For ages now, we have all heard that breakfast is the number one ingredient in the recipe for an energized, productive day. When it comes to your weight, it is doubly true. A solid body of science affirms that people who eat breakfast regularly are leaner than those that don’t and much less apt to develop insulin resistance. A recent study presented at the 43rd Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Protection drives this point home. In this study, researchers found that regular breakfast skippers, defined as eating breakfast 2 or less times a week, were 35-50% more likely to develop obesity and insulin resistance than those who ate breakfast regularly.
Here are a few more reasons to never skip breakfast:
Breakfast Benefit #1
It can protect the health of your heart and arteries.
- A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (February 2005) found that healthy women who skipped breakfast had higher cholesterol levels and more insulin resistance than those who ate breakfast. Both elevated cholesterol and insulin resistance are known risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. Additionally – many traditional breakfast foods including fruit and high fiber cereals provide a synergistic package of heart-healthy ingredients including fiber, antioxidants, B-vitamins and minerals.
Breakfast Benefit #2
It can boost your brain power.
- After an overnight fast, your brain’s only source of fuel – namely glucose – is at an all-time low. Unfortunately, the brain has no storage capacity for glucose and is 100% dependent on what the blood can provide. Skipping breakfast is a major brain drain and eating the right breakfast (see below) provides your brain with an immediate and steady source of fuel for optimal cerebral performance.
Breakfast Benefit #3
It can boost your nutrient intake.
- Breakfast provides a delicious and easy opportunity to take in the 42 or so essential nutrients your body needs a constant daily supply of. Let’s face it – there are a finite number of opportunities in the day to get the nutrients you need and if you skip breakfast, you have automatically decreased your chances of succeeding by about 1/3. For the average American, breakfast is typically the healthiest and most nutrient dense meal they eat – providing a double bonus.
Breakfast Benefit #4
It can help you lose weight.
- Eating breakfast enhances weight loss through many mechanisms including: boosting metabolism, boosting energy, and thus calorie-burning, diminishing hunger (people that skip breakfast eat more throughout the rest of the day) and lowering insulin levels (elevated insulin levels are associated with a sluggish metabolism). To take full advantage of this wonderful benefit, include the right breakfast foods as outlined below.
Building a Healthy Breakfast – always include something from each of the following 3 categories:
- A healthy protein package. Consider any of the following: nuts/nut butters, soy milk, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, reduced fat cheeses, smoked or canned salmon, omega-3 eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, high protein cereals, protein powders (for smoothies)
- Fresh produce. Fruits, especially brightly colored varieties like berries, citrus, red grapes, cantaloupe, kiwi and mango are a natural breakfast fit. But don’t forget that fresh spinach, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes are a delicious addition to any egg/omelette dish.
- Whole grains. High fiber cereals and oatmeal are my top-rated whole grain foods. Additional healthy choices include 100% whole grain bagels, English muffins, toast, waffles, and granola bars.
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