It’s been a long time since last night’s dinner, and your stomach is as empty as it gets. Sure, you’re hungry. Of course you’re health conscious (most of the time, anyway).
By Liberty Craig
But do you really know what foods work best to not only kick-start your day, but also protect your stomach lining, improve your cholesterol, and keep you full and energized until your next meal?
Check out these breakfast dos and don’ts for everyday champions, and make the most important meal of the day work for your body.
BEST WAYS TO BREAK THE FAST
Do your body a favour, and break the fast with these breakfasts of everyday champions.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is warm, nourishing and filling, and a great way to start your day. Even better, it creates a coating that protects your stomach lining from hydrochloric acid. Oatmeal also improves digestion and metabolism, and lowers cholesterol.
Eggs: Sunny side up, scrambled or in an omelette, these perfect little packets of protein give you the energy you need to start your day – and have been shown to significantly cut your calorie intake as the day progresses.
Blueberries: Nature’s beautiful blue antioxidant treat, blueberries improve memory, metabolism, blood pressure and circulation – especially when consumed
Watermelon: Filled as it is with water, watermelon is a great way to introduce fruit to your empty stomach first thing in the morning. With high levels of lycopene, watermelon also improves the health of your eyes and heart.
Papaya: High in fibre, vitamin E and vitamin C and known for its powerful digestive properties, papaya can reduce the risk of colon cancer by clearing free radicals from your digestive tract.
Nuts: The healthy fats and protein in nuts can help normalize the pH levels of your stomach and decrease excess stomach acid and ulcer risk. When eaten for breakfast, they are especially beneficial for digestive health.
Buckwheat: Packed with protein, iron and vitamins, buckwheat makes for a delicious breakfast that also stimulates digestion. Throw some in your favourite smoothie, or… buckwheat pancakes with blueberries on top, anyone?
Wheat germ: Also great for digestion, wheat germ is packed with vitamin E and folic acid, and is a great addition to your breakfast arsenal.
Whole grains: Opt for yeast-free whole grains like whole grain toast or pancakes. Breakfast is the best time for complex carbohydrates, as the remainder of your day can be spent burning off these carbs.
Cornmeal porridge: Cornmeal porridge is a delicious and nourishing start to your day that normalizes intestinal microflora and removes toxins and heavy metals from your body.
BREAKFAST BLUNDERS TO AVOID
You may be surprised by some of the foods you should be avoiding at your first meal of the day.
Juice: By all means, juice your own vegetables… but avoid high-sugar fruit juices that promote a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, leading to energy crashes and food cravings throughout the day.
Tomatoes: Yes, tomatoes are still good for you… but avoid eating them on an empty stomach as they can exacerbate acid reflux and stomach ulcers.
Coffee or tea: Don’t stop reading yet! You can still have your morning coffee or tea – just be sure to eat something first, as these beverages (coffee especially) can worsen stomach acidity and gastritis when consumed on an empty stomach.
Oranges and grapefruits: While these are many people’s go-to breakfast items, citrus fruits can irritate the lower esophagus and certain people may need to avoid them, especially as their first meal of the day.
Pastries: Croissants and danishes are not the best breakfast option for many reasons, like high fat content, low fibre, and low nutritional value. But did you know the yeast found in these breakfast treats can also cause flatulence? Think twice before gobbling down that pain au chocolat on an empty stomach before your morning meeting!
Carbonated beverages: Soda is brim-full of sugar and is the single leading cause of obesity in North America. However, even carbonated beverages that do not contain sugar should be avoided at breakfast time. On an empty stomach, the carbonation can damage mucous membranes and reduce blood supply to the stomach, slowing digestion and contributing to constipation.
Eating the right foods for breakfast will not only give you more energy and help you eat better throughout the day. You’ll also avoid stomach upsets while improving your digestion and your overall health. Eat well and be the champion of your day!