients in a bowl.
- Use a hand mixer to blend thoroughly.
- Consume right away.
A Power Breakfast for Your Mitochondria
About 95 percent of the energy your body uses is created by your mitochondria that metabolizes food through a complex series of electron transport chain that ultimately transfer the energy to ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
If you consume more calories than your body can immediately use, there will be an excess of free electrons, which back up inside your mitochondria. These electrons are highly reactive, and they start to leak out of the electron transport chain in the mitochondria. These excess electrons wind up prematurely killing the mitochondria, and then wreak further havoc by damaging your cell membranes and contributing to DNA mutations.
There are many knowledgeable experts who believe mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the keys to accelerated aging and the development of diseases like cancer.
Fasting is one method to strengthen the mitochondria network systems throughout your body, which is why I recommend stopping eating at least three hours (and ideally five or six hours) before you go to bed (which will then give you a sizeable fasting period while you sleep).
Another method to strengthen your mitochondria is to supply a regular flow of ketones, as they’re a magnificent fuel to up-regulate many mitochondrial processes. This is why the foundation of my breakfast is coconut oil, a food rich in fatty acids that are readily converted into ketones.
Coconut Oil: A Breakfast Superstar
Besides being an excellent fuel for your mitochondria, coconut oil is beneficial for your thyroid. It’s also rich in lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin, a monoglyceride capable of destroying lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as Giardia lamblia.
Its medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) also impart a number of health benefits, including raising your body's metabolism and fighting off pathogens. Additionally, coconut oil is beneficial for brain health and may serve as a natural treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
MCTs, a primary source of ketone bodies, act as an alternate source of brain fuel that can help prevent the brain atrophy associated with dementia. Coconut oil is also easy on your digestive system and does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. But it will give you a quick energy boost.
Make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain genetically engineered ingredients.
Avocado: One a Day to Keep the Doctor Away
Avocados, which are actually classified as a fruit, are low in fructose and rich in healthy monounsaturated fat (which is easily burned for energy), and research has confirmed the avocado's ability to benefit vascular function and heart health.
Because they have a very high fat to protein and carb ratio and are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, I typically eat two to three of them every day. Avocados are also very high in potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana), and will help balance your vitally important potassium-to-sodium ratio. They also have a great fat to protein ratio with 21 grams of mostly monounsaturated fat with only 2 grams of protein.
Avocados also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folic acid. Another boon of avocados — they're one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally grown, so you don't need to spend more for organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides.
What Else Makes My Breakfast Recipe so Good for You?
Over half of the fat in flaxseeds comes from beneficial plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flaxseeds are also the richest dietary source of lignan precursors). When you consume lignan precursors, bacteria in your gut convert the “plant” lignans into “human” lignans, including enterodiol and enterolactone, which have weak estrogenic activity.
This can be beneficial for women’s health, because if you have naturally high estrogen levels, the weak “estrogens” from lignans may bind to some of your estrogen receptor sites, thereby actually reducing total estrogen activity.
Lignans’ ability to block the effects of estrogen could potentially help reduce the risk of hormone-associated cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate), and they may help lower your risk of heart disease as well. Flaxseeds are highly perishable, which is why it’s better to purchase them whole and grind them yourself.
Raw Cacao Nibs
Also known as cacao beans or cocoa beans, cacao is an authentic superfood. It has nearly 400 chemicals most of which are polyphenols. They are naturally high in antioxidants and other natural compounds that are beneficial for cardiovascular health and weight management. If the cacao beans are not roasted, then you have "raw” cacao, which is then crumbled into small bits or “nibs.”
Cacao is what makes chocolate healthy but is best consumed in its raw state freshly ground without any sugar. The problem is though that they are very bitter and need to be integrated with other foods.
I find the Mercola Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder as an excellent masking food that makes them delicious. I find one tablespoon (half a scoop) of our protein powder that only has 1 gram of non-fiber carbohydrate, is enough to make one ounce of freshly ground raw cacao nibs into a delicious drink.
Chia seeds are a quick and easy-to-use source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, all rolled into one neat package. Although they have similar health benefits to flax seeds, chia seeds may soon edge these out because they don't have to be ground prior to consumption, and they don't go rancid as quickly either.
Psyllium contains primarily soluble fibers that serve as powerful prebiotics serving to optimize growth of your microbiome which then digest them to short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, propionate, and acetate that are then converted to healthy ketones to feed your tissues.
A report funded by the Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation (CRNF) found that if U.S. adults over the age of 55 with heart disease took psyllium dietary fiber daily, it could save nearly $4.4 billion a year – and more than $35 billion in cumulative health care costs between 2013 and 2020. 1
Black Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are another source of beneficial lignans, and they also contain a wealth of minerals including copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium.
Some regions, such as China, also value black sesame seeds for their purported anti-aging benefits, and they are rich in B vitamins and iron, deficiencies of which have been linked to memory problems, hearing trouble, and even gray hair.
Chocolate Vegan Protein Powder
This is a simple way to add more high-quality protein (and also fiber and plant-based omega-3s) to your diet, it’s suitable for those following vegan or vegetarian diets, and I really enjoy the chocolate flavor as do most of my friends. I use it primarily as a great flavoring agent that has only one gram of non-fiber carbohydrate for the one scoop used in this recipe.
Rich in essential oil, cinnamon contains active components including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, which account for some of its many therapeutic benefits. I use the Korintje species in this recipe.
Cinnamon is also known to enhance your antioxidant defenses, and it's been found to kill E. coli and many other bacteria. Its anti-inflammatory compounds help relieve pain and stiffness of muscles and joints due to arthritis. It also helps prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay, and gum disease, and helps with blood sugar control. Plus, it has a wonderful, warming flavor.
D-Ribose and Acetyl L-Carnitine
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a coenzyme used as an energy carrier in every cell of your body. It's composed of three major chemical groups, one of which is D-ribose, a five-carbon sugar. As a structural component or building block of ATP, D-ribose is involved in the energy synthesis in your cells.
When you take supplemental D-ribose, the vast majority of it — about 97 percent — is absorbed into your blood and is quickly distributed into the various tissues in your body. Once inside your cells, your body uses the D-ribose to synthesize and restore your ATP to maintain cellular energy levels
Each of these ingredients is beneficial on its own, but when you combine them into one power breakfast, the end result is a phenomenal super-breakfast. Try it out for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you feel as a result, especially if you’re used to eating typical breakfast fare like cereal, bagels, or pancakes.
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