Want to know which food can help you lose weight, concentrate better and lower you cholesterol? Well, it’s no one food in particular, but an entire meal: breakfast.
All this time you’ve been waiting for that magic pill or wondrous super-food that will improve your performance, make you healthier and help you knock a few pounds all at once and it’s been here all along. Your mum always told you to have a good breakfast, and she was right (as usual)!
I’d just like to add a little disclaimer though, before I tell you all of the wonderful ways your morning meal is helping you be a better person. The goods you reap from your bountiful breakfast depend a bit on what you eat. You’re doing fine as long as your breakfast is fairly healthy. That means it doesn’t contain over 50% sugar or fat and has a good amount of fiber and protein. Think muesli and yogurt not chocolate chip pop tarts. A sprinkle of sugar is fine on your cereal as long as its cornflakes not frosted flakes.
So being the logical and scientifically minded folk I know you all are, there must be one burning question on your lips:
Where’s the proof?
This is one of those brilliant times when the proof is everywhere! Lots of studies have been done on the magic of morning eating and they’ve pretty much all come to the same conclusion: breakfast is a keeper.
Breakfast and weight loss
But how? I hear you ask. Eating breakfast mean you are consuming more calories so how could it possibly help you lose weight? One of the theories is that breakfast makes you less hungry for the rest of the day. Breakfast eaters have been shown to make better food choices at lunch time and throughout the day than those who prolong their sleeping fast until midday.
This is particularly true if your morning munch is high in protein. Protein is the most satiating and keeps you feeling full for longest. There have even been studies which look at people who eat a protein rich breakfast (like eggs) versus people who have a lower protein meal which have found that the protein loader loses a significantly larger amount of weight. So get your whisk out, because scrambled eggs on grainy bread is the way to go!
Breakfast and concentration
There is a reason why governments all over the world are trying to convince parents to get their kids to eat a proper breakfast. And parents would benefit from the meal just as much.
There have been lots of studies, particularly on school children, which have found that breakfast eaters concentrate better at work and school. Studies have also found that those who have a morning meal have much better functioning memories than those who skip the wonder meal.
Why? You ask. One of the theories is that it has to do with blood glucose levels. While you’re asleep you don’t eat so your blood glucose levels drop. Breakfast is so named because you are literally “breaking the fast” of your sleep hours and thus raising your blood glucose levels. However if you skip breakfast your body has to wait longer before you break the fast. When your blood glucose levels are too low your brain just doesn’t work as well, so having breakfast may act to even out blood glucose levels and get your brain and body back to normal.
Breakfast and cholesterol
Your body needs cholesterol to work properly, but if you have too much of the stuff it starts to clog up your heart and arteries and can be very dangerous. Luckily for us, we can lower our cholesterol levels easily, just by eating breakfast.
The lowering of cholesterol levels by eating reakfast had been shown in lots of studies, like this one and this one. These studies both present very convincing evidence that adults and children who eat breakfast have lower cholesterol levels. This means that breakfast eaters are at a much lower risk of heart disease, yay!
But breakfast is eating things, how could that possibly lower cholesterol? Basically, eating breakfast kick starts your body’s response to insulin. So if you skip breakfast your body doesn’t start responding to insulin properly and it starts building up in your blood. Having so much insulin in your blood means that your sensitivity to it declines and low sensitivity to insulin means your body holds on to fats. Cholesterol just so happens to be a fatty blood fat and your breakfast deprived body is holding onto every fat it can so it doesn’t get rid of the heart harming fat like it should.
So eat your breakfast! It’s a pretty easy (and thoroughly enjoyable) thing to do and you will end up being so much better at life. Or at least a little better.
And last, but not least…
A delicious healthy breakfast option
This is what I have for breakfast almost every day, and I love it!
It’s packed full of fibre, protein, calcium and vitamins. The perfect way to start your day!
- 1/4 cup of museli
- 1/4 cup of youghurt
- 1 bananna
- 1/4 cup of berries (I use frozen ones when they are out of season)
Put everything in a bowl, top with some milk and enjoy.