You may have heard before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And I would agree, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Starting your morning right with a nutritious bowl of something, in my case, porridge with a mountain of toppings, gives you a healthy kick-start to the day, keeping that mid-morning hunger at bay until lunch time.
1. Digestive Health
A sluggish digestive system can cause a whole array of health problems. So, to maintain optimum health, we need to keep food moving through the digestive tract, limiting the amount of time waste matter sits inside our colon releasing toxins into the blood stream. Porridge is high in fibre, but for that extra boost, I sprinkle 2 spoonfuls of ground flaxseed into my bowl each day. Flaxseed is full of vitamins, minerals, it is a plant-based source of omega-3, high in antioxidants, and is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
2. Blood Sugar
The reason we tend to crave quick energy releasing foods, such as sugary snacks, is simply because our blood sugar levels have dipped. Eating a proper breakfast each morning is one way to keep blood sugar levels stable. Whole grain oats are a form of slow-releasing carbohydrates, meaning that they provide a steady stream of energy throughout the morning. Opting for sugary cereal or a last-minute creamy latte will only give you a quick burst of energy initially, and then subsequently a few hours later you will be looking around for the next sugar-high.
I don’t understand how some people can start their day without food, and basically run around on empty. Breakfast is my first priority of the day, providing me with energy to do my morning workout, and the fuel to maintain concentration levels whilst I am studying. The first meal of the day, for me, is my biggest. A bowl of porridge with a generous amount of toppings can easily add up to 600 calories, however, my logic is that I have the whole day to burn it off and it stops me from feeling like snacking all morning!
4. Weight Loss
Another benefit of high fibre food, other than obviously keeping things moving in your intestines, is weight loss. High fibre foods, especially oats and flaxseed, expand in your stomach and digestive tract making you feel fuller for much longer. Secondly, flaxseed is a source of omega-3, the good fat responsible for maintaining a healthy heart and keeping the blood flowing around the body. A well-functioning cardiovascular system means that fat can be transported around the body with ease, becoming readily available to burn during exercise.
5. Vitamins & Minerals
I don’t take vitamin supplements, as I feel I get the correct nutrition through my food intake. The flaxseed I buy is Linwood’s Milled Flaxseed with Probiotic & Vitamin D which also contains calcium, iron and zinc. A handful of pumpkin seeds boosts my levels of again, zinc, vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper. And the mixed fruit and nut thrown in is an additional energy booster, immunity booster, with even more vitamins and minerals…
Adding a good probiotic into the mix is another great way to improve digestive health, and Linwood’s flaxseed with probiotic has just that: ‘Contains Ganeden BC30, a unique powerful probiotic culture that can survive stomach acids and reach the small intestine where it is most effective. This probiotic helps to repopulate the small intestine with essential friendly bacteria to enhance your body’s natural immune defences and aid in digestive health.’
7. Keeping It Sweet
Instead of using sugar or honey on my porridge to keep things sweet, I sprinkle on cinnamon. I picked cinnamon as I like the taste, not realising that it has countless health benefits too… Cinnamon is great for keeping blood sugar levels stable (keeping those cravings under control), it lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), it’s anti-inflammatory (relieving arthritic pain), anti-clotting (good for the heart), and anti-fungal (good for the immune system). On top of all that, it provides natural migraine relief, whilst helping to prevent various neurodegenerative diseases by improving the brains cognitive function and memory!
8. Breakfast on the move…
There isn’t really an excuse not to eat something filling and nutritious in the morning. If time is the problem, why not wake up 10 minutes earlier. However, on some occasions, such as early flights, travel plans, or change of routine, breakfast may be a little difficult to fit in. In this case, you can always pre-plan the night before, an idea is to make a couple of granola bars to take with you to eat when you are out and about. Here is my recipe for: Betty’s gluten-free dark chocolate granola bars A much healthier alternative to any supermarket-brought breakfast bar!