Ounce of Prevention | Important breakfast basics
Medical research confirms the wisdom of many mothers of yesteryear 'eat up your breakfast it's the most important meal of the day'. But research also indicates that in our modern societies, over 20 per cent of people, including children, routinely miss this all-important meal.
The percentage may be even higher in Jamaica, where adults and children often go without breakfast and end up performing poorly. In an effort to correct this, some societies have instituted breakfas- feeding programmes in their schools.
In many Jamaican communities, my team of wellness coaches operate nutrition clubs that provide a very nutritious breakfast option.
WHAT MAKES BREAKFAST SO IMPORTANT?
Eating breakfast is a vital step towards optimal health. Numerous scientific studies have shown that there are many benefits to starting your day with a healthy breakfast. There is good science behind the old adage, "Have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper".
Here are some of the reasons:
1. It improves your metabolism
The word breakfast itself tells a story. It literally means to break the fast. A fast is an extended period of time in which one goes without food. We fast each night while we sleep. One way the body responds to fasting is to slow down its metabolism. The longer one goes without food, the slower your metabolism becomes. Breakfast ignites your metabolism. Regular breakfast eaters tend to have higher metabolisms, and burn more calories to produce more energy.
What you consume upon rising influences three key metabolism controlling hormones: insulin, cortisol and adrenaline. By controlling these hormones with your morning meal, you can enjoy a much better day of healthy, fat burning nutrition without terrible cravings, mood and energy swings.
Eating a nutritious breakfast gives your body the energy and nutrients it needs for the morning. Those who skip breakfast often fail to make up for the missed nutrients later on in the day.
A good breakfast should provide protein for building and repairing muscle and other tissues, carbohydrates for energy, fibre for healthy digestive function, water to rehydrate, plus numerous vitamins, minerals, trace elements and botanical factors. All these nutrients are essential for the healthy growth and maintenance of the human body.
2. It kick-starts your brain
Eating breakfast provides energy for the brain and improves alertness and mental function which is important for learning and work. Additionally, breakfast balances your blood sugar levels the brain's energy source.
Adults and children who eat breakfast have better concentration, memory, problem-solving ability, mental performance, and mood than those who do not. After fasting overnight, eating a good breakfast ensures that our brains are fuelled and ready for work.
3. It helps weight loss
When you miss breakfast, your body's general function slows down and tends to remain low for the rest of the day. In general, the foods you eat early tends to gets burned, while calories consumed later in the day are more likely stored as fat, leading to weight gain. Also, without a healthy breakfast, we tend to get very hungry by mid-morning and are more likely to snack on foods that are convenient but fattening and poor in nutrients.
EXCUSES FOR SKIPPING BREAKFAST
1. I don't have the time.
This is the number one reason people give for missing breakfast. Often this results in a grab-and-go unhealthy breakfast or no breakfast at all. Still, according to the American Dietetic Association, "breakfast doesn't have to be fancy or traditional to meet nutritional needs" - and you can get started on simple, easy and healthful breakfasts.
2. I am not hungry in the morning.
This is often the result of eating a big meal late in the evening or snacking at night. When you go to bed with a full stomach, the body must work hard to digest that food. Digestion goes into low gear during sleep so there is still food in the stomach next morning. Your stomach needs a rest too and a tired stomach will not feel like having breakfast. Break that pattern by having the evening meal earlier and by having a nutritious, easy to digest breakfast.
3. I am trying to lose weight
Many people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight. But as indicated earlier, skipping breakfast often leads to uncontrolled eating later in the day. It is easier to control one's weight by eating healthy meals earlier in the day. Medical research shows that a high percentage of people who miss breakfast are overweight or obese.
4. Unhealthy breakfast foods
Many who do eat breakfast make poor choices. According to Foodwatch, a United States consulting firm, the number of people who eat "dessert for breakfast", mainly refined carbohydrates in sugar laden processed cereals, is on the rise. These 'foods' are extremely imbalanced and cause fatigue and hunger by mid-morning. Although advertised as healthy, most of the packaged breakfast cereals are in reality nutritional nightmares.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
For decades, I have used and promoted a simple, convenient, affordable and nutritious liquid breakfast: a plant protein meal replacement shake along with an energising herbal tea blend. The shake is based on a modern concept called Cellular Nutrition. Top nutritional scientists have developed a perfectly balanced liquid meal to properly nourish the cells in your body. The tea is based on the ancient herbal wisdom of green tea. It is a fantastic combination: the shake and the tea will set you up for a great day.
This simple but powerful breakfast takes away all the excuses listed earlier. So, make an important health resolution: start the day right for you and your family by having my healthy breakfast every day for the next 30 days. You will feel the difference.