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A Healthy Way to Start Your Day
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by: Celebrity Recipes Magazine

Waking up is hard to do and it is especially difficult for people who'd probably like to avoid that time of day and everything that comes with it --- even breakfast.

But as sure as the sun's gonna shine, breakfast will always be an important meal of the day --- one that should be consumed by people of any age.

Although all three traditional meals play a significant role in supplying the daily recommended levels of essential nutrients, nutritionist often cite breakfast as the day's most important meal and the foundation of healthy eating habits.

Despite these recommendations, millions of people throughout the world routinely skip breakfast. According to a 1987 report, one out of four women between the age of 25 and 34 regularly skip breakfast. Other studies show that eating habits developed during childhood have a potential to last a lifetime. Thus, children who tend to omit breakfast most likely will continue this dietary habit well into adulthood.

But a review of breakfast-related research over the last 30 years may make even the tried-and-true breakfast skipper into a breakfast convert.

Studies have shown that eating breakfast is associated with improved strength and endurance in the late morning, along with a better attitude toward school or work.

Breakfast help to replenish blood glucose levels, which is important since the brain itself has no reserves of glucose, its main energy source, and constantly must be replenished.

Studies shows that sustained mental work requires large turnover of brain glucose and its metabolic components.

Researchers at the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School agree. They examined whether eating breakfast has any advantageous effects on late morning mood, satiety or cognitive performance.

    Participants were tested for cognitive performance 30 minutes after mealtime, and then two hours and four hours later. Results confirmed that eating breakfast of either nutritional composition was beneficial. Skipping breakfast consistently caused hunger and led to performance difficulties on tasks requiring concentration.

    "Eating breakfast of any kind prevented many of the adverse effects of fasting," such as irritability and fatigue, according to principal investigator, Bonnie Spring, Ph.D. Spring added that those who ate the balanced breakfast scored significantly higher on test than those who ate the unbalanced breakfast.

    In terms of suppressing hunger, the balanced breakfast also was most effective. The unbalanced breakfast suppressed hunger only relative to fasting; but four hours later, those who ate the unbalanced breakfast were as hungry as those who fasted.
    The potential role in breakfast in helping children perform at peak capacity in the classroom was first documented more than 30 years ago at the University of Iowa Medical College. Researchers found that children who skipped breakfast had trouble concentrating at school and became inattentive and restless by late morning. These behavior problems were linked to low blood sugar levels, which has never been replenished by a morning meal and allowed fatigue, irritability and restlessness to develop. Such behaviors are counter-productive to learning.

    These and other findings helped confirm the hypothesis that children who go to school hungry cannot perform well. To address this problem, congress enacted the school breakfast as part of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.

    Today, nearly 37,000 schools nationwide in the US offer the breakfast program, reaching a total of 4 million children daily. The federal subsidy allows school to make breakfasts that meet certain nutritional guidelines available to children on a reduced-cost basis or free to those from low-income families.

    In addition to improved cognitive functioning, breakfast has been shown to have other benefits. A 1987 study of third to sixth grade Massachusetts school children found that children participating in a school breakfast program had improved test scores as well as reduced rates of tardiness and absenteeism.

    How does the breakfast impact adults? Much of the breakfast research on adult has focused on this meal's overall nutritional contribution to the daily diet.
    Avoid the temptation to be a breakfast skipper by following these quick tips from USDA's Human Nutritional Information Service:
    • No time? Build a breakfast around foods that are ready to eat or take a little preparation time. There are plenty that qualify: fresh and canned fruits, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, ready-to-eat cold cereals and instant breakfast mixes.
    • Take it to go... Try celery stuffed with peanut butter or meat or cheese spread or dried fruits or vegetable juices. Perk up cereals… Top cereals with fruits or stir chopped nuts such as peanuts, pecans and walnuts into cooked cereal.
    • Not hungry yet? Drink juice. Something is better than nothing. Have some bread or crackers later in the morning, then drink some milk and eat some cheese, an egg or peanut butter.
    • Don't skip if you're on a diet. There's no evidence that skipping meals will help you lose weight. In fact, studies show that most people who skip breakfast tend to eat more later in the day. Some even select more calorically-dense foods that those who eat breakfast.
    Researchers at USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University analyzed three-day diet record of 650 Boston area senior citizens to find what food contributed the most calories in their diets. Selecting optimal diets are critical to the aged, many of whom are trying to lose or control their weight for effective disease management. Other elderly, however, are at risk for undernutrition due to social and physical problems.

    Of the various eating patterns that emerged, the diet in which most of the breakfast calories were supplied by cereal, milk and fruit provided the best nutritional profile overall among those tested. According to Tufts researcher Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., the vitamin fortified breakfast cereals, as well as the vitamins in milk, helped participants reach the recommended dietary allowances for calcium and vitamins B6, riboflavin and folate.

    The nutritional benefits of breakfast cereals also were shown in a recent survey of more than 4,000 households by General Mills, Inc. Adults who ate cereal for breakfast consumed an average of 10 percent fewer calories than those who selected other breakfast foods, with only 20 percent of their calories coming from fat.

    Moreover, those who ate cereal for breakfast maintained a better nutritional profile over the entire day than when they opted for other breakfast menus. For example, on days when participants ate cereal for breakfast, they ate fewer calories from fat throughout the day and 40 percent less cholesterol. They also consumed 20 percent more essential vitamins and minerals than on non-cereal days.

    Thus, for kids as well as adults, balanced breakfast choices can help provide the healthy edge needed for optimum physical performance. For those who don't yet consume breakfast, it's never too late to wake up to a healthy start.

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September 23, 2017

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