Are Pancakes Healthy?
It’s our favourite time of year! Pancake Tuesday!
A time for our daily food regime to consist of flour, eggs, milk and sugar, morning, noon and night. The beloved Pancake Tuesday is long held a day of feast, throwing all concerns for healthy eating out the window. However, as part of our policy of Positive Food Psychology in our health and wellbeing programme, QWellness, we empower people in understanding that food is good for you.
Therefore, what makes pancakes unhealthy is in fact the sugary toppings. As such, they are actually packed full of nutrients!
Nutrients in Pancakes
The ingredients in pancakes contain the following nutrients:
- Eggs & wholewheat flour if using.
- All body cells and tissues contain protein. Protein is essential for the growth & repair of cells. High protein foods also provide some energy for the body.
- Builds strong bones & teeth. Regulates muscle contractions, including your heartbeat. Ensures blood clots normally. Lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets.
- Vitamin A
- Milk & eggs
- Aids immune system in fighting illness and infection. Helps vision in dim light. Promotes healthy skin. Supports healthy lining of the body such as the nose.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Breakdown & release of energy from food. Healthy nervous system.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Milk & eggs
- Healthy skin, eyes and nervous system. Release of energy from food
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Wheat, Eggs & Milk
- Release of energy from food. Healthy skin & nervous system
- Vitamin B6
- Eggs, milk & wholegrain wheat flour if using
- Storage and use of energy from protein and carbohydrates in food. Formation of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.
- Vitamin B12
- Milk & eggs
- Making red blood cells, healthy nervous system. Releasing energy from food. Using folic acid. Lack of can lead to Vitamin B12 anaemia.
- Carbohydrates should be your body’s main source of energy in a healthy, balanced diet. They’re broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into your blood. The glucose then enters your body’s cells with the help of insulin. Glucose is used by your body for energy, fuelling your activities, whether that’s going for a run or simply breathing. For more on carbohydrates see the NHS website HERE.
- You can use wholemeal flour for increased fibre and protein – Brown Wheatflour contains 12.6g of protein per 100g.
For More information on food and nutrition see the Irish Nutrition & Dietetics Institute website.
Are Pancakes Toppings Healthy?
If you’re going for chocolate spread, sugar, syrup etc it’s a solid no! However If you top pancakes with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds you will add further nutrients. This includes Vitamin C if you go for strawberries or blackcurrants.
In addition to this, cashew nuts and peanuts will provide you with monounsaturated fatty acids. Whilst, walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts will supply you with polyunsaturated Omega 6’s. Both help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and reduce chances of heart disease & stroke.
Furthermore, topping pancakes with fruit, dried fruit, nuts or seeds will increase dietary fibre. This helps to keep your digestive system healthy and prevent constipation. It also improves weight maintenance. Furthermore, dietary fibre is proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease & stroke) and type 2 diabetes. It also reduces the risk of colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) and helps to increase good bacteria in the gut!
Certain foods such as oats and barley (which you can add to your pancake mix, may help to reduce cholesterol if 3g or more consumed daily.