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Make breakfast your lucky charm

By Denebola
Published: November 2007
By Hye-Jung Yang
Rushing out the door early in the morning, many students do not have
time to grab something to eat, let alone sit down and eat a healthy
breakfast. By lunchtime, they are tired, hungry, and have difficulty
staying focused. Many health experts consider breakfast the most
important meal of the day because it breaks the 10 to 14 hour fast
since dinner the previous night. Skipping it can raise the risk of
health problems.
According to a Ohio State University Fact sheet for Family and
Consumer sciences, “By mid-morning, glycogen stores [used for energy]
are virtually depleted, if one skips breakfast. As a result, the body
has very little quick energy available. Children who skip
breakfast¦may be hungry, and lack the ability to concentrate in
school. They may be tired, lethargic, and lack fuel for learning.”
According to BBC News Health, “Eating first thing in the morning may
help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and
energy.” This allows people to be attentive and active during the day.
A common misconception is that skipping breakfast is an easy way to
loose weight. In reality, people who skip breakfast are more often
overweight than those who eat at least a small breakfast every
morning.
A study by the American Diabetic Association on the eating habits of
2,300 women discovered that people who do not eat breakfast are more
likely to be hungry during the day and overeat, and as a result, they
are one-third more likely to become obese. Even eating just a bowl of
cereal every morning can help people maintain a healthy a healthy
weight.
People who eat breakfast are half as likely to have blood sugar
problems, thus decreasing the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol
levels, and cardiovascular disease.
To gain the full benefits of breakfast, the meal must be balanced and
nutritious. Only eating a bagel may not have the same benefits as a
bowl of cereal, as cereal is almost always fortified with vitamins and
minerals such as folic acid, a vitamin that helps prevent birth
defects, heart disease, and colon cancer.
The ideal breakfasts consist of fiber. In a study performed by Harvard
University scientists, women who ate 23 grams of fiber each day with
most of the fiber intake coming from breakfast cereal, were 23 percent
less likely to have heart attacks than those whose only consumed about
11 grams per day. In men, a diet high in fiber reduces the risk of a
heart attack by 36 percent.
High-fiber diets of 50 to 60 grams per day help to reduce cholesterol
levels by about 5 percent. A high fiber diet also reduces the chance
of weight gain because fiber fills the body up on fewer calories than
other substances and slows down digestion.
Another component of a nutritious breakfast is orange juice, a good
source of potassium that lowers the risk of stroke and blood pressure.
Orange juice is also filled with vitamin C and drinking a glass daily
keeps the arteries from clogging by increasing good HDL cholesterol
levels.

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