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Why Nigerians must reconsider stand on breakfast — Experts

By Chinelo Azike

There is no gainsaying that Nigerians have no regimented breakfast even though experts have adjudged breakfast as the best meal of the day.Food Security, Sufficiency: We’ll sustain agric interventions-Buhari

Today, a lot of Nigerians still skip breakfast under the guise of busy schedules but experts say having a healthy meal a few hours after waking up helps the brain, heart and organs to function well.

Sadly, a lot of working-class Nigerians no longer bother about having breakfast and most of those who do are not aware that you can’t eat just anything you want in the morning as some foods are not very good if eaten on an empty stomach. Millions of Nigerians have even developed the habits of either skipping breakfast or eating heavy foods like cassava, popularly known as fufu for lunch or dinner.

However, while nutritionists and dietitians believe that lunch and dinner also have a role to play in the daily nutrients requirement of the body, they are of the view that breakfast remains a must-have for all.

To them, having a balanced breakfast is very important to an individual’s health, weight management and not having it at all could put individuals at risk.

According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, a regular breakfast is part of a healthy diet, which in turn has been considered an important factor in a healthy lifestyle.

Also, a key guideline on dieting issued by the American Heart Association states that individuals who eat breakfast daily are less likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. People who skip this morning meal are more likely to have risk factors like obesity, poor nutrition, and diabetes or high blood sugar. The group of medical doctors maintained that eating more calories earlier in the day and consuming less food at night may also reduce the odds of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiac or blood vessel diseases.

In the view of the Assistant Brand Manager, Mamador, Omobolanle Akin-Fatodu, choosing a balanced breakfast can fill-in the gaps likely to be missing in people’s diet.

Omobolanle said a healthy breakfast can be a good source of calcium and fibre and has also shown to improve concentration and attention levels, particularly in children. She added that it gives energy, stops people from snacking in the day and supplies essential nutrients.

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Encouraging people to form the habit of eating every morning, she noted that breakfast reduces the risk of prolonged cravings which has the tendency of making people overeat during the day.

“Research has shown that breakfast reduces the risk of having stomach ulcers as your stomach won’t be left empty for a long period. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast consume more vitamins, minerals, and fibre throughout the day.

“Breakfast helps stimulates the brain to improve concentration and productivity throughout the day. People who skip breakfast have lower energy levels, as well as less strength and endurance to engage in physical activity,” she added.

However, in what seems like a crusade on the importance of a healthy breakfast, Omobolanle said Mamador introduced the Mamador Light Fat Spread, a suitable option for healthy and tasty breakfast meals which is easily accessible in homes across Nigeria.

She said the spread contains triple benefits which include its enjoyable taste, easy-to-spread feature, as well as the health benefits it brings. She added that among other foods, it was one of the breakfast options needed for healthy living because of the immense nutritional values it contains.

“It is cholesterol and trans-fat free, and contains 30 percent daily allowance of required vitamins.”

Mamador Light spreads were launched in two variants of classic spread. Particularly, the Light Fat Spread emphasises health and taste benefits.

She, however, noted that the spread was a perfect breakfast complement as it remains one of the richest sources of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, Folic Acid, among  others. Continuing, Omobolanle said it enhances growth and development of mental and physical performance.

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For a Nutrition Researcher at the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, Marie-Pierre St-Onge, meal timing may affect health by impacting the body’s internal clock.

“We may not process sugar as well at night as we do during the day, and studies of shift workers have linked this schedule with a greater risk of obesity and heart disease than a typical day job,” he added.

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