Research Shows Breakfast Matters Most
It's not surprising that nutritionists often cite breakfast as the most important meal of the day. Refueling your body after eight or nine hours of sleep helps you feel better, perform better and prevent many of the adverse effects of fasting such as irritability and fatigue.
Recently however, scientists have found even more compelling reasons to eat this morning meal. By raising blood glucose levels, breakfast can help improve both mental and physical performance.
In a review of research conducted over the last 18 years, Dr. Ernesto Politt, University of California at Davis, concluded that breakfast, "affects both simple and complex cognitive processes that are critical for learning." He found these benefits of eating breakfast especially evident in children. Children who eat breakfast have been found to be more creative, perform better in school and score higher on tests for memory, recall, and verbal skills. Breakfast, particularly carbohydrates, has also been linked to improvements in short-term memory and concentration in adults.
"Breakfast is an essential meal for children and adults," says Sheah Rarbuck, M.S., R.D, "It provides important nutrients for the body -- carbohydrates, protein and fat. Eating breakfast also helps people make better, more healthful food choices throughout the day." In fact a recent report by the American Health Foundation found children who skip breakfast tend to be more overweight than those who do eat breakfast.
What makes a healthful breakfast? It should be low in fat, high in fiber and include about one-third to one-fourth of the day's total protein, carbohydrate, cholesterol and sodium. "Breakfast can be almost anything -- muffins, burritos, fruit, yogurt -- as long as it's balanced and the food is quick, easy and available," Rarback said.
Carbohydrates like bread, muffins, cereal, bagels and even tortillas are important, but so is protein. Turkey sausage and turkey bacon are tasty lower-fat alternatives to other breakfast meats. They also make easy, grab-and-go breakfasts. Corn muffins made with turkey sausage are quick and convenient at the office, school or at home. They can be prepared in advance and frozen for later use. Turkey burritos are another delicious breakfast choice. At home or on the go, turkey is an excellent way to start the day. Just add a glass of milk and a piece of fruit and you'll have a complete, well-balanced meal in a flash.
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