So as a Physician, I have to remind myself daily to practice what I preach. After seven years of medical school in Havana, Cuba and 3 years of Emergency Medicine Residency training in Newark, NJ, I have now developed a really bad habit of intermittently skipping the most important meal of the day: BREAKFAST! I would dash out of the door for work in the morning with only a cup of coffee. Not good. When I don’t eat breakfast, I am a little cranky, not as focused and have less energy than usual. When this happens, I would take a quick 5-minute break and leave from the Emergency Department briefly to grab a toasted plain bagel with a little butter or cream cheese to curb my hunger. According to a recent study in www.consumerreports.org, “women who worked full time had a greater risk than those who worked part-time, possibly because job stress has been found to raise glucose levels.” That ladies and gentlemen, is a major problem. Eating a good healthy breakfast can jumpstart our metabolism and help us burn calories throughout the day. Eating within 2 hours upon awakening can make a great difference in the way we metabolize glucose (blood sugar) throughout the duration of the day. It also helps our temple (body) keep glucose and insulin balanced which has major effects on metabolism and health
But there is good news! The good news is that there are a few reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of day that we can all benefit from it.
Several studies have linked eating breakfast to better processing and learning information, memory and concentration. I find this to be true. When I eat a hearty breakfast, I am more focused, very active, my energy level is increased, and my work is more efficient.
Eating a well-balanced breakfast is linked to reducing the risk of obesity. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating or skipping meals do not have an effect on weight loss. However, skipping breakfast habitually may lead to overeating at other meals and excessive snacking throughout the day. When I was in residency, I had to work night shifts. Working night shifts are difficult because once you’re finished working, you may run home and go straight to sleep...skipping breakfast. My eating habits changed dramatically. I snacked on whatever I could find and overindulged on not-so healthy meals during the night shifts. Definitely led to a little weight gain and I was not happy about it.
Not eating breakfast consistently may lead to cardiovascular diseases. So eat a morning meal, people! It may protect your heart and prevent clogged arteries!
Of course what you put in your mouth is important. Only drinking a cup of coffee and eating foods with high sugar content will eventually lead to a disaster. I strongly recommend that you kick-start your beautiful morning with a nutritious bowl of cereal. Why? Well breakfast cereal is a very quick and easy meal to prepare in a short period of time. My favorite bowl of cereal is oatmeal! I love my oatmeal thick with a little brown sugar and cinnamon to the mix. Sometimes I switch up and I add fruit and yogurt instead of brown sugar. It is a great breakfast dish. I always have to have a cup of tea and a bottle of water for hydration. I know...some of you are probably giving me the side eye about oatmeal. But eating a bowl of oatmeal each day has its benefits. For example, oatmeal contains a soluble fiber called beta glucan which helps to curb your bad (LDL) cholesterol. Recent studies show eating oatmeal is linked to approximately 7% drop in your bad cholesterol. The fiber in oatmeal helps with promoting good bowel movement (easing constipation) and control glucose levels. When I eat a bowl of oatmeal, I am full and I eat less later on through the day.
So ladies and gentlemen, do your absolute best to wake a little earlier than usual and treat your body to a hearty breakfast in the morning. Resist the doughnuts or any pastry. It is best to have a breakfast mix of foods that have protein, healthy fats, fiber and carbohydrates. As mentioned earlier, the fiber will keep you full while the carbohydrates will give you fuel and the proteins will provide additional energy. Smoothies made from low fat yogurt, fruit and a little bit of bran or a whole-grain granola bars are great breakfast options as well.