Start the day right: How to reap the big benefits of breakfast

Aug 14, 2020
Starting each day with a big breakfast comes with a number of health benefits. Source: Getty.

For years we have been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Research shows that eating breakfast comes with a number of health benefits, such as boosting energy levels, improving brainpower and promoting weight loss — but despite the benefits, many people often skip it. That’s why Starts at 60 spoke to two health experts to find out not only why breakfast is so good for you but also what are some of the healthiest choices.

Why breakfast is so important

First things first, breakfast gives you the energy to start the day, says leading dietician and Mayver’s ambassador Susie Burrell. “Breakfast is a chance to refuel the body,” she explains, adding it also kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. Susie adds that people who eat breakfast are also less likely to snack throughout the day.

Nutritionist Teresa Mitchell-Paterson offered a similar point, saying that people who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to be overweight and eat unhealthy snacks, adding: “It helps you burn more calories throughout the day.”

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism earlier this year found eating a large breakfast rather than a large dinner may prevent obesity. Teresa adds you’re also more likely to meet your recommended five servings of vegetables and two serves of fruits per day.

But the health benefits don’t stop at weight loss — Teresa says eating a healthy breakfast can kickstart your brain in the morning and help boost your productivity, and may also protect against heart disease. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that skipping breakfast raises your risk of heart disease — so you may want to think twice before skipping the first meal of the day!

Good breakfast choices

Susie reckons the perfect breakfast mix includes good quality protein like eggs, dairy, whole grains, low-carb food choices like grainy bread or porridge and good fats like avocado. “Some of my favourite options include eggs on toast [or] bircher muesli with a dollop of Mayver’s peanut butter,” she says.

Meanwhile, Teresa suggests tucking into some eggs, preferably poached, with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms, or slathering some avocado or nut butter onto whole-grain bread. If you’re short on time, cereal with fresh fruit and a handful of nuts works a treat, and if you’re looking for a vegan option she recommends opting for scrambled tofu with chives and a side of kale instead.

“Breakfast like a king and decrease your food intake as the day wears on,” Teresa says, adding, “this will also help you gain a good [night’s] sleep as digestion slows down as the day closes.”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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