According to the old adage, ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. But is that really so? Now, research has found that this adage may be more than a long-repeated mantra, and that eating breakfast first thing in the morning may play a significant role in staving off heart problems and maintaining good cardiovascular health.
For the research, scientists from the University of Iowa examined data from 7,205 adults aged between 40 and 75 with no history of cardiovascular disease from a national health survey conducted in Korea. Taken between 2014 and 2016, in particular, they looked at information on the cardiovascular health of each patient over a 10-year period (including incidence of heart disease deaths and nonfatal and fatal stroke) in comparison to their breakfast habits.
In the end, they found that people who reported not eating breakfast were 87% more likely to die from cardiovascular-related illnesses than those who ate breakfast everyday. Lead author of the study, Wei Bao, said, “The finding itself is very straightforward: people who skip breakfast regularly had increased risk for cardiovascular mortality and total mortality...This finding is not surprising because previous studies found that skipping breakfast was related to hypertension, diabetes, and other cardiovascular risk factors.”
Although interesting findings, the researchers nevertheless caution that the research has some limitations. In particular, as it relied on people reporting their breakfast habits, it is likely that there is some discrepancy between recorded results and reality. Moreover, the researchers did not have any information on what breakfasts people were eating, and whether it could have contributed to heart health, as well as how their lifestyle, health and socioeconomic factors may have contributed.
Nevertheless, the researchers say that this paper may be able to give people both easy and actionable recommendations on how they can improve their overall heart health. From other research, Katherine Stys, a wellness program manager at AtlantiCare Regional Medical center, recommended breakfasts that contain whole grains, fruits and health proteins that do not have high contents of added sugar. These include oatmeal paired with fresh fruits and nuts as well as hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato.