BREAKFAST – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL
GOOD MORNING!!! So what does your daily morning schedule look like? Let me guess: utilizing the snooze option on your alarm for 5 more winks, dragging yourself out of bed, reading the newspaper with tea/coffee, finishing your household work or home work, going for a shower, getting ready & finally step out for the daily battle called life.
Oops! I forgot the one most important activity of the morning. How could I overlook the most important meal of the day? Yes, I am referring to BREAKFAST. The chances are that not just me, even you overlook this critical component.
People have their own reasons for skipping their breakfast. Some of them feel that extra 5 minutes of sleep will give them more energy than a healthy breakfast whereas some dislike the regular breakfast food. Some are too busy to eat in the mornings whereas some skip with the intention to reduce their calorie intake. Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that skipping breakfast has negative effects on your body. It could range form short term effects like hunger related morning stomach aches, increased incidence of common cold, etc. to long term effects like high body fat percentage, higher cholesterol levels & greater risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.
In the mornings the body is low on energy reserves & needs fuel in the form of food, to get going. Breakfast, as the word suggests actually means breaking the overnight fast. A fast which can be as long as 6-8 hours for adults & 10-12 hours for toddlers & pre-schoolers.
HERE ARE THE REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO EAT BREAKFAST:
1. Good for the Brain:Breakfast provides glucose, the preferred fuel of the brain, which in turn helps you to concentrate better, be more creative, work more efficiently & make fewer mistakes. Researches have shown that children who eat a healthy breakfast are likely to have better problem solving abilities & good memory. They tend to perform better in mathematical tasks & score higher on school tests. This stands true for adults as well.
2. Positive effect on Health:A healthy breakfast provides one third of the daily nutrient requirement. These nutrients play vital role in our body. So when you skip your breakfast, you miss out on many vital nutrients which are difficult to make up for in later meals.
3. Breakfast eaters are slimmer:If you skip your breakfast to get an hour glass figure than think again. When you skip your breakfast your stomach remains empty for around 15 hours. Due to this starvation your body metabolism becomes slow as a result of which your body stores more fat. Besides, due to starvation your brain signals you to eat high calorie food to boost your energy level. Hence you end up consuming more calories than those who eat their breakfast.
WHAT SHOULD A HEALTHY BREAKFAST COMPRISE OF?
A healthy breakfast should include food from the following food groups:
a. Cereal- Always include whole grain products like whole wheat bread, multi-grain bread, breakfast cereals, oatmeal, wheat or other grain, roti, idli, etc. Whole grains are rich in fibre that regulates the blood glucose & cholesterol level. Avoid refined cereals like cookies, pancakes, croissants, white breads, khari biscuits, etc. These products instantly raise your energy level followed by immediate & drastic fall in your energy levels.
b. Milk & milk products- Skim or tone milk, low fat yogurt/curd, paneer & low fat cheese provides protein, calcium & B Vitamins. Hence one of these products should be a part of your breakfast.
c. Legumes/Nuts/Poultry/Meat- These are protein rich food. Sprouted pulses also provide B Vitamins & Vitamin C. Walnuts & almonds can be added to your breakfast cereals to make them more nutritious. Lean chicken or meat & egg provide Vitamin B12 too.
d. Fruits & Vegetables- Fresh fruits & vegetables provide fibre which is required to keep the digestive system healthy & to regulate the blood glucose & cholesterol levels. Certain fruits also provide antioxidants required to keep your skin young & to protect you from heart disease or cancer.
So all you have to do now is buy your favourite food from the above list, plan your breakfast a day in advance & get up 10 minutes early next morning to cook & eat it. So as you don’t leave home without a shower or brushing your teeth, it is equally important not to leave home without a hearty breakfast. Trust me your mind & your body will thank you for all these efforts.