We’ve all heard it from many different sources. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet it is still the meal more of us either skip or grab less nutritional items for. I understand how easy it is to let eating a meal fall very low on our list of priorities on busy mornings. But if we do, we’re missing out on a lot of benefits. That first meal provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast – that’s where its name originates, breaking the fast! Without breakfast, you are effectively running on empty.
A Good Breakfast Increases Your Energy
Our morning meal influences how we perform both physically and mentally. It immediately raises your energy level. People who eat breakfast are more physically active, probably because of the increase in blood glucose that eating gave them. However, the benefits of that morning meal go way beyond increased energy.
Having a Meal Early Raises Blood Glucose Levels
It also restores your blood glucose level to normal after fasting overnight. Low blood glucose levels can adversely affect our ability to concentrate and perform mental tasks. This explains why children who don’t get a good breakfast generally perform at lower levels than those that do eat a nutritious meal. Eating breakfast increases the ability to focus, reduces attention issues, and increases memory functions during the morning hours.
Breakfast Lowers Your Cortisol Level
The stress hormone cortisol peaks during the early morning hours. This is because the body has spent the night repairing tissue and recovering from a busy day. We’ve already discussed that eating a nutritious meal raises your blood glucose level. That increase, in turn, lowers your level of cortisol. To counteract declines in your blood glucose level while you sleep, cortisol is released to cause the breakdown of muscle protein and fat that can be converted into glucose and released into the blood.
Eating Breakfast Controls Your Appetite
Cortisol also raises the gut hormones that control appetite, making you hungrier. Eating lowers cortisol, and therefore the gut hormones so that you feel more satisfied throughout the day. Maintaining a high level of cortisol will result in fat storage making you more likely to be obese and suffer from other medical conditions.
A Regular Breakfast Assists in Weight Loss
A strong correlation between regular breakfast eating and long-term weight loss has been found in multiple studies. In addition, if you don’t get the fuel that your body needs in the morning, you’ll be more likely to overeat later in the day. If you don’t eat breakfast, you are more likely to get so hungry later that you snack on high-fat, high-sugar foods. Finally, if you eat at least a third of your calories for the day at breakfast, studies have found that you are more likely to maintain your weight loss.
What You Eat Matters
If your idea of breakfast is a doughnut and a cup of coffee, you need to think again. A well-designed breakfast needs to provide an adequate amount of both carbohydrates and proteins to keep your blood glucose level from shooting too high and causing metabolic havoc. Carbohydrates raise your blood glucose rather quickly, but proteins affect your blood glucose more slowly. Eating a balance of both at your morning meal gives you the immediate benefits of increased blood glucose but also prevents spikes and drops in and drops in glucose. Good Housekeeping has gathered a group of healthy breakfast recipes here.
Nutritionists advise eating a meal within two hours of waking that provides 30-35% of your daily calories. Eating breakfast has long-term health benefits. It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. So, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!
What do you eat for breakfast and how does it affect your day? Let me know in the comments below or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other posts in the Makeover Your Morning series can be accessed through these links: