Do you constantly feel lethargic in the mornings? Do you rely on coffee to wake you up when you’re sluggish? Do you often find yourself saying you’re not a morning person? There’s a very simple way to get your body started and keep your mind off food cravings.
Breakfast! The simplest way to wake your body up and get it ready for the long day ahead. Breakfast has been turned into a meal that is often ignored or poorly utilized. Most people depend on coffee and sugar to kick start their brain and inevitably feel the energy crash a few hours later. This again leaves them feeling groggy and with the need to fill up on more sugars, thus creating a cycle of energy spikes and crashes. Not only is this unhealthy but makes for poor cognitive function.
Breakfast in itself needs a makeover so it’s once again seen as the energy boost for the day.
There are many super foods that are considered breakfast foods and have the capability of sustaining the body for hours longer than sugar packed snacks.
Including an egg or two for breakfast may require a few extra minutes of preparation time, but the potential health benefits make them worth cooking and eating. Not only are eggs packed with protein and amino acids, they are also one of the few, significant sources of vitamin D, which is important for absorbing calcium for stronger bones.
Whether you are taking them in the form of bread, cereal or oatmeal, breakfast is one of the best times to enjoy whole grains in your meal. This super-food is a great source of fiber, which is essential for a healthy heart and digestive tract, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
You can hit your daily intake of vitamin C in your very first meal of the day, whether it's in the form of a juice or solid fruit. Oranges, grapefruits and apples are common fruits on the breakfast table.
Oats contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This slower digestion prevents dramatic spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels that would otherwise encourage our bodies to produce and store fat.
Oats are a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle, and regulating blood pressure. A body of evidence suggests that eating magnesium-rich foods reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Experimental and clinical data also suggests a link between magnesium deficiency and depression.
Despite the benefits of healthy eating, many individuals don’t regularly follow these health rituals. Perceived lack of time is the most common reason people resort to consuming junk food which leads to lower consumption of whole foods like vegetables, fruits and proteins.
Irregular work hours are cited as the culprit of all the time-pressure that people perceive in their day to day lives. Food habits are based on the belief systems people create to cope with the hectic urban lifestyle. Increasingly, the first meal to go is breakfast.
Skipping breakfast consistently has serious consequences. Men who skip breakfast have about 27% more chances of sustaining a heart attack when compared to those who eat breakfast, people who avoid breakfast are also known to have an increased susceptibility to hypertension in turn, leading to clogging of arteries.
Harvard University School of Public Health conducted a study that aimed to find a correlation between eating habits and health. 46,289 women participated in the research conducted for about six years. The results of the study were amazing. According to the outcome, women who had the habit of avoiding breakfast were at a higher risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, than women who had their daily breakfast.
Skipping breakfast peps up the craving for sugary and fatty foods. Including breakfast in your daily diet regimen bestows you with better cognitive functioning. A study was conducted on a group of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 in two trials. In one of the trials, the group was allowed to have breakfast, and in the second trial the group was asked to refrain from the morning meal. The results were interesting. The group, when on a breakfast regimen, showcased better accuracy in a visual search test, while lack of breakfast hampered with the results.
For most Indians, depending on where they are situated the options for breakfast can vary. From Dosas to paranthas, to rice the options are many. They tend to be on the carb heavy side, along with the prep time that needless to say is too much for any urban individual. Most of us end up opting for something quick and easy like cereal or snacks like samosas and buns, as they seem small and light.
Eating any breakfast is associated with increased feelings of fullness, a reduced desire to eat, and lower levels of ghrelin (a hunger-stimulating hormone) throughout the morning. But protein rich, breakfasts are associated with these benefits over the course of the entire day. Consuming a lot of protein in the morning also had reductions in "cravings-related" brain activity, and increased levels of a hormone associated with satiety. Another side effect is snacking less on fatty foods in the evening, as compared to those who ate cereal or nothing.
The key to including breakfast as with any essential of a healthy lifestyle is to make it a habit.
By Sridhar Varadaraj | Founder and Managing Partner- Zago (Ricco Delizio)