Breakfast – The Most Important Meal?

Ever surprised what can happen to your mood if you skip your breakfast? Lots! Breakfast provides the body with the energy to get going in the mornings and skipping your essential needs in the morning can leave you tired and frustrated by the afternoon. And no, coffee and a cigarette does not count – you need quick healthy breakfast ideas, and ideally some high energy breakfast recipes that work for you. Breakfast – 'breaking your fast' – has to involve some food!

Benefits of breakfast on mood

A study conducted in the UK looked at the benefits of having cereal bars in the morning, compared with not having breakfast at all. Consumption of a cereal bar in the morning addressed in increased alertness, happier mood and less anxiety (and less irritability for the grumpy among us!) When compared to those who did not have any breakfast. Breakfast eaters were also more sociable compared to others. Similar effects were seen in those who had mid-morning snacks, substantiating the fact that breakfast can have positive effects on the mood. (1)

Another similar study conducted in Germany measured the effects of breakfast on the mood in high school children. It was noted that alertness was increased in all the children who had breakfast in comparison to those who did not. Additionally, it was noted that boys who consumed breakfast felt more positive than those who did not. (2) The research focused on providing quick healthy breakfast ideas, so that convenience was kept high.

It goes without saying that increased alertness and a more positive mood are essential for everyone to perform at their best, be it studying or working. A happier mood ensures better work and improved performance. Additionally, studies have proven that individuals who have their breakfast also demonstrate better memory and cognitive function in comparison to those who remain hungry in the mornings. Reasonable energy intakes during the morning improve short-term memory despite super high calorie breakfasts actually impaired concentration levels. (2, 3 Breakfast Research)

Not only is it important to have your breakfast, but it is also important to choose what you have. According to one of the studies in France, the size of your breakfast does not have an effect over your mood, but it can affect short-term memory. (3) Further studies are ongoing to evaluate the effects of factors such as type of breakfast, the amount of breakfast and several others on the mood. Who would have thought that breakfast was such a hot topic?

I always advise people to do two things: first, have something for breakfast; and second, experiment with what works best for them. I prefer a high protein and low carbohydrate breakfast – often poached eggs with some ham, and a glass of orange juice. I'll have a cup of yerba mate tea and try to hold back on coffee until later in the day. A lot of people find that fruit works for them, and while conventional breakfast cereals can be a bit too sweet (leading to a rebound energy drop in mid-morning), other quick healthy breakfast ideas include muesli with some fruit chopped into it, which can be a great breakfast.

1. Smith AP, Wilds A. Effects of cereal bars for breakfast and mid-morning snacks on mood and memory. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009; 60 Suppl 4: 63-9.

2. Widenhorn-Müller K, Hille K, Klenk J, Weiland U. Influence of having breakfast on cognitive performance and mood in 13 to 20-year-old high school students: results of a crossover trial. Pediatrics. 2008 Aug; 122 (2): 279-84.

3. Michaud C, Musse N, Nicolas JP, Mejean L. Effects of breakfast-size on short-term memory, concentration, mood and blood glucose. J Adolesc Health. 1991 Jan

Source by Josh Brostoff

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