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Why skipping breakfast is BAD for your heart

January 24, 2014 14:14 IST

Why skipping breakfast is BAD for your heart

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Shameem Akhtar

A breakfast can save more than your day... it could save your life, says Shameem Akhtar.

The spotlight is back on breakfast.

Every dietician swears by it. Weightwatchers and health watchers (sometimes, they can be two separate breeds) vote for it vociferously.

The first meal of the day is once again finding its place under the sun.

If you speak to your mother or grandmother, you will learn that breakfast used to be quite a ritual. A lot of good food was consumed, hot off the stove. It was freshly made (never ever out of a box) and had condiments that added flavour, drama and health.

All in all, breakfast was a heartening cocktail that was never compromised on.

Today, breakfast is eaten on the run. It's been pruned to unnatural sparseness due to time constraints. We are not able to devote the time needed to prepare, or eat, a good breakfast because most of us, including kids, have to be somewhere just when it is breakfast time.

We eat a lonely breakfast or with people who are strangers.

Many workaholics take pride in claiming they never break the fast and go straight for brunch or lunch and that they can last that long without food!

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, celebrates the coming back of the hearty breakfast by listing the benefits that make this the most important meal of your day.


Photographs: Peggy Greb/Wikimedia Commons

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Weight loss goals

Having a good breakfast helps you to control and manage weight simply by ensuring you have enough energy to sail through the day. This way, you do not need to be propelled towards all the wrong foods when the hunger signals hit.

Research done by the Tel Aviv University shows how a big breakfast is a healthy contributor towards achieving diet control goals.

The research (published in the journal Obesity in August last year), done over a period of three months, shows that the weight lost through a breakfast-rich diet plan is more sustained.

The control group felt more in control, buoyant and had fewer cravings.

Interestingly, breakfast seems to affect the loss in terms of how the weight trimmed off at the stomach too (the most difficult area to control in weightloss programmes).

Blood sugar levels in the control group was better maintained, showing the connection between a good breakfast and metabolism.


Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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Controls chronic problems

The research established that a good breakfast helps manage cholesterol and blood pressure levels and controls diabetes. This shows that chronic problems can be managed through a well-designed breakfast.

Much of this magic happens simply by tapping into the body's natural circadian rhythm. It uses the body's metabolism to process food better, absorb nutrients more effectively and dump waste more efficiently.

When the systems run smoothly without the stress of having to worry about energy to keep them going, the body seems to swivel towards health naturally.


Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Tags: BAD

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Better at your work

It was found that those who ate a hearty breakfast did better at work. Adrenalin junkies may not be ready to accept this but one must admit that this discovery is hardly surprising.

A good breakfast will keep your brain cells buzzing happily because they too, like the rest of your body need blood sugar to keep going. In fact, sluggishness and lethargy are just the body's way of sneaking in a rest because of the energy deficit that is caused by a bad breakfast.

It also means that those who are organised about their food -- after all, food is an important aspect of our lives -- are equally well-organised about life's other aspects, including work.

It seems a good breakfast sets off a merry-go-round of good stuff in your life.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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Mood control

Going with the same logic, it was found that those who skipped breakfast were more prone to fly off the handle and become irritable or anxious (different sides to the same coin).

Our moods are just bio-chemical messages coursing through our body.

Is it a surprise to see that bad food habits impact our moods adversely?

The right food decides how we feel and props our self-esteem. It keeps us energised and feeling good.

A good breakfast contributes to these causes more effectively because what we eat (before 11 am) gets processed and absorbed by around 2 pm.

Progressively, the system that deals with processing food enters the go-slow mode.

Stuffing food, however nutrient-dense, later on will not have as much food eaten earlier during the day.

So, once all nutrients -- vitamin B (gives us a high), vitamin C (relieves us of stress), magnesium (helps fight depression), selenium (works with our feel-good hormones) -- get absorbed, it is inevitable that we enjoy a mood high throughout the day.


Photographs: Sivaram V/Reuters
Tags: BAD

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