These days everyone seems to have an opinion on nutrition, especially when it comes to breakfast. What was once coined as the most important meal of the day, is now the subject of intense scientific scrutiny. The research is split, with nutritionists, professional athletes and the everyday athlete falling into two clear categories: those that skip breakfast and those that don’t. However, fast-breaking will happen at some stage, which in theory is breakfast. Leaving you with two options, will you starve or supercharge your breakfast?
How your first meal impacts the body -
Generally, what you eat depends on your nutritional goals and your metabolism. Nutrition is highly personal, with a professional athlete having vastly different needs than a person with a desk-based job. Regardless of your unique needs, research shows that eating a nutritious breakfast (whether at a traditional breakfast time or after a fast), kickstarts your digestion and wakes up your metabolism, as well as enabling your body to better regulate its blood sugar.
Your first meal has been proven to set the tone for your hunger levels for the rest of the day, meaning it may improve your food choices and your ability to hear your hunger and fullness cues. Whilst there may be some other issues to contend with, 90% of the time eating a nutrient-dense breakfast play a vital role in preventing deficiencies that can in time lead to chronic overeating.
What should you eat to supercharge your breakfast?
Dietary fats –
A healthy breakfast should be built around healthy fats. Despite the historic bad press, fats play a vital role within our bodies. They have been found to reduce insulin resistance, inflammation, as well as regulating our hormones which are key for sustaining our energy levels and mood. Omega 3 alone, has been clinically proven to improve the integrity of our cell walls, whilst also working to prevent heart disease, improve your eyesight and combat depression. Eating enough Omega 3 can be difficult for those that shy away from fats, so it’s important that those looking to improve their nutrition actively work to include this food group.
Sources of healthy fats include - avocado, coconut, eggs, wild salmon, nuts and seeds especially chia seeds and flax seeds, fish oil.
Strengthening the microbiome –
The collection of organisms that live in our body, specifically our gut are known as the microbiome. These organisms (healthy bacteria) play a vital role within our bodies, impacting everything from ageing to mood. To positively improve your microbiome, you need to eat a balanced diet that includes fermented foods. Fermented foods contain high amounts of probiotic cultures, which are proven to be the best way to naturally strengthen the microbiome.
Fermented foods include- yoghurt, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, or you can take probiotic supplements.
Vitamins and minerals –
Our bodies require a vast array of vitamins and minerals to perform optimally. They help strengthen our bones, heal our injuries, and strengthen our immune system. They also work to convert our food into energy, repair damage to our cells and so much more. A 2011 study in the Journal of Nutritional Research and Practice found people that people who regularly are breakfast lacked fewer nutrients than their counterparts. So load up on nutrient-dense foods, rich in vitamins and minerals at breakfast time.
Nutrient-dense, sources of vitamins and minerals include: leafy greens, fermented vegetables, sea vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and good quality greens supplement.
Fibre plays a key role in digestion, and unfortunately, many people don’t include enough of it in their diet, let alone their breakfast. A 1999 study in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition noted that people who eat a high fibre lower card diet have more sustained energy levels throughout the days.
Fibre-rich foods include -vegetables, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocado, and low GI fruits like berries.
Traditionally, the western diet had a carb-rich breakfast and when some people embark on their health and fitness journey the can find it difficult to eat a breakfast that contains enough protein. Research has shown that consuming 20g of protein at breakfast is associated with appetite control and fat loss.
Protein-rich breakfast foods include – eggs, nut and seeds, meat, fish and vegetables.
Again, a food that has been demonised in the past, we want to clear up the notion that carbs are the enemy. When looking at your own nutritional needs, look at your goals and energy expenditure. Do you have a tough training session today? Are you a pro athlete with an event coming up? Is today a rest day from the gym? Each of these factors will play a role in the number of carbs you need to fuel your body efficiently.
Healthy sources of carbohydrates include – oatmeal, sweet potato, white potato, brown rice and wholemeal bread.
Do I have to eat breakfast first thing in the morning?
Research shows that the timing of breakfast doesn’t play as vital a role in weight loss as people may think. However, those that skip breakfast are more likely to overeat. If at 7 am the last thing you want to do is eat breakfast that’s fine, why not push it back a few hours until you are hungry? Just make sure when you break your fast, you are eating a supercharged breakfast.
Our team of expert coaches aim to help our members improve both their health and fitness and their nutrition. They understand that every body is different and every person has different needs. If you are looking to supercharge not just your breakfast, but your life get in touch today.