8 breakfast hacks to add nutrients without calories

It is the most important meal of the day. 

So, naturally, it's a great oppourtunity to load up your breakfast with ingredients rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

However, a few additions here and there could drive up your calorie count far higher than necessary. 

But these healthy breakfast hacks are some options for loading up on volumes of nutrients, with virtually no calories.

From porridge to pancakes, it's time to get sprinkling. 

1. PANCAKES

The hack: Baobab 

Move over berries, the African superfruit Baobab is the most highly concentrated with antioxidants, according to research in The Journal of Nutrition. 

Combined with a huge dose of vitamin C, more than three times the amount of an orange, your skin health and immune system will be thanking you. 

Vitamin C not only promotes collagen formation, leading to glowing skin, it's also a favourite amongst fitness junkies. 

Research by the university of Birmingham found that volunteers who took vitamin C exhibited 75 per cent more post exercise recovery than those who consumed vitamin E or a placebo. 

This is because baobab may help keep blood sugar (and later cravings) stable, which means it's great for a breakfast option too.

Adding a sprinkle of baobab to your pancake mix can keep blood sugar levels stable 

Adding a sprinkle of baobab to your pancake mix can keep blood sugar levels stable 

The fruit's benefits don't stop there. 

Being a rich source of potassium and B vitamins, baobab can be useful for the healthy functioning of the nervous system and in particular the regulation of the sleep cycle, which when lacking can cause problems such as insomnia and depression. 

Being so nutritious, it's no wonder the Hadza Tribe in Tanzania, who eat baobab as a staple in their diet, have the most diverse gut bacteria of anyone in the world – 40 per cent more than the average Westerner.

How to use: Baobab has a citrussy taste, so it works beautifully in a fruit smoothie for a slight sour kick. However, we would recommend trying it in your batter the next time you make pancakes. 

It will give them a gorgeous yellow colour, and with a topping of berries, your antioxidant levels will be through the roof. 

A typical pancake mix may include 1/3 cup of brown rice flour, a cup of oats, 1 1/2 cups of almond milk and a mashed banana. 

Add the baobob powder and a couple of dates for sweetness. Blend, and fry in coconut oil – heaven. 

2. PORRIDGE 

The hack: Flaxseeds

If you're looking for better hair skin and nails, flaxseeds are a great option to consider adding to your diet. 

They are high in alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3 essential fatty acids, the good fats which boast huge health benefits and could help with skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and acne. 

ALA is also considered good for heart health by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Flaxseeds are also linked to reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lung disease.

The American Nutrition Association highlighted the importance of this 'neglected food,' stating that flaxseed is 'an excellent source of fiber and a good source of minerals and vitamins'. 

A sprinkling of flaxseeds in your porridge can aid weight loss by keeping you full for longer

A sprinkling of flaxseeds in your porridge can aid weight loss by keeping you full for longer

The soluble fibre in flaxseeds can lower cholesterol and glucose levels, whereas insoluble fibre keeps things moving in the digestive system. 

Since flaxseeds are a good source of both fats and fibre, it can potentially aid weight loss by helping you feel fuller for longer. 

Coming in a variety of ways, it's really easy to find a product that suits you.

How to use: Flaxseed is so versatile it can be added to pretty much everything without affecting the taste. 

You can sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto porridge and it goes really well with honey. Alternatively, add a tbsp to your smoothie in oil form. 

The seed themselves can be baked into loafs and breads, or even used as an alternative to egg – use two tablespoons of flax with two tablespoons of water soaked for two hours to replace one egg. 

3. LATTE 

The hack: Turmeric

If you're not aware of the turmeric tirade, have you been living under a rock for the past two years? 

Another Asian pantry essential that seems to have made its mark on the health science, turmeric has been used as an Ayuverdic and traditional medicine for centuries. 

In a new report on food trends in the US, Google noted that searches for turmeric increased by 56 per cent from November 2015 to January 2016, most likely since it's popping up in every health food shop in the form of supplements, teas and powders.

It is in fact the compound curcumin in turmeric that makes it so effective; an antioxidant whose anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for, well, just about every condition under the sun. 

Turmeric in your latte can combat bloating, muscle pain and even diabetes

Turmeric in your latte can combat bloating, muscle pain and even diabetes

One comprehensive scientific report published in 2013 compiled the results of a collection of clinical trials of curcumin over the prior 50 years, claiming, to quote, 'promising effects' for a tremendously long list of ailments. 

We are talking arthritis, muscle pain, cancer growth, liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, diabetes, psoriasis and cardiovascular diseases, to name a few. But ask any devotee what they use it for, and they will most likely say because it's trendy right now.

How to use: You will be familiar with the spice, coming from a root, in curries. It is now recognised amongst hipsters globally as the star ingredient in 'golden mlyk', which is a yellow coloured latte most often using a milk alternative. 

To make your own, try this recipe from Food Babe: Bring ½ cup filtered water to a low simmer and then mix in ¼ cup of ground turmeric, stirring constantly until it makes a thick paste (this can take 5-10 minutes) adding more water as needed. 

To make the golden milk, mix 1/2 teaspoon of paste with 1 cup of milk (any type) in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. 

Stir in about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee before drinking (you can also add other spices like cinnamon, ginger, or black pepper, and honey or maple syrup for some sweetness). Store the remaining turmeric paste in your fridge for two weeks. 

4. CHIA PUDDING

The hack: Chlorella

As one of the oldest species of algae in the world, chlorella has earned its superfood status with benefits to the whole body. Due to containing vitamins such as C, B12 and D, it's supportive of the immune system, which in turn leads to better health.

Chlorella is also known to be detoxifying to the body, which is beneficial for a number of reasons. 

For example, the Journal of Medicinal Food researchers state, 'chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels'. 

Studies have shown chlorella is also able to wrap itself around even toxins such as lead, mercury and uranium. It's a great liver cleanser and could help PMS by helping the body detoxify excess hormones.

Load up your filling chia seed pudding with chlorella, which bolsters the immune system

Load up your filling chia seed pudding with chlorella, which bolsters the immune system

How to use: Look for 'cracked cell wall

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