Wake up, freshen up and dress up. Keys? Check! Wallet /
purse? Check! Cellphone? Check! Time to go to the office. In
the mad rush, whatever happened to breakfast? "Wait!
Breakfast? Who eats breakfast?" Sounds like a familiar
scenario? You are not the only one. Living life in the fast lane,
we tend to forget the very basics of nutrition: that the body
needs energy in the morning and that it is this morning meal
that decides our diet for the rest of the day.
There is a reason humanity has a name
for the first meal of the day. Our bodies
are deprived of food while we sleep,
which means we go without fuel for
over 10-12 hours of the night. And
since every morning is the start of an
activity-filled day, we need to refuel to
start off the day. The word breakfast
itself is a compound of the words break and fast, implying we
are ending a long period of fasting.
So, without talking medical terms and without breaking our
heads over the jargon derived from Greek and Latin, let us look
into why breaking that fast is necessary.
Firstly, a timely morning meal provides the necessary nutrients
that our bodies need in the first half of the day. Research shows
that working people who eat regular breakfast feel more
productive and efficient at the workplace as compared to
people who skip out on the first meal of the day. Kids who eat
an adequate breakfast every morning perform better at school
and exhibit quicker learning abilities as compared to children
who skip breakfast or do not eat right in the morning. Come to
think of it, it makes sense. Going to work on an empty stomach
isn't ideal, not to mention unhealthy. Motivation apart, where's
the energy to work? And energy is necessary for everyone.
While our desk jobs may not require a lot of physical activity,
our brains need blood glucose to keep our bodies active. That is
what breakfast gives us.
Secondly, we feel full after eating breakfast and hence, it's
easier to avoid the temptation to indulge in heavy meals later in
the day. A very heavy lunch makes us sleepy and a heavy dinner
is not very healthy. In fact, people who exercise a lot or are into
body-building follow an inverted pyramid diet routine where
the breakfast is the heaviest meal of the day. Even for those of
us who use more brains than muscles, a filling breakfast is
necessary and it is advisable to avoid a heavy lunch or dinner.
More importantly, our bodies are used to digesting three meals a
day. Digestion is a long process and most of the actions that
comprise the process of digestion are involuntary. Since most of
us have been eating meals thrice a day since childhood, our
stomachs produce digestive juices at these programmed
intervals. When the digestive juice, of which hydrochloric acid
is a major component, does not find food to digest in the tummy,
it then turns to the linings of the stomach. This is more than
harmful to the lining of the stomach. Keeping the stomach
empty will result in the walls of the food passage getting
corroded, leading to gastritis (inflammation of the stomach
lining), ulcers and excessive production of gas. All this leaves us
with an experience of discomfort and in the long run, causes
severe health problems.
People who eat breakfast regularly are also less likely to develop
type- II Diabetes and are less likely to become obese.
What to eat
Our bodies work on energy. And energy is most easily derived
from glucose. Hence, a healthy breakfast should contain an
adequate amount of starch and carbohydrates. These are broken
down by our bodies into glucose, which is circulated in the
blood throughout our bodies. That is why most breakfast food
items such as bread, chappati, Idli, Dosa etc. are ones with high
starch content. Avoid fatty or fried food items in the morning as
they take longer to digest.
Most people also prefer a diet that is
rich in protein. This is specially true
for people who are physically
active. For vegetarians, adding
grams and legumes to your meal
can provide the necessary proteins.
It is advisable to avoid eating the
yolk of the egg if you wish to watch your weight since it contains
greater amount of fat. A glass of fresh fruit juice, fruits or
vegetables can provide the body with the necessary vitamins
Milk contains most nutrients that the body needs and is very
beneficial. Adding a glass of milk to breakfast is advisable. You
can choose low-fat or skimmed milk over dairy milk since the
latter contains higher levels of fat.
Avoid sugar coated cereals, fatty/ fried food items and street
food. None of them have the necessary amount of nutrients that
your body needs and all of them will do more harm than good.
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