We all have heard that eating your breakfast is important because it kick starts the metabolism after a night of fasting, setting the right pace for the rest of the day.
But did you know that skipping your morning breakfast could also increase risk of heart diseases? An eye opening study done by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health proves just that.
What Do Studies Say?
Researchers monitored the health and food habits of 26,902 men to find that those who skipped their breakfast often were are a 27% more risk to die of a heart attack or suffer from serious coronary heart diseases. These men were studied over 16 long years to try and find a connection between their breakfast habits and their heart health.
The reason was simple – those who ate breakfast were less likely to binge on unhealthy snacks before lunchtime, and that meant they could control their weight better. Also, most of those who skipped breakfast were also more likely to eat a snack late at night, which alone increased their risk of coronary disease by a whopping 55%.
On the other hand, those who ate breakfast continued to eat lesser through the rest of the day because they tucked away a hearty, balanced breakfast first thing in the morning, which also reduced their risk to heart diseases.
This study supports the concept that cardiovascular risk factors might be modified by a variety of lifestyle factors – and eating breakfast is definitely one of them.
So Will Any Kind of Breakfast Count?
Sadly, this study came with a few limitations, as the researchers didn’t take in to account WHAT a person eats for breakfast. No matter how much you would like to believe otherwise, having a doughnut or pancakes for breakfast will not protect you against heart diseases!
What matters here is not only WHEN you eat, but also WHAT you eat. So make sure that you have a calorie controlled breakfast that is healthy and balanced. A good breakfast will include:
- Some high quality lean protein – eggs, lean cuts of meats like boiled chicken and sausages, dairy like low fat cheese, toned milk etc
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Some whole grain – multigrain toasts, oatmeal, chapattis and paranthas made with minimal oil
A health plus would be adding heart friendly oils like olive oil and canola oil and also eating a handful of nuts for some extra fibre and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Keep in mind that if you eat about 2000 calories a day, about 300 to 600 should come from your breakfast alone for a healthy start to your day. On the other hand, a breakfast that is low in nutrients and high in calorie will in fact not only make your metabolism sluggish with the overload, it will also be detrimental for your heart health.
Summing It Up
Remember, eating a healthy breakfast is just ONE of many healthy habits associated with improved heart health. If you continue to lead a sedentary lifestyle, while you also smoke and drink to your heart’s content, adding breakfast alone to make for your list of ‘Lifestyle changes’ will not help you.
However, think of it as a wakeup call – a good reminder to keep eating healthy for the rest of the day, rather than an excuse to binge!
Also Read: Recipe: Kaya’s Gluten Free Breakfast Bowl