Whats So Great About Cereal

I'm big on cereals because they are all these positive things:

  • Quick and easy. People of all ages and cooking abilities can easily pour a bowl with no cooking or messy cleanup.
  • Convenient. By simply stocking the cupboard, gym bag, or desk drawer, breakfast will be ready for the morning rush. A plastic bag of dry cereal is better than nothing.
  • Rich in carbohydrate. Your muscles need carbohydrate for energy. Cereal, a banana, and juice constitute a superior carbohydrate-based meal; milk offers a protein accompaniment.
  • Rich in fiber. When you select bran and whole-grain cereals, you reduce your risk of becoming constipated, an inconvenience that can certainly interfere with enjoyment of exercise. You also consume a health-protective food.
  • Rich in iron. By selecting fortified or enriched brands, you can easily boost your iron intake and reduce your risk of becoming anemic. Drink orange juice or another source of vitamin C with the cereal to enhance iron absorption from the cereal.
  • Rich in calcium. Cereal is rich in calcium when it's eaten with low-fat milk or yogurt or calcium-fortified soy milk. Women and children, in particular, but also men benefit from this calcium booster that helps maintain strong bones and protects against osteoporosis.
  • Low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Cereals are a heart-healthier choice than the standard breakfast alternatives of buttered toast, a bagel slathered with cream cheese, or bacon and fried eggs.
  • Versatile. Rather than becoming bored by always eating the same brand, try mixing cereals to concoct endless varieties of flavors. I typically have 10 to 18 varieties in my cupboard. My friends laugh when they discover this impressive stockpile. I further vary the flavors by adding different mix-ins, such as banana, raisins, dried blueberries, slivered almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, or vanilla extract.
  • Helpful for weight control. A survey of 17,881 male physicians who were followed for eight years found that the doctors who ate cereal most often for breakfast weighed less than those who ate less cereal (Bazzano et al. 2005). In another survey of 4,218 women, those who ate cereal for breakfast were 30 percent less likely to be overweight than those who skipped breakfast or ate something else for breakfast (Song et al. 2005). Does this mean cereal aids in weight control? Hard to say. But a cereal breakfast does provide milk and calcium, and some researchers believe that helps control weight (Zemel et al. 2004).
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