More reasons for people to eat breakfast daily
A new study appears to confirm that when you eat is just as important for health as what and how much you eat.
United States (U.S.) researchers asked men to complete questionnaires about what they ate and when they ate it, then tracked their health for 16 years. Those who said they skipped breakfast were found to have a higher risk of heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease.
Lead author Leah Cahill, of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and colleagues, published their findings in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Also, in another study published last week in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found that skipping breakfast led to a dip in athletic performance hours later, even after a larger lunch.
Despite the bigger lunch, skipping breakfast led to a slightly lower overall calorie count for the day. But if weight loss is not the priority, researchers say, forgoing breakfast might backfire by reducing the effectiveness of the day’s workout.
A nutritionist at the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan (U.I.), Oyo State, Dr. Folake Samuel, gave more reasons why Nigerians should eat breakfast regularly.
Samuel explained: “Life can be quite busy particularly for women, whether housewives or career women. Accomplishing daily tasks and coping with the demands of feeding the family could be daunting, or even frustrating in these modern times. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, every woman wishes to provide her family with the best of nourishment throughout the day.
“From the frenzied waking hours of breakfast to the hungry lunch hours, up to the evening ‘rush hour’ mealtime, every mother strives to satisfy her family with tasty and wholesome meals. In the words of one mum: “my children mean so much to me and I try to do my best to support them every day from morning till night. Anytime I fall short, I feel bad and worry about later effects”. These words surely mirror the thoughts of millions of other mothers who have stories to tell about real concerns and challenges.
“However, of greatest concern is breakfast, which provides the body with fuel to start the day, after a fasting through the night while asleep. According to nutrition experts, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for both young and old alike, and it has been said that taking just a few minutes to have something to eat in the morning can make a difference to your day. There are several reasons for this. Apart from providing us with energy, eating a good breakfast makes it more likely for us to meet our daily nutritional needs.
“Good Breakfast has various health benefits. It helps to maintain an ideal body weight, as those who eat breakfast are more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared with those who regularly skip breakfast. Also, children who eat good quality breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and eat healthier throughout the day. This is why parents want children to eat well because they recognise that shaping their children’s future starts from having a good breakfast! Mothers’ joy and fulfillment comes from knowing that their present efforts and sacrifices influence what their children are now, and what they become in the future.”
In a statement, Leah Cahill, who is a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of nutrition at HSPH, explains what may lie behind the findings:
“Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time.”
Incorporate many types of healthy foods into your breakfast, Leah Cahill advises – as this is “an easy way to ensure your meal provides adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.”
Bowl of breakfast cereal
If eating a bowl of cereal, try adding nuts and chopped fruit, or steel-cut oatmeal. This is a “great way to start the day,” Leah Cahill adds.
Samuel added: “Skipping breakfast can make both children and adults feel tired, restless, or irritable. There is also ample research evidence that eating good quality breakfast has long-term health benefit as it can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Missing breakfast is definitely an unhealthy habit. Yet the good news is that all mothers, regardless of who they are, where they live or how much time they have, can take a few simple steps to begin or maintain healthy breakfast habits for their families. Some nutrition knowledge and a little creativity are just what a mother needs to accomplish this.
“Remember, what is needed is not just any breakfast but a good quality breakfast that contains good quality ingredients that provide all the vital nutrients in a balance that meets adequate to meet everyone’s needs for energy, growth and optimum health. Such breakfast is satisfying, keeps off hunger and lessens the probability of unhealthy snacking later in the day. Besides, this breakfast should be tasty, so that it can help to set the tone for a pleasant day.
“Everywhere families are found, it is observed that mothers of different backgrounds and from diverse circumstances try to do their best in feeding the family. They do this in spite of the tension of being pressed for time in the morning and the need to gather ingredients to prepare a good and nutritious meal. If it were possible to read the minds of many of these dedicated women one of the thoughts would be: ‘I wish there was a good quality breakfast meal that does not take much effort and time – one, which I don’t necessarily have to prepare ingredients and cook’.
“Breakfast is certainly the most important meal of the day. Having a good quality breakfast daily is therefore an important way to start the day with a Golden morning. The morning meal does not have to be a headache, as there are excellent resources within our local environment that we can utilise to make up nutritious golden breakfast meals that can be prepared quickly, eaten and even enjoyed before leaving for school, work or any business for the day.”
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