By Justine Namara
Often enough, when we wake up, we are so busy accommodating the thoughts of our daily busy life. It is common that we ‘jump’ out of bed thinking about the pile of files you left at your office table or even the errand you are supposed to run that day.
It is possible that breakfast comes in mind eventually after the work is done or mid way probably when you are reminded by someone. Believe it or not, the old saying of “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper still stands even today. You may not have time to have a lavish meal at breakfast like a king but having a healthy meal makes a difference.
A nutritionist at Global Nutrition and wealth Uganda and USAID-NILA, Christine Beinomugisha explains, “First of all, breakfast literally means ‘to break the fast’. Since our bodies do not consume anything after dinner till we wake up, our bodies are famished. When you sleep all night till morning, it is like you are fasting. So, after having consumed energy from last night’s meal, we need to recharge."
Usually when you fast (for those that actually fast), you do it in a particular way or order, say fast a certain time and eat at a specific time, so the same thing happens that everyone fasts over night and must break the fast in the morning so as to keep the body in rhythm.
Beinomugisha goes ahead to advise that breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast that's where its name originates, breaking the fast! Without breakfast, you are effectively running on empty stomach, like trying to start the car with no petrol! she adds that breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking and a healthy breakfast should provide calories in the range of 20-35% of your guideline daily allowance
Apart from providing us with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin B as well as protein and fibre. The body needs these essential nutrients and research shows that if these are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day.
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals so try to include a portion at your breakfast, be it a banana or glass of fruit juice.
Breakfast can be good for waistline too, research shows those who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight and more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared with breakfast skippers. If you skip breakfast, you're more likely to reach for high sugar and fatty snacks mid-morning.
One is likely to suffer from ulcers since naturally there will be release of hormones and digestive juices whenever the body and mind are alert and aware of the body needs. Missing breakfast causes stress which could destabilise or alter the body metabolism.
Metabolism simply means the process in which food substances are broken down to yield energy. This would lead to cases like heart problems, poor disposition of fat in the body, hypertension, diabetes and low body immunity. The importance of breakfast to our body is;
Breakfast restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function. Many studies have shown how eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels and it can also make us happier as it can improve mood and lower stress levels. In studies among children, breakfast can improve attainment, behaviour and has been linked to improved grades. Just like any other organ in the body, the brain needs energy to work at its best!
People's energy needs vary depending on activity levels and life stage but typically men require more energy than women. Growing children require a lot of energy. So parents should ensure their children have had breakfast before going on with the day.
The best healthy foods for breakfast are; oatmeal, eggs, bananas, watermelon, berries, wheat foods like bread, cereal, coffee or tea, fresh juice, milk. Also drink water. This helps to flash out any toxins from the body that may have been a result of metabolism and catabolism at night. It also cleans the gut lining.