The word breakfast refers to “breaking the fasting period” of the previous night. While it is common knowledge that breakfast is considered the “most important meal of the day”, recent research is beginning to contest this claim.
No matter what science determines, breakfast is still a universally beloved meal. Breakfast restaurants are always brimming with happy, hungry customers chowing down on pancakes and drinking coffee. Around the world, people enjoy breakfast in many different shapes and sizes.
A quick search through world breakfast recipes shows the diversity of flavor that breakfast has to offer. There are pastries, meats, soups, stews, breads, and so much more! This infographic explores traditional breakfast cuisine across the globe.
The Importance Of Breakfast
A large amount of research backs up the claim that breakfast is, indeed, the most important meal of the day. When we start the day with a healthy breakfast, we are getting our metabolism in gear so that we can burn more calories.
Because of this, science has shown people who have breakfast daily have a lower BMI than those who do not. BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a measure of a person’s body fat based on their height and weight. A higher BMI can lead to such health conditions as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and sleep issues like obstructive sleep apnea.
Those who eat breakfast also have a greater chance of getting their daily amount of fruits and vegetables. They are also more likely to hit their daily goals for calcium and fiber intake while eating less fat throughout the day.
Now, with this added nutrition comes higher performance. Whether it be at work or at school, breakfast diners often are more successful. For instance, a 2014 study found that medical students who ate breakfast in the morning performed better during clinical sessions and on tests.
Breakfast is not just helpful for medical students. A 2013 study of students under the age of 13 found that students who ate a nutritious breakfast performed better on tests, especially those that involved arithmetic. In addition, researchers saw that students’ behavior improved greatly.
Speaking of behavior, breakfast can also have a positive impact on our mood and mental wellbeing. A study from 1998 discovered that breakfast eaters showed fewer signs of depression and reported less stress.
However, it is not just a matter of eating any breakfast. The healthiness and nutrition of said breakfast play a large part in the effects it has on a person’s mental health. According to a 2013 study, adolescents who consumed a nutritious breakfast showed even fewer signs of stress.
Eating well-balanced meals throughout the day, including a nutritious breakfast, can also help you sleep better at night. Going to bed on an empty stomach can lead to difficulties falling and staying asleep. To get your best night’s rest, practice good sleep hygiene and try to leave a three-hour window between your last meal and your bedtime. A comfortable mattress can help, too!
Part Of A Complete Breakfast
So, looking above, it is obvious that the breakfasts can really vary based on geography. In some countries, beans and rice are a breakfast staple, while in other countries, curry or eggs are the main courses.
Now, while these dishes vary greatly, there are some things to consider when planning out breakfast. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few things one should definitely include in order to ensure breakfast is balanced and healthy.
- Make sure that whole grains are part of the meal. This could include rolls and bagels, cereal, muffins, and waffles.
- For protein, make sure that it is lean. Eggs, turkey, nuts, and legumes are a few examples — and they double as healthy midnight snack options, too!
- The same goes for dairy, so make sure that it is low fat. Low-fat milk and cottage cheese can be a great addition to a healthy breakfast.
- As mentioned above, breakfast is a great time to get one’s recommended amount of fruit and vegetables. Fruits and veggies, whether frozen or fresh, are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Fruit juice can be great too, but make sure it doesn’t contain too much much sugar.
Also, when it comes to cereal, there are a few things to look out for. The Mayo Clinic recommends choosing cereals that are high in fiber (at least 3 grams per serving), low in sugar, and low in calories (less than 160 calories per serving).