In the middle of the last century, the popular American nutritionist Adelle Davis advised people to eat breakfast like kings, lunch like princes and dinner like beggars. Today, breakfast is considered by many to be the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast is a very important meal – it can either make or break your day, and it can help you burn more energy, which can help you increase your energy expenditure. A recent study showed that nutritious thermogenesis is more intense in the morning than at night, when we eat exactly the same food. In other words, the net calorie intake is lower in the morning than in the evening.
Another study found that people who have the opportunity to eat breakfast use more energy through physical activity than those who skip it. So skipping breakfast can make people feel less energetic and lower their levels of physical activity without realizing it.
Breakfast and healthy food
The question is what healthy foods can we incorporate into our breakfast. There are always personal preferences and opinions but most nutritionists would agree with the following suggestions.
Eggs are healthy and delicious. Although for many years it was a controversial product due to the cholesterol contained in their yolk, eggs do not increase blood cholesterol levels in most people. In fact, eating eggs can reduce the risk of heart disease by altering the size of LDL that carries “bad” cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity .
Studies have shown that eating eggs creates a feeling of fullness, reduces calorie intake at the next meal and helps maintain stable blood sugar and insulin levels. In one study, men who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and took in fewer calories for the rest of the day than those who ate a bun with the same calories (3).
Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient that in reasonable quantities is good for brain and liver health. In addition, they provide high quality protein. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent eye disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
2. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is creamy, tasty and nutritious. It is considered one of the best in the world. Some types of Greek yogurt are good sources of probiotics (eg Bifidobacteria) which help keep the gut healthy. To make sure your yogurt contains probiotics, look for the word “alive” on the label.
Yogurt and other dairy products can help control weight because they increase the levels of hormones that promote the feeling of fullness, including PYY and GLP-1 .
In addition, full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can increase body fat loss and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Oats are a great choice for cereal lovers. It contains a unique plant fiber called β-glucan. This fiber has many impressive health benefits, including reduced cholesterol – so oats can go well with eggs.
Β-glucan promotes the feeling of fullness. One study found that it increased PYY hormone levels and that higher doses had the greatest effect. Oats are also rich in antioxidants, which can benefit heart health and lower blood pressure.
One advantage of oats is that it does not contain gluten. However, you should be aware that oats are often processed in the same facilities as other gluten-containing grains, and more so with barley. Therefore, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should choose oatmeal-free oats.
Nuts are a great addition to your breakfast. Although they are high in calories, studies have found that not all of the fat they contain is absorbed. In fact, your body absorbs about 130 calories from 28 grams of almonds and not 170 calories as it would theoretically come from the nutrients it contains. Although this has only been tested on almonds, it may apply to other nuts.
Nuts have also been shown to improve risk factors for heart disease, reduce insulin resistance and inflammation.
All types of nuts are rich in magnesium, potassium and monounsaturated fats which are healthy for the heart. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium – only two of them provide 100% of the recommended daily allowance.
Flaxseed is rich in fiber. Two tablespoons (14 grams) of ground flaxseed contain 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
Try adding flaxseed to Greek yogurt so you will increase the fiber and antioxidant content of your breakfast. Just be sure to choose ground flaxseed or grind it yourself, because whole flaxseed cannot be absorbed by your gut.
Fruit is a wonderful part of a nutritious breakfast. All fruits contain vitamins, potassium, fiber and are relatively low in calories because they have enough water.
One cup of chopped fruit provides about 80-130 calories, depending on the type. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. A large orange provides 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
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- Whole Egg Consumption Improves Lipoprotein Profiles and Insulin Sensitivity to a Greater Extent Than Yolk-Free Egg Substitute in Individuals With Metabolic Syndrome.
- Short-term Effect of Eggs on Satiety in Overweight and Obese Subjects.
- Consuming Eggs for Breakfast Influences Plasma Glucose and Ghrelin, While Reducing Energy Intake During the Next 24 Hours in Adult Men.
- Impact of Yogurt on Appetite Control, Energy Balance, and Body Composition.
- Chemical Characteristics, Fatty Acid Composition and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Content of Traditional Greek Yogurts.
- Increases in Peptide Y-Y Levels Following Oat Beta-Glucan Ingestion Are Dose-Dependent in Overweight Adults.
- Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets.
- Nut Consumption and Age-Related Disease.