Why Eat Breakfast?
Breakfast is essentially the first and most important meal of the day, and should not be skipped. Breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period and is usually served between 7:00/7:30 am to 10:00/10:30 am or within two hours of waking up. There are three most popular types of breakfast:
- Continental breakfast
- English breakfast
- American breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast helps replenish the body’s supply of glucose to boost the energy level and also keeps us alert during the day. Breakfast also provides the body with essential nutrients that are required for good health. Despite the health benefits of breakfast, people still tend to skip the meal as a result of poor timing and the rush to leave for work early.
Health Benefits of Breakfast
When one sleeps for close to 10 hours overnight, energy and nutrients diminish from the body, however, breakfast helps to replenish such lost energy and nutrients. Let`s discuss some benefits of having breakfast.
It Gives Energy
A major importance of having a healthy breakfast at the right time is that it helps restore energy to the body. Breakfast is known to supply around 25 percent of people’s daily energy outflow. The body’s source of energy is glucose and this glucose is broken down and absorbed from the carbohydrates we consume. The body stores most of its energy as fat and also stores some glucose as glycogen, most of it is usually in the liver.
When one sleeps overnight, it’s a point of fasting, that is, not eating, so the liver tends to break down glycogen and releases it into the bloodstream as glucose to keep one’s blood sugar level stable which is important for your brain because it relies on glucose for energy.
After going without food for over 10-12 hours, in the morning, the glycogen stores are low. Once all energy is used up, the body starts to break down fatty acids to produce the energy it needs. Without carbohydrates, fatty acids are fairly oxidized, which reduces the energy level.
Growing children require a lot of energy; a boy child aged 7-10 years should consume approximately 1,970 kcals per day, and a girl child aged 7-10 years is expected to consume approximately 1,740 kcals per day. For adults, men are expected to consume approximately 2,500 kcals per day, and women are expected to consume approximately 2000 kcals per day. Eating a healthy breakfast will help boost one’s energy level and restore the glycogen level. Research has shown that breakfast eaters tend to be more physically active in the morning than those who don’t eat until mid-day.
Boosts the Brain
Breakfast helps to keep one active during the day, and lack of it will make one sluggish and less active during the day. The inability to focus at work is usually a result of skipping breakfast. Studies show that skipping breakfast affects mental performance, including your attention and ability to concentrate. After a night of fasting, one’s brain needs a fresh supply of glucose that will help fuel the body. Without this, one will have difficulty processing new information and concentrating.
Supports Weight Loss
Regular consumption of breakfast prevents one from being obese or overweight. Breakfast will prevent one from overeating, as it salvages desperate hunger with quick snacks. It prevents large fluctuations in your blood glucose levels, which helps to control your appetite. Breakfast also fills you up before you become really hungry, thereby preventing you from just grabbing any food that is high in fat and sugar.
Provides Vitamins and Minerals
Breakfast is packed with nutrients that one’s body needs to function properly each day. These meals are rich in key nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, folate, and fiber. Eating the right meals for breakfast provides the body with the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. People who miss breakfast are advised to top up the required vitamins and minerals levels in their next meal to maintain good health.
Reduces the Risk of Illness
Having a healthy breakfast may help reduce the risk of illness. Eating breakfast has a long-term health benefit. People who eat their early morning meals are at lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and high blood pressure.
Prevents Eating Disorders
Skipping breakfast can cause an eating disorder. Sometimes, most people skip breakfast because they want to lose weight. Such people may end up gaining more weight, sadly, as a result of eating disorders. Eating breakfast regularly controls eating disorders to a large extent.
Enhances Immune Health
A study shows that eating a healthy breakfast boosts the body’s gamma-interferon, a natural antiviral that directly activates the immune cells. Eating your breakfast will help fight cases of flu and other viruses.
Improves Heart Health
Getting breakfast into your system helps promote a healthy heart by preventing diabetes and controlling your blood pressure. Those who skip breakfast tend to have high cholesterol levels, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Eating breakfast tends to get less fat and more fiber in your diet.
Improves Skin Health
Maintaining a healthy breakfast, in general, helps keep the body fresh and healthy. However, eggs, which are a common breakfast food are good for the skin. Eggs contain lutein, a carotenoid antioxidant that preserves the elasticity of the skin and also protects the skin cells from free radical damage. There are other breakfast foods as well that help preserve one’s skin elasticity; some of these are are smoothies and pancakes.
Better Food Choices
Breakfast eaters generally have more healthy diets. They have better eating habits and are less likely to be hungry for snacks during the day than people who skip breakfast. If one skips or eats an inadequate breakfast, they are most likely to make poor food choices in the long run. Once you skip breakfast, you would want to snack on things that are not nutritious for the body.
Why Do People Skip Breakfast?
- An attempt to lose weight
- Inadequate time to make food
- Absence of an appetite
- Inadequate funds to buy breakfast
- Zero-interest in eating
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
- Wholegrain cereals such as bran cereals, wheat biscuits with natural yogurt, or fresh fruits.
- Homemade pancakes and waffles
- Fresh fruits and nuts
- Smoothies made from fresh fruits, natural yogurt, and milk
- Burritos, avocado toast
- Toasted or baked oatmeal
Let`s discuss two breakfast ideas in detail.
Eggs maintain insulin levels and steady blood sugar. They also make one full and reduce cravings for calories. The zeaxanthin and lutein content in egg yolks are also good for eye health. These two antioxidants prevent eye disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Regular consumption of eggs is also beneficial to the heart and liver.
Oatmeal is made from ground oats that contain oat beta-glucan, which is a type of fiber that has loads of health benefits, including the reduction of cholesterol. Oats are packed with antioxidants that reduce blood pressure and benefit heart health.
Now that you Know…
Breakfast is a highly important meal of the day, one which one should not skip because it is packed with lots of nutrients, and provides the body with the daily energy it requires to kick-start the day. Having your breakfast keeps you active and alert and boosts your performance during the day. In essence, you should have your breakfast, however, if peradventure you skip it, it is advised that the daily nutrients which you should have got from the morning meal should be gotten from the next meal.