Most of us tend to skip breakfast, and usually just gulp down a coffee or processed food labelled as breakfast such as doughnuts or pastries, however breakfast is a great opportunity to add nutritional value to your day, helping us fuel up and prepare for work or any other activity you might fancy. Its important to know the best breakfast to eat in the morning and how this can impact our health.
A good breakfast meal can help provide not only satiety but also antioxidants, vitamins and minerals the body and mind need in order to function. A plant based breakfast is by far the healthiest way of starting of our day.
Just eating breakfast that is low in quality might not actually be beneficial for our health, its true that breakfast provides us with a healthy start for the day however the quality of the breakfast has the greatest impact on our health. Eating a breakfast full of sugar and carbs, and fat (typical western diet) will do more damage than good.
Which Type Of breakfast is the best
When It comes to evidence as to which type of food we should be eating for breakfast, think simple and easy, fruits, whole grains, some healthy fats and black coffee or tea
To be honest there is no perfect breakfast or timing, however eating before a hard day at work or at the gym is a better idea then just doing work on an empty stomach, eating helps you to focus and maintains a good level of energy throughout the day.
The problem in our society is that most breakfast found in the supermarkets nowadays are highly processed foods full of sugar, hydrogenated fats and dyes. Unhealthy eating has also been linked with an increase in risk of developing ADHD in children. read more
However when it comes to eating a decent healthy breakfast, its important to go for the natural foods like fruit, veggies and wholegrains like oats, whole wheat and breads made with multi-seed. The fibre and vitamins and antioxidants obtained from eating a good breakfast have various health implications like reduction of cholesterol, improving brain function and concentration and cardiovascular health.
1. Oatmeal and oats
If you follow any health guru or fitness athlete you always find oats as part of their breakfast meals prep.
Oats are simple, cheap, packed with fibre that helps reduce cholesterol and aids in weight reduction. Oats contain a beta glucan which is a dietary fibre found in oats and barley that is essential for reducing the levels of cholesterol. This works by creating a gelatinous like substance in the stomach and intestine that delays gastric emptying and slows down the absorption of glucose and sugars.
one study has confirmed this, when compared to simple carb breakfasts like cornflakes especially in obese or overweight subjects, consuming oats helped to increase satiety and reduce hunger.
2. Nuts and Nut or Seed Butters
One of my favourite breakfast meals that I consume regularly is banana and peanut butter or tahini.
Nut and but butters are a great source of protein and an easy way for vegetarians or vegans to obtain a good source of protein especially when combined with whole meal bread or oats.
Nuts contain various nutrients not just fats, the fat in nuts is mostly unsaturated and hence heart friendly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The consumption of nuts has been shown in one study to reduce the overall risk of death by more than 20% and was shown to be inversely proportional to non specific mortality. One meta analysis conducted on the effect of nuts on cancer , showed that consuming nuts was significantly associated to a reduced risk of cancer.
One of the biggest questions I get when I say its healthy to eat nuts is ….
Do nuts cause weight gain?
A simple answer to this question is that, the consumption of nuts was not shown to be associated to weight gain and actually was seen to be inversely associated to waste circumference and weight gain. The current data suggests that nut consumption is far below recommended guidelines, and that its recommended to consume at least one serving of nuts per day (palm sized serving).
Nuts such as brazil nuts for example are packed with selenium and are shown to increase the antioxidant effects and may alter the metabolic pathways and altering blood lipid levels.
- Best nuts to eat:
- Walnuts (hearth and brain)
- Brazil nuts (immune system and antioxidant)
- Almonds (fibre and weight loss, cardiovascular)
- cashews (help maintain a good weight, great for bulking in bodybuilders)
- peanuts (cheap and healthy)
This is a no brainer, fruits are packed with vitamins such as vitamin C, fibre which acts as a prebiotic and minerals. Fruits contain chemicals called flavonoids that have various cancer fighting qualities as well as anti inflammatory effects. The best fruits that we can eat for breakfast include berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries apart from being delicious these are packed with antioxidants.
Apart from the antioxidant effects, berries were shown to improve blood flow to the brain and enhance memory and attention, these studies are promising as berry consumption might reduce risk of dementia in patients. Eating berries along with other fruits or spices can not not only benefit the waist line but enhance the effect of these compounds on the body.
One large study (meta analysis) with more than 469,551 participants found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a 4% reduced risk of death per serving eaten per day.
One of the easiest ways to include fruit into your diet is drinking smoothies
Apart from water and tea, coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed. approximately 166.63 million 60 kilogram bags of coffee were consumed worldwide this increasing compared to the previous years.
Coffee consumption is not just a morning pick me up, new research is showing that coffee might have beneficial health effects and consumption is related to a lower overall cause mortality. Previous studies have investigated the association between coffee consumption and major causes of death, showing an inverse association with diabetes, inflammatory disease, stroke and cancer.
However the way we consume coffee also plays an impact on the overall health benefits of coffee, drinking coffee black vs drinking coffee with milk or creamer of drinking your daily starbucks coffee has an overall impact on health. The addition of milk in coffee was shown to have a negative impact on the benefit of coffee, as milk might have an interaction with the beneficial phenolic compounds found in coffee.
A randomized control trail was carried out that studied the effect of adding soy milk on coffee and the urinary excretion of isoflavones (ISO) and chlorogenic acids (CGA), this study noted that although there was some reduction in absorption the in consumption of antioxidants there was no statistically significant reduction in absorption of antioxidants when compared to drinking coffee back.
The coffee consumed in the western countries is far from healthy, most coffee shops sell coffee that is full of additives, sugar, cream and fat.
So the way we drink out coffee has a huge impact on health.
I usually drink my coffee black!
5. Whole meal bread and toast
Although bread is thought of being bad for health and is associated to weight gain, bread eaten at breakfast can be incredibly healthy, depending what it is made of.
Bread can be made out of wheat, rye, seeds and oats. so the overall nutritional benefits of bread can be obtained by eating healthier versions of the loaf. Additionally eating bread with nut butters is a great way of obtaining a full range of proteins, in people who are vegan or vegetarian and avoid eating dairy and meat.
Instead of oats or oatmeal eating bread with hummus, peanut butter or almond butter for breakfast is a great way to obtain healthy fats and to keep you up and going for the rest of the day.
One large study also showed that a low intake of carbs was associated to an increased risk in mortality from all causes especially several illnesses, those eating less carbs were found to be 32% more likely to die prematurely compared to people who had a regular carb intake.
Low carb consumers were 51 percent more likely to die from coronary heart disease, 50 percent more likely to die from cerebrovascular disease, and 35 percent more likely to die of cancer. read here