Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day in different cultures all over the world. You might think that this is just an old-school way of thinking that has no basis in science. But the opposite is true. Indeed, this ancient wisdom has been proven true by modern nutritionists over and over again. Having a healthy breakfast is one of the most effective steps you can take toward many healing your body and improving your health.
Why Is A Healthy Breakfast So Important?
The reason is really simple. And you’ll see in a moment why breakfast can help you with weight loss and controlling your blood sugar levels too. You sleep all night for at least seven to eight hours. You are, in essence, fasting while you sleep. When you wake up, you may not feel like eating, which is natural after any fast. However, if you go about your day without having a healthy breakfast, your body will go into starvation mode, your blood sugar will drop, you’ll get headaches, and you’ll mess up your digestion.
Starvation mode is a remnant of the earliest days of our evolution when we had to forage for food and had no idea when the next meal would come. So the body used to store all food as fat, as fat burns slower and keeps the body’s systems running when there is nothing to eat.
So when you do not eat a healthy breakfast, your body kicks into this mode, and you are contributing to your carbohydrate intake being converted into fat cells. But that’s not the worst of your problems. When you do finally eat later in the day, you will end up gorging on food not only because you are really hungry, but also because your body is trying to stock up on more food because it thinks you are going to starve it again. And all the food you eat when you finally do eat will be stored as fat in your body.
This worked well enough for out stone age ancestors who needed the fat to keep them alive. But in a world of abundance where cookies and calorie-loaded coffees are the norm, you can imagine how devastating it would be to allow your body to go into starvation mode.
Remember though that your breakfast must actually be healthy. You can’t eat a bag of chips or a slice of leftover pizza and call it nutritious. Your body needs more nutritious options for that much-needed boost to start the day. We’ll look into some healthy breakfast ideas in a minute.
Research has shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast are likely to live longer, they are more productive as they have the energy and alertness provided by their healthy breakfast, they sleep better and are thus less fatigued and can deal with their stress more effectively, they are more fit than their non-breakfast-eating counterparts, and they will find it easier to lose weight because of this one simple habit.
What Constitutes A Healthy Breakfast?
Think of breakfast and you are sure to have visions of pancakes, waffles, fried eggs and bacon dancing around in your head. While these are fine for the occasional treat, you’ll be packing on the pounds if you keep it up on a daily basis. Breakfast is just like any other meal. It needs to be a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins.
What Not To Eat
There are some things you should generally avoid for breakfast like fried foods, processed foods and sweets. All these foods will give you a boost of energy as they go directly into your bloodstream and impact the pleasure centers of the brain. But you will feel the physical slump in a couple of hours. Also try to cut down on your caffeine intake. If you have two to three cups of tea or coffee in the morning, try replacing at least one of those cups with a herbal tea or a glass of juice.
Junk food and sodas are definitely out as they are high in refined sugar and laden with empty calories.
What To Eat
Here are some healthy breakfast ideas as well as some tips on how to make your existing breakfast even more nutritious.
- The best way to get those carbs in is to include grains in your breakfast. These include oatmeal, muesli, bran, whole wheat toast, pitta bread, rye bread, and low-fat, sugar-free cereal. Use soya milk or 2% milk in your cereal and porridge. Use honey or brown sugar as a sweetener instead of refined white sugar. You can add chopped nuts and dry fruits for an extra boost in energy and nutrition.
- Fruit is the ideal food for man. But there are few people who actively include fruits in their diet. Breakfast is the perfect time for fruit. Fruits are high in minerals, vitamins, calcium, potassium, and iron. The natural sugar in fruits will balance your blood sugar levels perfectly so there will be no slump or sugar high as would be the case with refined sugar or processed food. You can eat the fruit whole with the peel for extra fiber. Or if you cannot stomach that early in the morning, you can juice the fruits instead. Juices made with fruits and vegetables are simply bursting with wholesome goodness.
- Eggs are the perfect meal. They have carbs, vitamins, protein and fat in just the right proportion. And they can be prepared in a variety of ways so you’ll never get bored. Try a hard-boiled egg with wholegrain toast. If you are on a weight loss plan, then do an egg-white omelet with vegetables.
- Yoghurt is another great food to include in your diet. Couple this with cereal, nuts or fruits and you have a perfectly balanced breakfast.
- Try to avoid meat in the morning. But if you absolutely must have something non-vegetarian to start your day, try leaner versions of meat, and try grilling instead of frying. There are now several types of low-fat, lean meat available. Try to include these in your other meals as well, not just breakfast.
You can mix and match any of these foods together and you’ll be sure to end up with a healthy breakfast. If you aren’t doing it already, you should start eating a healthy breakfast today. It is these little steps that will lead to improved health now and in the long run.