What does a healthy breakfast do for you?
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Doctors say a nutritious breakfast should comprise of carbohydrates from cereals, proteins from pulses, fats from oil, and fruits and milk.

September 08, 2023 12:26 pm | Updated 01:18 pm IST

Research continues to affirm that breakfast is the meal you should not be missing. Image for representational purpose only.

Research continues to affirm that breakfast is the meal you should not be missing. Image for representational purpose only. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has started a series of events to observe the month of September as the 6th Rashtriya Poshan Maah, emphasising the importance of nutritious food for all.

The aim is to foster nutritional understanding across India. This year, the stated objective is to comprehensively tackle malnutrition through a life-cycle approach and in this endeavour, cultivate widespread awareness concerning critical human life stages: pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. In this context, here’s looking at the role that a healthy breakfast, the most commonly missed meal, plays in the life of children/students.

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Bhuvaneswari Shankar, dietician and nutritionist, at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, explains what a proper, regular healthy breakfast can do for children. Studies have shown, she says, that children who eat breakfast in the morning perform well in their tests in school, and their brain functions better to improve memory and attention, naturally leading to good scores. Apart from this, children are indeed more energetic if they eat breakfast. The mood is better, again leading to better concentration and alertness in school. Having a regular breakfast means the metabolism begins to kick in and the body starts to burn the calories. Dr. Bhuvaneswari says that this means that they will not over eat later in the day, and this helps avoid obesity.

In a study conducted at Puducherry, on ‘Breakfast consumption habit and its impact on nutrient intake and nutritional status of medical undergraduates’ published in the Journal of Nutrition and Internal Medicine, it was found that body mass index was significantly higher among those who skipped breakfast more than thrice a week. In recent years, missing breakfast has been implicated in weight control, cardio-metabolic risk factors and cognitive performance, as Michael Gibney et al pointed out in a report in the journal Nutrients .

The introduction of a free, regular, breakfast scheme will definitely help in reducing the number of children with malnutrition, stunting and wasting, asserts Dr. Bhuvaneshwari. At the same time, she points out that a nutritious breakfast should comprise carbohydrates from cereals, proteins from pulses, fats from oil, and fruits and milk.

(ramya.kannan@thehindu.co.in)

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