How Breakfast Can Improve Health of Nigerians
Even though research shows that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, many Nigerians still skip breakfast due to busy schedules and habit. Experts are however calling for a change in narrative. Martins Ifijeh writes
It is no longer news that most Nigerians, especially in cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt often skip breakfasts because of busy schedules and time constraints. Overtime it has become a norm for many to skip the morning meal while taking their first meal by noon and the last meal at night.
But experts believed while afternoons and evenings were good times as well to eat, the most important meal of the day is often breakfast, and that it must be taken few hours after waking up for effective brain and body functioning.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) described breakfast as the meal which helps the body and brain refuel after an overnight fast; a narrative from where the word ‘breakfast’ emanated from.
The Assistant Brand Manager, Mamador, Omobolanle Akin-Fatodus in a chat with THISDAY recently said during busy mornings, it was easy to let breakfasts fall low in the list of priorities, but that taking just a few minutes to have something to eat can make a difference not only to the brains and body, but the psychic of the individual.
She said: “Apart from providing us with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins, as well as protein and fibre. The body needs these essential nutrients and research shows that if these are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day.
“Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals so try to include a portion of these macronutrients to your daily life, especially during the mornings; whether that be a banana or glass of fruit juice.
“Breakfast can be good for waistline too; research shows those who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight and more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared with breakfast skippers. If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to reach for high sugar and fatty snacks mid-morning.”
She said Mamador has introduced its Light Fat Spread as it is suitable for healthy and tasty breakfast meals, and easily accessible in homes across Nigeria.
She said the Mamador Light Fat Spread contains triple benefits which include enjoyable taste, easy-to-spread, as well as the health benefits it brings.
“Among other foods, this is one of the breakfast meals needed for healthy living because of the immense nutritional values it contains. It is cholesterol and trans-fat free, and contains 30 per cent daily allowance of required vitamins,” she added.
She said the spreads were launched in two variants: classic spread; and particularly, the Light Fat Spread which emphasises ‘health and taste’ benefits.
While stating that a healthy breakfast should provide calories in the range of 20-35 per cent of Guideline Daily Allowance (GDA), she said breakfast also restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function.
A WHO study recently showed that eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels, as well as make people happier as it can improve mood and lower stress levels. It also shows that in children, breakfast can improve attainment, behaviour and has been linked to improved grades. Just like any other organ in the body, the brain needs energy to work at its best.
A nutrition expert, Dr. Florence Grande-Alao believes even though people’s energy needs vary depending on activity levels and life stages, men were thought to require more energy than women, adding that growing children requires a lot of energy. “Because of this variation, boys aged seven to 10 years should consume about 1970 kcals per day, while girls aged seven to 10 years should consume about 1740 kcals. For adults, men require about 2500 kcals and women 2000 kcals per day. We should take advantage of these energy values especially during breakfasts,” she added.