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How important is breakfast?

8 May 2013 1:35 PM - Are there really health benefits to eating breakfast?
Coffee and donuts are not a healthy breakfast!

"Breakfast is such an annoying meal don't you think?  If we skip it we might gain an extra 10 or 15 minutes in the mornings.  We could use that to sleep in or perhaps we wouldn't be late for work.  It would be so much easier to bypass that step in our morning routine and just grab a coffee and muffin/donut/ pastry/raisin bread for morning tea."

I'm not sure when I started thinking like that (sometime in my twenties I suspect) but it stuck with me for many years.  Even my cancer diagnosis wasn't enough of a wake-up call.  In reality I think the penny didn't drop until I began studying my naturopathy degree and started understanding more about our biochemistry and the science behind why food is important for our health.

Fortunately for me the penny did drop drop and now I seriously couldn't contemplate starting the day without breakfast.  And when I see clients who regularly skip the first meal of the day I am concerned for them.

So, if you are a breakfast-skipper, I want you to reconsider.

10 reasons to eat breakfast:

  1. It is literally breaking the fast which has lasted since your meal the prior evening (which hopefully wasn't just before you went to bed).  Overnight your energy stores have been depleted and you need to restock them before starting your day.  It's like making sure the car is full of petrol and topping up the oil and water before heading out on a long trip.

  2. Skipping breakfast will generally result in a drop in blood sugar which will see you reaching for the sugary foods or refined carbohydrates as your brain signals the need for emergency refuelling in order to keep going.  This is not good for sustained energy or long term health.

  3. If you are interested in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight you need to eat breakfast.  It's like putting fuel on the fire that is your metabolism and cranking it up for the day.

  4. Skipping breakfast (or any meal for that matter) suggests to your brain that food is scarce and therefore your innate metabolism will slow down to conserve energy.

  5. A good breakfast is an excellent way to ensure your blood sugar levels don't fluctuate significantly during the day causing you to react with grabs for sugary foods and quick afternoon pick-me-ups.

  6. Studies have shown that people who eat a good breakfast are likely to consume less calories overall during the day.

  7. We also know that making a decision in favour of your health (i.e. having breakfast) at the start of the day sets you up for making more healthy choices through the rest of the day whereas when we start poorly the risk is that we will continue that way.

  8. Those who eat breakfast have been shown to have better cognition and memory for their tasks throughout the day, not to mention a better mood.

  9. Fuel means energy.  If you want to feel more energetic you need to give your body the fuel it needs (not just in calories but in vitamins and minerals too).

  10. Do it for your kids and be a role-model you can be proud of but more importantly do it for yourself.

Is that enough?  If you have more reasons to eat breakfast, please add them in the comments below.

So now that I've got you thinking about breakfast, here are some of my favorite breakfast options.

 

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If the thought of breakfast is just not appealing, I can help you improve your digestion and your appetite. Call me for an appointment on 03 9620 9503.

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In good health

 

Kaye Wright
Naturopath
Melbourne CBD

 

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