Chances are you've heard many times in your life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And over the years, there have been countless studies attempting to prove--and even disprove--this advice, and to determine the consequences if you miss out on this meal.
So, what is the truth? Is breakfast really that important? In short (no surprise), yes it is. Should you skip breakfast? Probably not. And here are seven reasons why.
1. Good for Your Overall Health
There have been numerous studies over the years that have shown that eating breakfast frequently is beneficial for an individual's health in several different ways. For example, Harvard conducted a 16-year study of 26,902 American men aged 45 to 82 and found that those "who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of CHD compared with men who did not." In other words, these men were susceptible to heart attacks because of coronary heart disease associated with bad sugar levels.
Other research has found that eating breakfast can decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes in women and reduces obesity because it limits midmorning snacking. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can eat an unhealthy fried dish every morning; it means that eating a well-balanced breakfast is just plain good for your health. Heck, forget well-balanced--just toss down a dish of cereal.
2. Improves Your Memory
Another area of research has focused on the relationship between breakfast and short-term memory. One study released in the Journal of Adolescent Health of 319 adolescents (aged 13-20 years) found that "high energy intake from breakfast had a beneficial effect on immediate recall in short-term memory evaluated on the whole sample."
There was also a study released in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior that discovered that eating breakfast, such as oatmeal, improved the spatial and short-term memories of elementary school children.
While these studies looked at children and teenagers respectively, it's believed that eating breakfast can improve short-term memory in adults as well.
3. Boosts Energy
According to a 1999 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, consuming a breakfast high in fiber and low in carbohydrates will make you feel less tired during the day.
When your breakfast consists of items like whole-grain breads and cereals--which should provide at least four grams of fiber per serving--you're fueling your body for the entire morning. If you are a high caffeine user, consider getting a protein into your body at breakfast, so that your caffeine has something to bind with for maximum energy.
4. Improves Your Mood
A 1999 study in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior of 144 volunteers found that those who had breakfast cereal prior to the test sessions arrived in a better mood and were even calmer following the sessions than those who did not. In short, having these vital nutrients every morning can help make you more positive.
No matter what age you are, eating breakfast every morning will make you feel less restless and irritable.
5. Consumes More Nutrients
Since most of us are on the go most of the time, it can become extremely difficult to eat a well-balanced meal. However, if you have the time every morning to eat breakfast, you are probably making sure that you also have the chance to consume important nutrients.
According to research published in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice, those who eat breakfast daily are consuming beneficial nutrients like calcium and fiber.
6. Helps Burn Calories
Whether you're dieting or not, breakfast is a great way to help burn those unwanted calories. By eating smaller meals throughout the day, you're increasing your body's metabolism. In fact, research conducted by Harvard of 17,000 men discovered "that those who frequently ate breakfast cereal--both refined grain or the whole-grain types--consistently weighed less than those who rarely or never ate breakfast cereal."
7. Improves Concentration
This shouldn't come as a surprise since breakfast has already been found to improve energy and short-term memory. Research has discovered that eating breakfast also boosts concentration. In a 2008 issue of Indian Pediatrics, it was found that "middle-school students who ate breakfast every day had better attention, concentration, memory, and school achievement than those who consumed breakfast only sometimes or never did." During sleep, the main source of the brain's energy, glucose, decreases, hence the help from breakfast.
Recent research explains that eating a healthy breakfast--such as eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit--keeps "blood sugar levels steady and allows optimal cognitive function throughout the day."
It does take a little forethought and you may have to plan three extra minutes in the morning, but if you want to improve your health, memory, mood, concentration, and energy level, start eating a healthy (or mostly healthy) breakfast every morning.
Got any other tips I can add? Reach out or leave a comment below.