Can eating breakfast make you happier?

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The need to feel happy and have a positive state of mind is being increasingly recognized as an important component of good health and general well-being. In the course of life, we all have good days and bad days; we have foods we like more, or like less. But is there a connection between the food we have eaten and feeling well? Do some foods make us feel sluggish? Is it possible to plan a diet for a good mood? Let’s find out..

Breakfast- The first meal of the day is important as it supplies the body and brain with the necessary nutrients after a night’s sleep. It also gives you energy for your morning tasks, whether at work, school, home or out and about. Eating a balanced breakfast and other regular meals containing adequate carbohydrate ensures you will have enough glucose in your blood. Low glucose levels, on the other hand can make us feel irritable, fatigued and ‘fuzzy minded’.

There is enough evidence that supports the fact that ‘balanced breakfast’ eaters have a greater feeling of well-being, lower stress levels, more positive attitudes towards life than those who eat a poor-quality breakfast or skip breakfast.

With that said, it is important to understand what constitutes a balanced breakfast. Ideally, it must be a mix of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. These can be found in many foods and one can pick different breakfast foods namely grains, fruits/ vegetables and dairy. Keep these few tips in mind-

· Start with Grains – Grains like wheat, maize, jowar, bajra, rice, oats and barley are important to your diet. Especially, if they are whole.

· Fill up on Fruits and/or Veggies – Because they are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Try seasonal ones

· Go for Dairy – Good source of calcium and protein required for healthy bones and teeth. One can choose to include variety of milk and milk products [curd, cottage cheese (paneer), butter-milk (chaas), cheese] etc.

There are plenty of options which make for a quick ‘Balanced Breakfast’. Some of them are-

· A bowl of vegetable poha (sprinkled with lime juice); a glass of milk and a serving of your favourite seasonal fruits

· A bowl of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal made with whole grain; a glass of milk and sliced bananas/ apples/strawberries

· Whole grain bread sandwiches loaded with fresh veggies like cucumber, beetroot, tomato, shredded carrots, lettuce leaves and a glass of butter milk

· 2 Idlis with sambhar; a bowl of curds and a serving of your favourite seasonal fruits

· A serving of oats porridge with dates, raisins and almonds

Studies have also found link between breakfast skipping and fatigue at noon, deficiency in total energy, vitamins and minerals. However, the role of breakfast in reducing fatigue seems to be a significant when it comes to mental well-being.

A recent report conducted on healthy, young adults (25 –30 years) suggests that regular breakfast consumption can lead to better perceived sleep quality, mood upon waking, and alertness upon waking compared to breakfast skippers. However, long term clinical studies are needed to validate the role of breakfast on sleep health and mood behaviours.

Following a healthy well- balanced diet can keep you energized and help you to feel your best. And having a balanced breakfast each day is a sensible habit that we should inculcate for lifetime! Moreover, breakfast time is perfect to eat together and bond with the family, and indeed children who eat with their parents in the morning tend to adopt healthier eating habits (Pearson N et al, 2008).

As the sayings goes, ‘All Happiness Depends On A Leisurely Breakfast’.

By Sweety Das, Nutritionist, Kellogg India

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