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This ancient proverb is a health wisdom that we so often ignore today. The proverb's prescription of a heavy but healthy breakfast, comparatively light lunch and an even lighter dinner has been turned over its head. Most of us skip breakfast, gulp down a quick lunch and then gorge at night to compensate. Health problems arising out of such improper eating habits and poor lifestyle choices have prompted doctors and nutritionists to aggressively endorse the merits of this proverb.

Breakfast should be your most important meal because it does what it says - it breaks your fast; when you wake up in the morning, you have gone without food for nearly 8-10 hours. Your blood sugar and energy levels are at their lowest and you have the entire day to get through. The role of breakfast is to refuel you and keep you going till lunchtime. Skipping breakfast means poor concentration, fatigue, low blood sugar, irritability and probably a strong craving for junk food mid-morning.

Eating breakfast reduces the risk of obesity. People who get a larger proportion of their total daily caloric intake through breakfast tend to eat fewer calories per day, whereas people who eat more in the evening/night tend to consume more total calories each day. This is because a filling breakfast keeps you satiated and high on energy for a longer time. This eliminates untimely hunger pangs and cravings for food high in salt, fat and sugar.

Several studies have proved the positive role of breakfast in maintaining good health. A study published in the March 2008 issue of an American magazine, Paediatrics said that adolescents who skip breakfast have a higher risk of being overweight. The study found that total fat and saturated fat (bad fat) as a percentage of total daily energy were lower in breakfast eaters compared with breakfast skippers. In a study examining the effect of breakfast on cognitive performance, researchers at the University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School found that skipping breakfast caused hunger and adversely affected performance in tasks requiring concentration. This is because breakfast helps to replenish blood glucose levels; the brain itself has no reserves of glucose, its main energy source, and hence must be constantly replenished. Brain glucose is essential to carry out mental work effectively. Many other published studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are happier, more productive and active than those who do not eat breakfast.

A good breakfast is high in protein, fibre and iron. Protein is a brain activity food and gives energy and fibre keeps you fuller for longer and maintains your digestive health. Complement your breakfast with fresh fruit juice or citrus fruits so that you get your daily dose of Vitamin C, which is essential for iron absorption and strengthening your immune system.

Starting off on a
healthy note

  • Eat a filling, healthy breakfast every morning. A cup of tea or a glass of milk in the morning is not enough to keep you going till lunch time.
  • Being in a hurry is no reason to skip breakfast. Waking up even 15 minutes earlier than your usual time can make a positive difference.
  • Eating chips, burgers, chocolates on your way to office or mid-morning is not an alternative to eating breakfast. In fact, it is the negative impact of skipping breakfast.
  • Fruits, whole grain bread, dates, cereal, juice, boiled eggs, boiled sprouts and vegetables, yoghurt, buttermilk, are healthy breakfast choices.
  • Children learn from elders, so if you want to inculcate good food habits in your children, incorporate a healthy breakfast in your family's daily routine.

The food mantra for good health is:

begin the day with a heavy breakfast and consume progressively smaller amounts with each successive meal. Our body does not need a heavy dinner because it does not have to burn calories during the night. A good breakfast everyday will go a long way in improving your health, performance and happiness. So, why not take this one simple step towards good health?


Health Initiative from KS Oils