Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
Did your Mom tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day when you were growing up? Some people out there are debunking that old wives tale, saying eating several small meals throughout the day will actually “boost your metabolism” more than focusing on just breakfast. Actually they both are true.
More than 93 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet 56 percent admit to skipping it, according to statistics from the USDA Food and Agricultural Organization. “The blood sugar we need to power our muscles and brain is normally low when we wake up and breakfast helps to replenish it,” says Dr. David Ludwig, nutrition expert at the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston. “Missing the day’s first meal causes the body to tap energy reserves, resulting in fatigue and the temptation to reach for unhealthy snacks.”
Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus at work or at school. Choosing the right foods to refuel your body when you wake up improves your memory and allows you to focus. Skipping breakfast may make it more difficult to concentrate. And if you think that forgoing a morning meal will prevent weight gain, think again. Eating first thing not only improves your concentration and ability to remember, but it also helps control the number on the scale. When you skip breakfast, your body goes into fasting mode, which increases your insulin response and, in turn, causes your body to store more fat.
Researchers have found that, on average, people who eat breakfast are thinner than those who don’t. That could be because eating foods with protein and fiber in the morning keeps your appetite in check the rest of the day. If you’re dieting, don’t think cutting calories by skipping the meal will help. Studies show that most people who lose weight and keep the weight off eat breakfast every day.
It’s best to eat breakfast within one to two hours after you wake up in the morning. However, eating the right foods is also very important. A doughnut won’t do your body good. Your best bet is a mix of foods that have carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Carbs will give you energy right away, and the protein will give you it later on. Fiber keeps you feeling full.
Try a whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk and fruit, or a breakfast smoothie made from low-fat yogurt, fruit, and a teaspoon of bran. Nuts or whole-grain granola bars are also easy options.
Caffeine Can Make You More Alert and help you concentrate. Drinking coffee, green tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up buzz, though the effects are short-term. And more is often less: Overdo it on caffeine and it can make you jittery and uncomfortable.
Orange juice is #1 source of vitamin C & immune system booster
Sugar can enhance alertness. Sugar is your brain’s preferred fuel source — not table sugar, but glucose, which your body processes from the sugars and carbs you eat. That’s why a glass of OJ or another fruit juice can offer a short-term boost to memory, thinking, and mental ability.
Have too much, though, and memory can be impaired — along with the rest of you. Go easy on the added sugar, as it has been linked to heart disease and other conditions.
Avocado is the super fruit
Every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain. A diet high in whole grains and fruits like avocados can cut the risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol. This reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells. Add avocado to your omelet for breakfast. Though avocados have fat, it’s the good-for-you, monounsaturated fat that helps with healthy blood flow.
Blueberries Are Super Nutritious
Research in animals shows that blueberries may help protect the brain from the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies also show that diets rich in blueberries improved both the learning and muscle function of aging rats, making them mentally equal to much younger rats. Sprinkle fresh blueberries over your steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast!
Steel cut oats are considered a “power food”
Steel cut oats could be considered a “power food” because they are an excellent source of protein, soluble and insoluble fiber and select vitamins and minerals. The benefits of steel cut oats exceed the benefits of rolled oats because of the way they are processed. Steel cut oats are dense and chewy as a result of being passed through sharp, steel blades that cut them into thin slices that helps retain more fiber and protein. Steel cut oats, just as any whole oats, make a healthy addition to your regular diet.
Another positive effect of eating a healthy morning meal is the general feeling of satisfaction, both literally as you give your body what it needs, and psychologically, as you make choices that improve your health and well-being. Hunger can be distracting and cause you to overeat during later meal and snack times. If you start your day with a balanced breakfast, you’re more likely to think less about food during your morning routine. You are also more likely to take in an appropriate number of calories during the day, and as a result, be able to better manage your weight over the long-term.