Don’t Skip the First Meal of the Day: Opt for a Healthy Breakfast

It’s another early morning and the last thing you want to do is get out of bed. And plus, do you even want to worry about breakfast? If you’re like most people, the idea of having breakfast so early in the morning just won’t happen. However, it is extremely crucial for maintaining a diet that is healthy.

When normal days persist, people tend to eat when they’re hungry. Usually meals are within every 3 – 5 hours and then there is snacking that occurs. When you sleep overnight however, the body goes for a longer period of time without food. It is said that during those hours, the body is in a state that is considered semi starvation and if it is not fueled when you wake up, there can be negative health effects.
The truth is that breakfast is awesome because it can provide you with a plethora of nutrients that you need to get through your day. And I’m not talking about grabbing a doughnut. I’m taking about wholesome products. The first meal of the day promotes growth as well as muscle repair with the help of protein. Let’s not forget to mention that breakfast helps to really replenish your energy. When you skip breakfast , these things are less likely to happen. You’re also more susceptible to all kinds of fatigue, which no one wants to deal with.

With regard to energy, breakfast plays a significant role in getting the glucose to your blood. That is what helps you stay active. Since you’re not eating at night, when you are asleep, the levels of glucose decrease, so breakfast is needed to fuel you right back up.
The unfortunate truth is that most people simply skip breakfast because they believe that they have the ability to lose weight this way. However, according to research, this is not the case at all. When you don’t have a proper breakfast in the morning, you will have ridiculous amounts of hunger later on. This leads to overeating and eventually making food choices that are not the best in the world. They include a lot of vending machine snacks that are filled with calories, but have little nutrients. Reality shows us that those who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight compared to those who take the time to eat something in the morning.
When you eat breakfast, try to stay away from those sugary products. You know what I’m talking about. Everything from the cereals to the heavy creamers for your coffee all add up in the end. Your glucose will spike to high levels, but that is not what you want! We want your glucose to spike to moderate levels, so opt for whole grain toast, bananas and even oatmeal.
The Bottom Line
If you have a severe issue with eating solid foods in the morning, why not try liquid breakfasts? There are a ton of healthy shakes out there that you can drink when you’re on the go and they have the same effect that the wholesome foods have. And if you can try munching on some dried fruit and nuts- they help with reviving your energy. Happy eating!

Anita Haridat, Ph.D

Enjoy a Healthy Autumn with All Things Pumpkin

It’s my favorite time of year again! The air is crisp in many areas of the nation, Halloween decorations are out and there is an influx of pumpkin products all around. We’ve all heard of pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin pie, but what if we look past all of the sugar and focus on the natural masterpiece at hand? Did you know that pumpkins are filled with all kinds of nutrients that you should take advantage of this season? Let’s take a look.
First, let’s briefly clarify. The question that people have been asking for quite some time now- are pumpkins vegetables or fruits? The pumpkin is a member of the squash family and though it is treated like a vegetable, it is technically a fruit due to the containment of seeds. Those seeds are a great source of protein, minerals, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids- which we will delve into later!

Additionally, in general, pumpkins come in an orange or yellow color; however, some varieties exhibit dark to pale green, brown, white, red and gray. The color is largely influenced by yellow-orange pigments in their skin and pulp. The rind is smooth with light, vertical ribs.
The power behind the hue of pumpkin is the beta-carotene, an organic compound that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing coronary heart disease.
When boiled or steamed, pumpkin tends to be very low in calories. A pumpkin that is about 100 g provides approximately 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It should also be known that it is very rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. Furthermore, it is one of the food items recommended by dietitians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Still, the real treasure may be in the seeds. One ounce (about 140 seeds) is packed with protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Studies suggest pumpkin seeds provide a number of health benefits— such as blocking the enlargement of the prostate gland, lowering the risk of bladder stones, and helping to prevent depression. Plus, they contain high levels of phytosterols, which research suggests can reduce cholesterol. So get scooping!



The Bottom Line
There are plenty of ways to sneak pumpkin into any meal — whether it’s the seeds or the flesh, canned, cooked, or raw, or in a main dish versus a chocolate chip cookie. For a hot breakfast filled with fiber, try adding pumpkin to oatmeal. And take note: if a recipe calls for canned pumpkin, don’t be afraid to replace it with fresh. Placing a small, cleaned-out pumpkin in the microwave for six minutes will make it easy to scoop out the insides.

And save those seeds— they’re easy to roast. After removing seeds from the pumpkin’s inner cavity, wipe them off with a paper towel. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with some seasoning, and lightly roast at 160-170 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Roasting for a short time at a low temperature helps to preserve their healthy oils. Happy eating!

Anita Haridat, Ph.D



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Anita Haridat, Ph.D