Most of us tend to eat the same sort of breakfast daily, choices are often made on speed of preparation, the sort of foods we like, and the type of foods that the advertisers tell us should be eaten at that time of day. We don’t want to have to think too hard about what to eat when still in the process of waking up and often dashing out at the same time. However you can help your body enormously by pausing right now to consider whether your breakfast in fact helps or damages your health.
Breakfast cereals are a popular choice, but the high sugar content, even if you don’t add extra sugar or honey can increase your risk of a host of problems such as inflammation, type 2 diabetes, obestity, mental health problems and more. The problem not only lies in the sugar content, some cereals are one third sugar or more, but also the grains used are “puffed” or “flakes” which means that the sugars in the cereals are released very quickly into your blood stream, which puts a strain on your body and can cause a chain of damaging reactions. Have a look at the labels I find the ingredients list most helpful, if any kind of sugar, syrup, honey, or anything ending “ose” is included, avoid that cereal. You can also look at the nutrient panel under the column “per 100g” the number of grams for sugar there will tell you the percent of sugar so 33grams will mean the cereal is one third sugar.
Cereals such as Nutrgrain sold as high in protein are high in protein compared to other cereals, but are also almost one third sugar. On the other hand one egg provides a similar amount of protein with no damaging. Fish provides even more protein again no sugar and with the advantage of health giving fats; think of using sardines or perhaps a little fish left over from the night before. Soaked nuts, avocados and organic meat are other sources of protein and helpful fats.
Beware of damaging fats such as those found in margarines and over heated foods, and many processed foods.
Muesli and porridge can deplete your body of important nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins if you do not soak them overnight first. This soaking (also important for nuts) helps breakdown phytates which if present leach minerals from your body. Cooking also helps destroy the phytates but not as much as the soaking. Check your muesli for added sugars too and excessive dried fruit which can irritate the bowel.
Yogurt can also have hidden sugars, any fruit in a bought yoghurt will be more like a jam, as sugar acts to preserve the fruit. Look for yoghurts that are “bio” or “live” these contain the health giving bacteria if not the “yoghurt” is in fact little more than a glorified custard.
In summary check your breakfast has some protein, some health giving fats (you can add these in the form of cold pressed oils), some carbohydrate (individual need do vary, you could have carbohydrates as vegetables or fruit), and most important no added or hidden sugar.
Original Article August 2012
Copyright Jaine Kirtley