How to breakfast like a champion
THESE days everyone seems to have an opinion on nutrition, especially when it comes to breakfast. Once referred to as the most important meal of the day, “breakfast” is now the subject of intense scientific scrutiny. In the bitterly divided world of breakfast etiquette there seem to be two types of people – those who skip breakfast, and those who don’t.
But fast-breaking has to happen at some stage which, by convention, is break fast … So you can choose to starve or supercharge your break-fast.
How your first meal affects your body
What you eat depends on your metabolism and your goals. A professional athlete will have different nutritional needs from your average sedentary person. Research shows that eating a nutritious breakfast kick-starts digestion and fires up metabolism, as well as helping regulate blood sugar levels. Eating breakfast may also defend against the “See Food” diet (I see food, I eat it). After all, what you eat in the morning can determine your hunger levels for the rest of the day. There can be other issues at play but 90 per cent of the time, the best plan is to make sure that you have a nutrient-dense breakfast (nutrient deficiency leads to chronic overeating).
How to supercharge your breakfast
Healthy fats should be the foundation of any healthy breakfast. They play an important role in helping our bodies to flourish. Dietary fats have been found to reduce insulin resistance, inflammation and help regulate hormones, which are vital for sustaining our energy levels. Omega 3 is clinically proven to help our cell membranes. It can also help prevent heart disease, improve your vision and combat depression. Omega 3 is less available in most people’s everyday diet so breakfast is a great time to insure we are taking in these essential fats.
Good Omega 3 sources include avacado, coconut, eggs, wild salmon, nuts and seeds (especially chia and flax seeds), fish oil.
Nourish your microbiome
The microbiome is a collection of organisms that live in the gut (gastrointestinal tract). It’s a bit like a human eco-system in our bodies. These organisms play a vital role in the body and affect everything from ageing to mood. To positively shape your microbiome you need to eat a balanced diet, so try adding some fermented foods like yoghurt, pickles and sauerkraut, which are high in natural probiotic cultures. Probiotic supplements can also help.
Vitamins and minerals
These perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help strengthen bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage and so much more. A study in the 2011 Journal Of Nutrition Research And Practice found that people who regularly ate breakfast lacked fewer nutrients than those who rarely ate breakfast. So load up on foods rich in vitamins and minerals at breakfast time.
Good sources include leafy greens, fermented vegetables, sea vegetables, good-quality greens supplements.
Make sure you are getting enough fibre in your breakfast. According to a 1999 study in The International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition, people who eat a high-fibre, low-carb diet have more sustained energy throughout the day. Good sources include vegetables, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocado and other lower-GI fruits like berries.
Make sure your breakfast contains adequate protein. Research shows that consuming 20g of protein for breakfast is associated with appetite control and fat loss. Good sources include eggs, nuts and seeds, meat, fish and vegetables.
Despite what everyone says, carbs are not the enemy. If you are a high-level athlete you may need more carbs than the average person. Sources include oatmeal, sweet potato and brown rice.
When should I eat breakfast?
Research suggests that changing the timing of your breakfast makes no difference when it comes to weight-loss. However people who don’t eat breakfast have a tendency to overeat. You don’t need to have breakfast first thing upon waking up. So, instead of eating breakfast at 7am, why not push it back and eat at a different time to increase the length of time you are in a fasted state, which has lots of benefits. Just make sure that when you do break your fast you eat a super-charged breakfast.