I have to be honest and say I was never a big fan of breakfast. As I was growing up my mom used to prepare breakfast for me and my brother before we went to school. No matter what she prepared though the only thing I remember we were both eating, or to be more precise drinking, was a glass of milk. Nothing else. No cereals, no eggs, no juice, nothing.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like all these things, I could easily eat them later in the day but not first thing in the morning. Still, my mother was insisting on us starting a day with a good breakfast. Growing up I realised she was right to do so. Starting your day with a good breakfast is extremely good for your overall health and function:
Eat your fruit and veggies
We have all heard before that we should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day in order to get all the vitamins and minerals necessary for our body and mind to function properly. If we skip a meal, the chances of eating the recommended daily allowance of vitamins are lowering significantly.
Research has shown that people who skipped breakfast were more likely to have worse cholesterol levels, as well as insulin sensitivity. They also were more prone to obesity compared to breakfast-eaters, as they were more likely to eat more calories during the day. Think for a while what will happen if you don’t eat in the morning. By lunchtime you will be starving, leading you to overeat or eat fast but unhealthy options, like cookies or crisps. Skipping a meal add calories instead of reducing them after all.
Increase your energy levels
Starting your day with a nutritious breakfast is really important for you. As the word itself states “break + fast”, eating something when we wake up breaks up the fast that our body was in while sleeping during the night. Breakfast is the fuel our body needs to replenish our blood glucose levels, which fuel our body and mind.
If we do not eat anything after the, hopefully 7-8 hours of night sleep, our body and brain will feel like running in no fuel. Can you start a car if there is no petrol in the tank? No. Then, how do you expect your body and mind to function properly without breakfast?
Positive impact on women with infertility problems
A new study, published in 2013 in the journal Clinical Science, conducted by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University showed that eating a good breakfast can increase fertility among women who suffer from menstrual irregularities due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Improve your concentration
A well-balanced breakfast can help keep you alert and productive throughout the morning. It can improve memory and concentration levels, as well as lower stress levels making you happier. In children, it was proven that it improves attainment, behaviour and has been linked to improve grades too.
Decrease risk of heart problems
According to Leah E. Cahill, Ph.D., study lead author and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass, “skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time.”
Of course there needs to be a clarification as to what a proper, good, healthy, nutritious breakfast is. If you start your day with a cup of coffee and a chocolate-glazed donut, I am sorry to say that you need to alter your morning “menu”.
A healthy breakfast in the morning should include:
- whole grains: whole-grain bread, cereals, bran muffins, crackers
- low-fat protein, peanut butter, lean meat, hard-boiled eggs, poultry
- low-fat dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese
- fruit and vegetables: fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies, even though it is far better to eat the actual fruits and vegetables, like bananas, apples, carrots, kale, grapefruit, tomatoes
My inability to eat anything the minute I wake up still exists. I need at least an hour awake before I can eat anything. That automatically means that in order to eat a proper breakfast before work I need to wake up an hour earlier? I don’t think so, or better yet, I will be honest and say I will never do it. Ever.
I cannot sacrifice an hour of sleep in the morning, especially since lately I have trouble sleeping (working on it though). So, in this case what do I do? As I started doing a bit of research on the matter I found out that nutritionists state that breakfast should be eaten within 2 hours of waking up. So, even if you cannot wake up earlier than normal, you can still experience all the benefits of a good breakfast as long as you eat it within 2 hours.
You can easily prepare something from the night before to take with you while commuting at work, or while at work. For instance a whole-grain turkey and tomato sandwich accompanied by a cup of coffee (or green tea if you are not a coffee person) and an apple or a banana.
During a busy morning it is really easy to let breakfast fall last in your to-do-list. Remember though, that breakfast is an excellent occasion to meet with friends before work, to eat together as a family when possible and teach your children how to develop good eating habits that last a lifetime from a young age.