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Breakfast is important

March 2012

Breakfast is importantWhatever your age, having a good breakfast is very important - some doctors go as far as to claim that it is one of the key aspects of staying healthy. There is research that shows that people who don’t eat a proper breakfast are more likely to become obese, to develop diabetes or to suffer a heart attack.

There are many reasons cited for why people skip breakfast. The obvious one is that people have simply got out of the habit of taking the time to plan and prepare for a proper breakfast. If you look at how much time and trouble you spend on other meals during the day, it is most likely you will see that breakfast is a very poor loser!

Others skip breakfast because they are slow to wake up and their hunger system hasn’t kicked in. Some people always sleep late and are in too great a rush to bother with a proper breakfast. Others believe that if they miss breakfast, then that will contribute towards their weight reducing diet.

Whatever the reason, not having a proper breakfast is a bad idea - the body needs refuelling on a regular basis. It is not geared towards long periods of starvation and overnight is long enough. After a few hours without any nourishment whatsoever, you will wake with your blood sugar levels already down. If you continue in the morning for longer than an hour or so after getting up, your blood sugar levels will continue to decrease and your body will then start to release cortisol in order to raise the blood sugar levels. Over a period, this can lead to stress on your adrenal glands and other changes. People who have blood sugar problems and don’t “refuel” early in the morning can increase their risk to related problems including diabetes or high cholesterol.

What normally happens when people miss breakfast is that they will suddenly become very hungry a couple of hours later when it is likely they will grab an unhealthy snack. There have been some reports that say that people who skip breakfast can contribute towards obesity because the body goes into starvation mode which lowers metabolism; however there is also medical comment opposing this view.

Of course, what you eat for breakfast is key - a traditional fry-up can include far too much unhealthy fat; highly sugared breakfast cereals are not healthy either. But a good breakfast can refuel your body in a really healthy way and set you up for the day. The best breakfast should include a good mix of foods that will cover the traditional main food groups, including grains, protein, dairy and fruit and vegetables.

It really is easy to plan healthy breakfasts but the food group most people miss out on is protein. Cereal with fruit and milk and whole grain toast is fairly standard and easy to prepare. But how does protein fit in. Eggs of course, but other useful and some would say better sources of protein could include fish or chicken. A small portion of poached haddock or sardines with tomato can make a tasty and highly nutritious addition to breakfast; cooked chicken can be taken quickly from the fridge and popped into a roll with some lettuce or pickle.

Once one starts spending a little more time planning breakfast properly, and on the same lines as other meals, suddenly it becomes easy to ensure you start the day with all the right nutrients. The routine of getting up, dressed and having breakfast can all merge into one “get it over with” routine. Start thinking of breakfast as an important mealtime, and it is likely you will be healthier as the result.

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