Why you Should Eat Breakfast
Breakfast is a controversy. There are the people that swear by cereal and a glass of orange juice in the morning, the people who shun any food before lunch, the people who just grab a cup of coffee and call it breakfast and the people, like me, who need to eat the minute they get up to start their day. It can be confusing to figure out whether you should eat in the mornings, and if so, what you should eat to feel your best. So here are a few facts explaining why eating a great breakfast is one of the best things you can do for your metabolism and why it should definitely be a part of your morning routine!
1. Breakfast revs up your metabolism for the day
All of our bodies have their own unique Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - this is the energy intake your body requires to do all of the necessary things it needs to survive. Breathing, thinking, pumping your blood etc. Lots of things can affect your BMR. Are you tall and muscular? - your BMR will be higher than a smaller, more petite person. Your activity levels also can ramp up your BMR, we all know that exercise and building muscle requires extra energy. While you sleep, your BMR slows down as your body is using little energy, therefore, when you wake up your metabolism is sleepy and sluggish. Eating breakfast revs your BMR back up as digesting food requires energy and also produces energy. This gets your metabolism ready for the day and ready to burn more calories - who doesn't want that?!
2. Breakfast resets your blood sugar levels
Your blood sugar also drops while you sleep as you are likely not consuming any food for ~10 hours and so there is little sugar entering your blood stream. Therefore, these levels are at their lowest point in the day when you wake up, eating a healthy breakfast brings them back to normal and gives you energy. A balanced breakfast will set you up to have a productive morning with plenty of energy and focus as your blood sugar levels will remain stable. Skipping breakfast leaves your blood sugar levels low, meaning that you will likely feel sluggish and foggy. It also means that when you finally come around to eating at lunchtime you will likely have sugar cravings and will be much more likely to reach for an unhealthy option and then experience another mid-afternoon slump.
3. It has an array of health benefits
Countless studies have shown that people who skip breakfast are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity and are more likely to have memory and cognition problems. It has also been shown that those who eat a healthy breakfast are much more likely to be meeting their daily intake requirements for vitamins, minerals and fiber! Lastly, eating breakfast immediately lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Your cortisol levels naturally peak during the morning and breakfast resets them for the day. Chronically high levels of cortisol are associated with obesity, abdominal fat, metabolic syndrome and poor health in general. Skipping breakfast allows them to remain elevated throughout the day and over time, can be detrimental to our health.
So, what should you eat?
Nutritionally speaking, the perfect breakfast would be high in protein and healthy carbs and low in sugar. The high protein content will help you stay full for longer as protein is slow to digest and some balanced carbohydrates will give you plenty of energy. Eating a sugary breakfast such as processed cereals or breakfast biscuits just spikes the blood sugar and then leaves you to crash as the sugar is rapidly absorbed, so it is best to pick something with little refined sugars in it! Below are some of my favourite breakfasts that get me excited to eat in the morning: