THE 5 ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS FOR BREAKFAST
- The benefits of breakfast
- The macronutrients that must never be missing
- The importance of micronutrients should not be underestimated
- The irreplaceable "non-nutrient".
However, it is difficult to talk about a healthy and nutritious breakfast in a standard way. There are variables to consider in order to personalize your breakfast taking into account gender, age and physical activity.
- Breakfasts for sportsmen , for example, are based on a greater intake of some nutrients. You have surely heard of the protein breakfast, recommended for those who do more physical activity. It is important to remember to have breakfast even before physical activities such as yoga .
- Breakfasts for those who need mental support are based more on those nutrients capable of increasing concentration and providing a better sprint, for example blueberries (they support cognitive faculties and are rich in antioxidants), and coffee (stimulant) .
THE BENEFITS OF BREAKFAST
Before going deeper, let's reveal the taboo: Do you have breakfast or not?
In Italy almost 90% of the population declares that they eat breakfast, but actually only 30% consume an adequate breakfast from a quantitative and qualitative point of view, as claimed by the dietician Paolo Marconi .
Why have breakfast in the morning? The concept is simple: those who do not eat breakfast in the morning tend to eat much more during the day, with the risk of overdoing it in subsequent meals.
Skipping breakfast causes difficulty concentrating, drowsiness and hypoglycemia. In fact, breakfast is the moment when the brain wakes up, the muscles get going, and the metabolism is reactivated.
What do scientific studies say? SISA (Italian Society of Food Science) explains that breakfast is a fundamental meal because it allows a correct distribution of caloric intake throughout the day . In fact, breakfast should cover between 25-30% of the daily caloric requirement.
If you're still not convinced, here are some other breakfast-related benefits:
- Breakfast is our body's "fuel", it supplies our body with the right amount of energy to better face the day's commitments after fasting overnight. Without "fuel", all of our muscles and even the brain are unable to work efficiently.
- Helps you eat less by reducing the risk of obesity. Generates a sense of satiety which limits the risk of eating incorrectly during the morning or overeating at lunch.
- Stimulates and accelerates the body's metabolism. Eating in the morning provides energy and helps burn calories throughout the day. Skipping breakfast can trigger metabolic mechanisms that slow down weight loss
- Increase concentration
- Many scientific studies have shown that it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Breakfast protects the heart and helps reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases and diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels
- Even the digestive system is healthier : those who only drink a coffee as soon as they wake up don't know that it can inflame and irritate the digestive tract.
- Eating breakfast improves physical and intellectual performance in both adults and children
To obtain the benefits listed there are essential nutrients that must not be missing in an energy breakfast.
THE NUTRITIVE COMPONENTS FOR A PERFECT BREAKFAST
The secret of a good breakfast lies in choosing foods rich in nutrients that allow our body to fuel without weighing it down.
To understand how to structure the perfect breakfast on a nutritional level, we need to understand which macro and micronutrients our body needs most in the morning. For the uninitiated, here is a small description.
What are macro and micronutrients?
- Macro nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, are nutrients necessary for the production of energy, growth and regeneration of the body.
- Micro nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are substances that "do not" provide energy, but whose presence is essential for the body to function properly.
- Consider all macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and good fats)
- Don't forget a good source of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
- Don't leave out the "non-nutritive"
MACRONNUTRIENTS THAT MUST ALWAYS BE PRESENT
Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: the "simple" ones, which are easily digested, and the "complex" ones, which require a greater amount of time to be assimilated.
Why eat carbohydrates for breakfast?
Eat carbohydrates for breakfast
- regulates energy, improving control of food consumption throughout the day
- improves cognitive function and academic performance of the youngest
- keeps blood sugar under control
It is best to consume complex carbohydrates as they gradually release their energy throughout the morning without weighing you down. Carbohydrates, especially complex ones, are the main source of energy (45-60%) even at breakfast.
Choose from whole grain cereals (also rich in starch and fibre), oat flakes and flour, rice cakes, rusks, wholemeal biscuits
What are simple carbohydrates used for? Simple sugars are used to reach the glycemic peak that makes us feel immediately charged in the early morning. For example, honey in the morning helps to give us strength that is immediately assimilated, which is why we feel fit shortly after.
Proteins represent 15% of the daily calorie requirement. There are proteins of animal and vegetable origin: proteins of animal origin are found in fish, white and red meat, cheese and eggs. Vegetable sources are legumes, dried fruit, whole grains and seeds.
What protein should you eat for breakfast?
- Semi-skimmed milk and yoghurt . They also provide calcium, lactic ferments and the right amount of fat.
- Greek yogurt. It is denser and more compact than the traditional one, it gives a greater sense of satiety but without weighing it down . In addition to being dietetic, it is also a very suitable food for a protein breakfast, because it offers a balanced intake of proteins and carbohydrates.
- Those who prefer a savory breakfast can find large amounts of protein in eggs and salmon .
- Dried fruit. Rich in protein and essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, it is the perfect food to balance your breakfast. to keep cholesterol under control. A few grams of almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios will help you turn your day around with a truly energetic breakfast. Dried fruit is excellent when taken alone or accompanied with yogurt.
- Whole grains
- Seeds : flaxseed, Chia
Some foods, despite being caloric, can bring many benefits to our body, the important thing is to consume them in moderation. A breakfast that contains unsaturated fats maintains a sense of contentment throughout the morning and helps fill us up and provides energy.
Fats are an integral part of our daily energy needs: about 20/30% of the total calories our body needs every day. They support central nervous system protection and cell health.
Good fats should always be included in a healthy breakfast, but where to find them?
- in dried fruit (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts)
- in whole grains
- in chocolate (but only over 70% dark)
- in flax and sunflower seeds
- in avocado, eaten plain or spread on bread, helps prolong satiety
- in salmon, salmon fats help prevent cardiovascular disease
- in olive oil
- in coconut oil
- in eggs
DON'T FORGET A SOURCE OF MICRONUTRIENTS
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients for a healthy and energetic breakfast. Fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables are the main sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and many other antioxidant molecules.
Vitamins and minerals awaken our body, hydrate the body and provide the right amount of energy. The daily dose of fruit and vegetables is around 850g, so why not start with breakfast to fill up on energy?
This is why a portion of fresh seasonal fruit must never be missing in a healthy breakfast . Start the day with a bowl of fresh fruit, a smoothie or a freshly prepared and unsweetened juice.
Eat it with yogurt and granola, in short, choose how you like it!
Fruit juice is also a good choice for breakfast: it is rich in minerals and antioxidants. Be careful to choose juices with 100% fruit and no added sugar.
Fresh or dehydrated fruit, juices and fruit and vegetable extracts also provide the small amount of simple sugars foreseen for the day.
DON'T LEAVE THE VITAL "NON-NUTRIENT".
Although not a real nutrient, fibers are very important for the proper functioning of the intestine.
The importance of fibers has been re-evaluated since, although they have no energy intake, as they are only partially digestible, they have important biological functions.
Why eat fiber for breakfast? The fibers help in weight control, they have a strong satiating power leaving the body light and healthy. They serve to regulate the absorption of fats and sugars and counteract digestive problems.
How many to eat? The daily amount of fiber you should consume is 25-38 grams for adults , but reduces to 21-30 grams per day after age 50.
Which breakfast foods are high in fiber?
- Whole grains (oats, spelled, millet or rye)
- Dried fruit, nuts and oilseeds.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Chia seeds
FOODS TO BE LIMITED AT BREAKFASTThere are foods that bring quantities of non-functional nutrients to a balanced and healthy breakfast. They are too caloric and not satiating: they make us reach a glycemic peak without maintaining satiety for long. Foods to limit for breakfast are:
- Sugar-rich cereals
- Brioche and bakery products with a high fat and sugar content
- Fruit juices, smoothies full of sugar
- Sugary industrial yoghurts
- Jams too rich in sugar
- Cured meats rich in salt
- Spreads rich in saturated fats
We are not saying they should never be eaten, anything can be eaten in moderation. Let's say, however, that they are high-calorie nutrients that could cause the daily caloric requirement to exceed. If taken regularly they could promote weight gain and gastrointestinal imbalances and therefore should be taken in limited quantities.
IDEAS FOR A BREAKFAST FULL OF NUTRIENTS
Sweet breakfast: SMOOTHIE BOWLCarbohydrates : rolled oats and granola
Proteins : milk, chia seeds
Fats : coconut flakes and almonds
Vitamins : seeds and fresh fruit
Fibers : dried fruit, Chia seeds
Enjoy it with a smoothie or juice to make it even more nutritious!
Savory breakfast: AVOCADO TOAST
Proteins : cottage cheese
Fats : avocado and olive oil
Vitamins : avocados
Fibers : avocado, slice of bread
Choose between sweet or savory, choose what you like best! Help your body with the right nutrients to start with the right energy!
These 5 nutrients are essential to assimilate everything you need in the morning, their balance will allow you not to exceed in subsequent meals and will allow your body to have the physical and mental resources to face any commitment.
Once you've tried the benefits of a healthy, energetic and balanced breakfast with the right doses of nutrients, you'll feel energized and ready to face the day and you'll never be able to do without your breakfast!