Breakfast, we know, is the most important meal of the day. This is why not only should it never be skipped, but one should also pay close attention to what one eats, assimilating all the nutrients our body needs.
But what does a healthy breakfast look like? What ingredients does it consist of? Knowing the answers to these questions is of paramount importance if you aim for a healthy diet. Many people, for example, make the mistake of limiting themselves to a cup of coffee, perhaps accompanied by a biscuit or two: either because they are short on time in the morning, or because they have a tight stomach as soon as they wake up.
Such a breakfast, however, is a bad choice, as it does not provide the body with all the nutrients it needs after a night’s sleep. This is why having breakfast is not enough: you also have to choose the right foods.
And, in today’s article, we explain what they are!
Tell me how you have breakfast and I will tell you who you are
Sweet or savoury, hearty or frugal: of all the meals of the day, breakfast is probably the one that best reflects our personality. After all, if you think about it, observing what a person eats as soon as he wakes up you can understand a lot about his character and habits.
The manager in a suit and tie who settles for the coffee and croissant combo in the café outside the office is evidently telling you that he has a very busy day, so much so that he can just afford a coffee on the fly while he checks his mail before starting work.
On the other hand, a person who eats breakfast in the quiet intimacy of his or her own home, indulging in a generous cup of café au lait with slices of bread spread with jam, is a living representation of those who consider this meal to be the most important of the day, to the point of setting the alarm clock half an hour earlier in order to eat it at their leisure.
Where do you fit in? Which of these examples do you most reflect yourself in? You probably fall into a healthy middle ground, but just in case you have developed the bad habit of skipping breakfast, we who know coffee are sorry to inform you that you are doing your body harm, and we will now explain why.
Why it is important not to skip breakfast
According to scientific research, skipping breakfast causes one to consume more food at subsequent meals, leading to a rise in insulin and significant digestive difficulties. This brings with it several negative consequences:
- concentration problems;
- attention deficit both in the morning and in the afternoon;
- discomfort in managing body weight.
When we opt for a healthy and regular breakfast, our organism can only thank us. The right intake of calories, protein, fibre and minerals allows the body to work better, without overloading it or weakening it excessively at certain times of the day.
The morning meal helps you face your daily routine with more vitality and keeps your sugar levels stable. In this way, there are no unpleasant drops in sugar levels resulting in a decrease in attention or concentration.
So, what are the benefits of a healthy breakfast? A healthy breakfast:
- is a source of energy;
- accelerates the metabolism;
- does not alter insulin levels;
- helps to better control calorie intake;
- improves heart function;
- is good for the brain;
- avoid insulin surges in the afternoon;
- promotes digestion as it helps to have lighter and more regular meals.
On a nutritional level, breakfast has the task of satisfying 15% of the daily calorie requirement. It goes without saying that this target varies from person to person, depending on their weight, gender, build and activities. However, it is always good to keep this parameter in mind when planning weekly meals. After all, when we consume food or drink liquids we immediately activate the digestive system.
Although this may seem indifferent, our bodies also react differently to the intake of solid food or drinks. That is why both should be introduced during breakfast.
Liquids lead to an increase in gastric secretion necessary for digestive activities. Solid foods, on the other hand, aid digestion and prevent the formation of stones. The mechanical activity they perform, in fact, allows the gallbladder to empty and prevents the accumulation of bile in the gallbladder.
Among the most important contents of bile are bicarbonates, substances that aid food absorption and digestion. They react with stomach acids and create the most favourable conditions for the digestive process to be successful.
Even with regard to timing, the body’s reaction can vary. There is no best time for breakfast, which depends on your habits and lifestyle. Ideally, breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking up, so as to reap the full benefits of rest and reactivate the body in the best possible way.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But which breakfast is the healthiest?
Now that you understand the great importance of breakfast for our organism, let us try to understand what foods it should consist of in order to be truly healthy. To do this, let us look together at some of the most typical breakfasts in the world.
- Italian breakfast: coffee and brioches, or cappuccino and brioches. The latter can also be replaced by biscuits.
- American breakfast: American-style coffee, milk with cereal and toast smeared with butter. But also pancakes and/or savoury foods such as sandwiches, cheese and eggs.
- English breakfast: bacon and eggs, vegetables, mushrooms and sweet muffins, but also traditional porridge. Black tea is very popular to drink.
- German breakfast: it can be either sweet or savoury. In the first case it is based on typical foods such as tarts, strudel or pretzels; in the second case eggs, cheese and cold cuts abound. Although Germans do not disdain cappuccino and coffee, many of them prefer to start the day with a good light beer.
Of the breakfasts we analysed, the best is the Italian one, which is lower in calories and does not create spikes in insulin production. Starting the day with such an intake of fat and calories, in fact, raises cholesterol and triglyceride levels with serious effects on health.
Cholesterol increases the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis. The intake of saturated fats in the morning is harmful, precisely because the body has worked during the night to eliminate the waste produced the previous day. Such a caloric intake nullifies the body’s work within an hour, as the gall bladder soon reloads with bile.
The Italian breakfast is considered the lightest and most easily digestible. In fact, it is suitable to prepare the body for lunch, which is generally the main meal of the day for us. In contrast, transalpine breakfasts are eaten as main meals, so that only a small midday snack is required.
However, even in the Italian breakfast there are basic errors. First of all, the habit of eating croissants and brioche for breakfast is gaining ground. Unfortunately, industrial foods of this kind contain an excessive amount of saturated fat, which can lead to overweight or cardiovascular diseases.
In Italy, moreover, many have begun to replace the sweet breakfast with a savoury one. This alternative, however, must be followed by a balanced lunch that takes into account calories and fat intake. Otherwise, one risks weighing down the body.
As you can see, therefore, there are many parameters to consider. That is why we have prepared a few culinary tips for you to ensure a healthy, wholesome and tasty breakfast!
Foods to combine in a healthy breakfast
And here we are finally ready to tell you the secret of a healthy breakfast, which is nothing more than the sum of a few nutrients:
- carbohydrates, such as bread, sugar-free cereals or rice cakes;
- protein, which you can take with milk, yoghurt, eggs or fat-free ham;
- good fats, such as those contained in dark chocolate or dried fruit;
- vitamins and minerals, typical of fruit and vegetables.
The foods we have listed are, of course, to be considered as examples. You are not only free to mix them together as you see fit, but also to replace them with others belonging to the same category.
An example? If you love savoury, you could opt for one to two slices of bread and ham, finishing it all off with some dried fruit and a good juice. If, on the other hand, breakfast is only ‘sweet’ for you, then go ahead and treat yourself to a nice piece of dark chocolate, perhaps with some bread and a cup of milk to go with it.
And, to make the milk even tastier, why not mix it with some coffee prepared with your faithful coffee machine? After all, if you want to drink good coffee, you should do it with the right machine. Enriching your healthy breakfast with a cup of ‘black nectar’ is the best way to recharge your batteries and get your day off to a great start.
That is why we, who know about coffee, have prepared a range of coffee machines designed to meet your every need. So don’t wait any longer: discover the right coffee machine for you and enjoy your delicious and energising healthy breakfast!