FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community has heard their parents, grandparents and caregivers repeat any number of statements regarding their eating habits when they were children. You remember them … “Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you,” “Drink your milk so you have strong bones,” “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyesight,” and “You have to eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.” Turns out they were absolutely right and we repeat those statements to our own children today.
Now there’s new information that provides more insight into why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – and it has to do with more than giving us the energy we need to get through the morning thinking clearly and performing at our best.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health has just been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The results found an association between skipping breakfast and a higher risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease.
For their study the researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaires completed by 26,902 male health professionals aged between 45 and 82 years and tracked their health for 16 years from 1992 to 2008. The men were free of heart disease and cancer at the start of the study.
Over the follow-up, 1,572 men experienced non-fatal heart attacks or died of coronary heart disease. When they analyzed the data the researchers found men who said they did not have breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than men who said they ate breakfast. The men who said they skipped breakfast tended to be younger, single, smokers, who worked full time, did not do much exercise and drank more alcohol.
Researchers noted that the results suggest that eating habits may affect risk of coronary heart disease through pathways associated with traditional risk factors.
The study reinforces previous research and sends a message to make sure we don’t skip breakfast. Eating a healthy meal at the beginning of the day is linked to a lower risk of heart attacks.
FoodFacts.com knows that there are so many great ideas for a healthy breakfast from whole grain toast, to oatmeal to a good quality granola or organic cold cereal. We can add nuts, berries, bananas, peaches …or any other fruit. Breakfast is an easy meal to keep interesting and flavorful, without unhealthy ingredients. So let’s get creative for ourselves and our kids! And the next time we tell them that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we won’t just be helping them stay focused in school, we’ll be helping develop a habit that will help to keep their hearts healthy throughout their lives!