Wake Up Your Metabolism!
What does the word “breakfast” mean? It’s not a trick question. It means exactly what it sounds like: to break a fast. Specifically, it means to break the fasting that your body goes through at night. Waking up and eating breakfast gets your body ready for the day after a good night’s rest. The problem is, too many people at U. City haven’t eaten breakfast for months – or even years. This has a very negative effect on both your functioning in school and your own body’s health.
There are many immediate problems that appear within a day after you skip breakfast. While you’re asleep, your metabolism slows down a little, because it doesn’t have much food to digest. Your metabolism is the rate of chemical reactions happening in your body. When you wake up in the morning, you feel sluggish and slow because few chemical reactions have occurred. Eating breakfast and giving your body some calories allows your cells to start transforming food into energy by way of chemical reactions. This quickens your metabolism and really wakes you up. If you don’t eat breakfast, you have less food and less energy to run on, and you run the risk of falling asleep in class because you never truly woke up your digestive system.
According to Ernesto Pollitt of theUniversityofCaliforniaatDavis, students who don’t eat breakfast do worse on attention tests and lack the focus to find small differences in two similar pictures. If you ate breakfast, you’d have more tolerance and attention for school activities and would do better on your work. And there are many more benefits to eating breakfast; a study in Baltimore and Philadelphia found that students who eat breakfast do better in math, are less likely to be tardy or absent, are less hyperactive, and are generally more well-behaved when dealing with other people. (Not having anything to eat in the morning can make one pretty grumpy!)
There are several fair reasons people might not eat breakfast. Sometimes you oversleep and can’t take the time to down a bowl of cereal before rushing out the door. Other times you just don’t feel hungry. If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting breakfast might seem like the healthiest choice… but it really isn’t. If you skip breakfast, you could actually end up gaining weight — because you didn’t get enough to eat in the morning, you might grab more at lunch, or make unhealthy choices to try and make up for this lack of calories. That’s hardly a very good dieting system: eating nothing in the morning and gorging yourself throughout the rest of the day? You’d end up eating the same number of calories, or even more.
So instead of skipping breakfast, what sort of breakfast should you be eating? Of course, the ideal breakfast covers most of the food groups – whole wheat bread, nut butter, orange juice, that sort of thing – but I myself don’t feel like running around the kitchen to grab all those ingredients, nor do I really like “healthy” food that early in the morning. The most important ingredient in a healthy breakfast, however, is fiber, says Barry Popkin of theUniversityofNorth Carolina.
It’s very tempting to eat a bowl of sugary cereal or grab a few cookies, but that’s steering you towards a sugar crash about halfway through the morning. If you want to eat a healthy breakfast, steer clear of cereals with bright, neon colors on their boxes and disturbing cartoon mascots. As a general rule, cereals in those boxes are never good for you. Try some of the humbler cereals, those that don’t try to appeal to children: healthy brands like Kashi or Barbara’s.
A study atHarvardMedicalSchoolled by Mark Pereira concluded that whole-grain cereal for breakfast leads the way to more and more health improvements than other options. If you’re really used to devouring a bowl of Captain Crunch or Honey Nut Cheerios or some other bowl of sugar each morning, then keep eating them for a while — but start to mix some healthy cereals into the bowl so you can get used to the taste.
Eventually, you can leave behind the kids’ cereal and feel good about what you’re eating. You’ll make it through the day with more energy, more power, and more focus. Not only will that help you in school, but you’ll simply feel more awake and more alive. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.