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  • Shivani Taneja

Breakfast should be King Size!

During lock down, due to sudden pandemic, it not only had an impact on our economy but has affected our overall health schedules, disturbed sleeping patterns, skipping breakfast as people get up late or having inadequate meals. Now that there is no lock down and we have emerged in “New Normal” situations, its important for us to boost up our immunity and take adequate meals; breakfast is one of them.

Breakfast literally means breaking the fast, due to busy schedules, running lives, every 1 in 4 urban Indian claims to skip breakfast, recent study shows people with inadequate nutritional intake for breakfast meal had sub optimal intakes of fiber and certain vitamins and minerals as compared to (recommend dietary allowances) RDA, also intake of calcium was found to be high (30% of daily RDA ) possibly due to consumption of milk at breakfast.( Indian breakfast habit study ).

First thing in the morning, the body is low on energy reserves and needs fuel in the form of breakfast, to get going. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends breakfast should provide 20 – 25% of the daily nutrient requirements.

College students tend to skip meals, mostly breakfast, while transition to a more hectic and independent lifestyle; this is when unhealthy eating patterns start having adverse effects on our health.

Importance of breakfast are:

1. Breakfast helps support brain function:

  • * Skipping of breakfast may worsen early morning tasks leading to lower rates of intellectual performance, increased errors and slower memory recall.

  • * Eating breakfast regulary helps people to perform better , especially in calculations and creative tasks. It also results in superior memory performance, problem solving skills and attention (ability to handle demanding mental tasks and reaction to frustration) and better comprehension during reading and listening.

A study was reported that cognitive performance ( like verbal, fluency, arithmetic, tests of attention, memory, creativity and cognitive functions) of adolescents( 11 – 13 year old ) was enhanced after eating breakfast.

Liu et al, 2013 showed that people who regularly have breakfast had significantly higher performance IQ test scores compared to those whose sometimes have breakfast.

2. Breakfast can improve nutrient intakes:

Eating breakfast regularly can lead to healthier intake of micro and macro nutrients. Recent studies reported that children and adults gets more fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin A,C, riboflavin and Zinc in their diets that help healthy growth and development.

3. Breakfast eaters tend to have healthier body weights:

Who have breakfast regularly are less predisposed to overweight and obesity , have lower BMI (body mass index). Those who skip breakfast are likely to increase BMI.

Consumption of high fiber cereals and whole grains products results in improved satiety and decrease binge eating in lunch and in the evening.( jackson LW, 2013 )

4. Breakfast improves metabolism:

Breakfast improves metabolic parameters, mostly associated with heart and general health such as

  • * Decreased risk of developing abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome. Improved insulin sensitivity Higher glucose tolerance during following meals Reduced LDL cholesterol levels (NHANES 2006).

5. Breakfast consumption improves physical and mental well-being:

Scientific researches have shown that regular consumption of breakfast is associated with lower stress levels and better physical and mental health and more positive mood and calmness.

Balanced breakfast

USDA recommends a balanced breakfast should consist of 4 essential food groups such as

  • * Proteins: milk and milk products, eggs.

  • * Carbohydrates: cereals like daliya, suji, poha, oats ets

  • * Fats – nuts, oil

  • * Vitamins and minerals: fruits and vegetables

Some of the examples are:

1. Poha added vegetables with a glass of milk plus a fruit

2. A bowl of Porridge with milk plus 2 eggs, preparation ( Omellete, boiled, scrambled etc) with a fruit ( mango banana, apple, pineapple etc )

3. 2 Idlis and a bowl of sambhar and a fruit

4. Oat meal porridge added vegetables with a glass of milk and a fruit

5. Besan cheela added vegetables with green chutney ( mint + coriander) + a glass of milk and a fruit or a shake

6. Corn salad + egg preparation + fruit juice

These breakfast options contains all the essential nutrients for a balanced meal like high in fiber, contains vitamins and minerals, low in fat and easier to digest.

So from now on start having breakfast regularly!

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