If you couldn't tell, we are really into breakfast around here at Healthy Living.
We've looked at what doctors eat, what health editors eat ... even what celebrities eat when trying to set a healthful tone for their days. But recently, as we planned our summer vacations, we got to thinking: What health lessons can we take from traditional breakfasts around the world?
We scoured global recipes for the very healthiest fare. From stewed fava beans in Egypt to papaya and coffee in Brazil, here are some of the healthy, delicious dishes:
Complete Breakfast, Turkey
This <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/snapshots-from-istanbul-turkish-breakfast-is-awesome.html" target="_blank">heart-healthy spread</a> features fiber, antioxidants and vitamins from fresh cucumbers and tomato slices, as well as the monounsaturated fats found in olives. Monounsaturated fats can help to reduce overall cholesterol levels and, more specifically, the "bad" kind of LDL cholesterol. That, in turn, can reduce your heart disease risk. Add some protein-packed fresh sheep's cheese and, sometimes, a boiled egg, and you've got a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
Hafragrautur And Lýsi, Iceland
Hafragrautur is a <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/a-typical-breakfast-in-iceland-hafragrautur-and-lysi.html" target="_blank">traditional oat porridge</a>, made with either water or milk and often topped with fruit and nuts. The oats provide a healthy dose of soluble and insoluble fiber and have been proven in studies to help prevent high cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and improve digestive health. Lysi, or cod liver oil, delivers omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which are essential for cell development. The oil is also rich in dietary vitamin D -- a hormone sorely lacking in the dark winters of Scandinavia.
Complete Breakfast, Japan
Savory, filling and low-calorie miso soup, pickled veggies, seaweed, tofu, salad and cured and raw fish comprise this common <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/traditional-japanese-breakfast-369329" target="_blank">morning meal in Japan</a>. Thanks to omega-3 fatty acids in the fish and seaweed, fiber in the pickled and fresh veggies and the protein in the fish and tofu, this is a nutritious, low-fat, health promoting meal.
Nasi Lemak, Malaysia
<a href="http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/breakfasts-around-the-world-99635" target="_blank">Steamed rice and fried fish</a> provide carbohydrates for energy and protein for endurance. And the spice from sambal may help <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-boost-your-metabolism" target="_blank">rev up metabolisms</a>.
Fūl Medames, Egypt
Could there be anything more health-promoting than a bowl full of beans, chickpeas and lentils, served with a heaping portion of pickled veggies and arugula? The <a href="http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Stewed-Fava-Beans" target="_blank">common Egyptian street food</a>, fūl medames, is a protein-packed, fiber-filled breakfast of champions.
Lentils and whole-grain rice are spiced and cooked together and then served alongside pickles, veggies and occasionally yogurt for a <a href="http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/breakfasts-around-the-world-99635" target="_blank">vegetarian protein powerhouse</a>.
Unlike American flapjacks, these Russian pancakes <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/07/20/138515555/syrniki-curd-cheese-pancakes" target="_blank">have a low-fat protein</a> as their base: farmer's cheese. Though they are sometimes fried, they are traditionally baked, making them a little friendlier to a healthy diet. Top it off with some vitamin-filled fruit and you've got a delicious and far more nutritious take on pancakes.
Coffee And Papaya, Brazil
Papaya -- the healthful fruit that grows fresh throughout the country -- is a popular breakfast staple, delivering huge doses of vitamins A and C to diners. And coffee, for which there are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/coffee-health-benefits_b_2962490.html" target="_blank">myriad benefits</a>, is a must. It's also true that Brazilian breakfasts often contain the less-than-healthy grilled "pão frances," or french bread, with margarine.
Heart Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Amy McGorry from Prevention Magazine discusses the best breakfast options for a heart healthy diet.
Clarification: Language in this slideshow has been changed to reflect that Hafragrautur contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.