If you want to avoid that mid-afternoon, exhausted, ‘MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE’ slump and feel good all day in general, your best bet is to load up your plate first thing.
Researchers from the University of Missouri have found that breakfast is the key to feeling good throughout the day. And just porridge, toast or cereal isn’t going to cut it – you need to add something rich in protein, like eggs, baked beans, or even a protein shake. According to Psych Central, this is more filling, reduces cravings for sweet or fatty foods, and boosts levels of the happiness and confidence hormone dopamine. If you skip breakfast, on the other hand, you’ll feel worse as the day goes on, even if you eat healthily for the rest of the day.
Heather Leidy, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the university, led the study, and her team’s findings have now been published in Nutrition Journal. She measured the dopamine levels of people after they’d eaten different breakfasts and found that those who missed out had lower levels. This means that it takes more food later to release an amount that makes them feel good, leading to an increased chance of over-eating and reaching for sweet foods that release the chemical more quickly. Regular meals with a complex carb and some protein keep the blood sugar and mood hormones more balanced.
For best effect, you need to eat within an hour of waking up. Yes, you might feel a bit miserable shuffling out of bed 15 minutes earlier than usual, especially until the clocks go back. But it’ll be worth it to avoid feeling rough half the afternoon and eating a metric tonne of Haribo just to perk yourself up.
Image via Janine’s Flickr.
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