Friday, November 5, 2010

Breakfast: The Importance of Eating a Good Breakfast

Eating a good breakfast provides all sorts of health benefits; it is important for your overall health, promotes mental alertness and keeps you energized so you can perform your best, both mentally and physically.

Eating a Good Breakfast Offers Many Health Benefits
Here are just a few of the health benefits you will enjoy when you eat a good breakfast.

Nutrition. After a long night without food, your body is in a state of nutritional deprivation. It must draw on the reserve of nutrients in your cells in order to continue functioning. Eating a good breakfast helps to maintain those reserves. A good breakfast provides the nutrients you need for healthy growth and development, as well. If you skip breakfast, chances are you may consume too many calories during the day without getting enough of the vitamins, minerals and other dietary essentials that you need for optimum health. Your breakfast should provide two-fifths to one-third of the nutrients you need for the day.  

Blood sugar. Your body literally goes into an overnight fast while you sleep. By the time you awaken, your blood sugar drops, which diminishes your energy level. A good breakfast restores your blood sugar and gives you the energy you need to get up and go. Try to eat foods that contain a mix of complex carbohydrates so that you get some fiber. Try to avoid consuming a lot of sugar that could send a rush of glucose into your bloodstream at once. 

Mental alertness. Your brain needs glucose (sugar) to function properly. During sleep, the level of glucose in your blood is lowered. As a result, your brain might not be getting enough. By eating a good breakfast, you are able to recharge your brain, in a manner of speaking, so that you can think clearly and perform other tasks efficiently throughout the morning hours. Eating a balanced breakfast of fruits and/or vegetables, whole grain bread or cereal and a good source of protein is key. Breakfast is also a good time to get some calcium in your diet from things like milk, cheese or yogurt.

Physical activity. Your muscles need glucose for optimum performance. But, like all the cells in your body, muscle cells must have other key nutrients present in order to metabolize or use the glucose you consume. So, eating a balanced breakfast that provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and other dietary essentials is important. Avoid drinking sodas or consuming cookies, chips and donuts or other sugary and/or high fat foods for breakfast, as these foods could actually impede your performance.

Weight control. Studies show that people who eat a good breakfast are more likely to control their weight than those who skip breakfast. One reason might be that when you eat a good breakfast, you are less likely to fill up on sodas, chips, donuts and other high-calorie, low nutrient foods that lead to unhealthy weight gain. Try to eat foods that are minimally processed and that are low in sugar, saturated fat and salt. Eating foods high in fiber, such as whole grains and nuts can help you to feel full longer, making it less likely that you will fill up on high fiber foods later in the morning.

Constipation. A good breakfast that includes whole grains and other high-fiber foods will help to improve gut function, move waste along your G.I. tract and out as waste. This will reduce the risk of constipation so that you can enjoy total health.

The bottom line is, you need to start your day by eating a good breakfast. This will help you to get some key nutrients, boost your metabolism, enhance both mental and physical activity, and may help you to lose weight if that is your goal.

Next blog: What to Eat for Breakfast