Psychological studies have suggested that what we eat and drink first thing in the morning has a huge impact on our health and our mental wellbeing. There have been countless scientific studies about the importance of eating breakfast, and the definitive opinion is that it is immensely important – if not the most important – meal of the day. This is because it gives your body the nutrients and energy it needs to tackle the day ahead.
In the 1960’s, nutritionist Adelle Davis famously said you should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. Though this may not be realistic for everyone, the message is clear – in the pursuit of a healthy mind, body and lifestyle, breakfast should not be skipped.
Here are four scientifically-backed reasons as to why you should make more of a meal out of your breakfast.
- Breakfast improves your mood
What we decide to eat and drink can affect not only our health and cognitive functions but our mental wellbeing and mood.
A study in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science suggested that drinking coffee in the morning can dramatically increase our mood, as moderate consumption of caffeine has been found to aid depression.
So, to set you up for a good day, cook yourself a delicious and healthy breakfast, and wash it down with a tasty cup of coffee.
- Breakfast can help control weight
Studies have suggested again and again that eating a well-balanced breakfast every morning can help you to control your body weight and combat overeating.
Dieticians recommend that people who are weight-conscious shouldn’t skip breakfast in an attempt to lose weight. In fact, eating a nutritious meal at the beginning of the day actually benefits weight loss in these ways:
- It reduces cravings
When you eat a big breakfast you stay fuller for longer, and this means you are less likely to overeat later in the day. When you’re extremely hungry you may be more inclined to binge on bad foods, which will be counterproductive to your weight loss endeavours.
- It balances blood sugar levels
When your blood sugar levels drop too low you can feel fatigued and experience dizziness, and this can cause you to reach for high-sugar snacks to get a quick boost of energy. Eating a big breakfast in the morning helps to keep blood sugar levels even throughout the day.
- It encourages healthy food choices later in the day
When you practice healthy eating at the beginning of the day you will feel gratification, and this will urge you to stay motivated to eat well throughout the rest of the day. On the other hand, if you make bad food choices in the morning, chances are that you will eat poorly throughout the day.
- It gives you more energy
Studies have suggested that we should consume between 15-25% of our daily energy intake in the morning, which may mean that breakfast is your biggest meal of the day. A big breakfast replenishes your glycogen stores and gives your body the energy and fuel it needs to tackle the day ahead.
Making smart breakfast choices can seriously kickstart a healthy lifestyle and help to curb bad food cravings. This means that you are more likely to stick to your diet and experience better results.
- Breakfast improves cognitive brain functions
Eating a nutritious breakfast every day has amazing benefits for your brain – it can keep your mind sharp, improve memory and boost your cognitive functions. so that your brain performance, concentration and productivity is high throughout the day.
Foods that are proven to promote brain health include whole grains, eggs, dark berries such as blueberries, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. You should avoid eating foods and drinks that have high levels of sugar, as they may cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash later in the day, meaning you feel more hungry.
- Skipping breakfast can have serious health implications
Health professionals have found, again and again, a link between skipping breakfast and the increased risk of serious health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart attack. Don’t take the risk – incorporate a healthy breakfast into your daily routine.
- What you should eat at breakfast
When it comes to breakfast food choices, we must choose nutritious and well-balanced options in order to live healthily. Your breakfast should contain:
Eating foods high in protein will kickstart your metabolism and keep you feeling fuller for longer. This way you will avoid those mid-morning hunger pangs and steer clear of unhealthy snacks.
Eggs are a great source of protein at breakfast-time, so why not have two poached eggs on toast, or mix an egg white in with your morning oats. To up your protein intake, you could also swap out butter for peanut butter or almond butter.
Fiber is essential for healthy digestion and can help to lower cholesterol. You can get fiber from fruits like apples, bananas, strawberries and oranges, and also from dark-coloured vegetables.
Whole-grain oats are also full of fiber and will keep you feeling satisfied all morning. You can have fruit with them, and for an extra boost of fiber you can add some chia seeds.
- Healthy carbohydrates
Breakfasts can be full of carbohydrates which your body needs for energy. However, you should make smart choices and opt for whole-grain alternatives that are rich in B vitamins.
When you’re having breakfast out, you should carefully consider the breakfast and brunch cafe menu to make the smartest choice. You should avoid eating foods and drinks that have high levels of sugar, such as pancakes and waffles, as they may cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash later in the day, meaning you’re more hungry. Instead, opt for two eggs and avocado on whole-grain bread, or oats with berries.
Breakfast is the most important meal because it sets the standards for the rest of your day. If you eat well in the morning you have more energy, are more alert and productive, experience fewer cravings and are much happier. And when you are all of these things, you will have less temptation to eat poorly.