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Don't Skip Your Brain Food - Eat Breakfast

Are you suffering from acidity, obesity or reduced attention span? Perhaps you are skipping breakfast, also called brain food and the most important meal of the day.

People in cities tend to give breakfast a miss perhaps due to hectic lifestyles or in the belief that it will keep them slim. But experts say it could end up making people obese.

"People do not seem to have time for breakfast these days. They have every reason to avoid the healthy tradition of having a good nutritious breakfast," Anita Jatana, chief dietician at the Batra Hospital here, told IANS.

Describing it as a change in perception and lifestyle, she said: "People usually do not eat because of their tight work schedules, late night dinners, zero figure obsession or just anything else that keeps them away from a healthy breakfast."

According to the dieticians, breakfast is most essential. They say breakfast must be balanced and should include nutrients like calcium (milk or milk products), proteins and fibre (sprouts or cereal), and some amount of antioxidants (apples, strawberries, banana, oranges, etc) and vitamins.

"Often called 'brain food', breakfast needs to be wholesome and it should essentially contain all the vital nutrients that the body craves for," Ritika Samadar, chief dietician at Max Hospital, told IANS.

A nutritious breakfast is necessary to keep the body's metabolism going properly.

"Generally, there is a gap of 10 to 12 hours between the dinner and breakfast and it is anyway very long for the body to resist." In case, breakfast is skipped, "we add some more hours, hence affecting the body's metabolism", Samadar said.

Jatana feels long gaps between meals can also cause digestion problems. "Not eating on time leads to a lot of ailments. Obesity, acidity, reduced attention span and ulceration are a few on the list."

Owing a great deal to Kareena Kapoor's size zero, people have become obsessed with ultra thin figures and they feel not eating will help lose weight. But experts say it is the beginning of many problems.

"People think that if they skip breakfast, they will lose weight. But it is a myth. They gain weight at a faster rate instead because they end up eating more than in the normal course," said Priti Vijay, head dietician at Max Hospital, Saket.

"In the long run, if more meals are skipped in a day than just the breakfast, it can also lead to shrinking of the stomach and intestines," Jatana said.

The ideal time for breakfast is between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Any delay results in weight gain.

"Half of overweight patients have a tendency to skip breakfast," said Vijay. "Some 60 to 70 percent patients who come to me with digestion or stomach-related problems or for advice on weight gain disclose that they frequently miss their breakfast."

Perhaps it is time to take an old proverb seriously - "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper".

June 2, 2010


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