Monday, August 5, 2013

Breakfast and Heart Attacks

You may be aware that skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain and cognitive problems. The probable cause is insulin resistance at the cellular level triggered by stress, or adrenal dysfunction. It is very stressful to get up in the morning and face the vicissitudes of life without proper fuel at the precise time when it is needed the most: think of a rocket taking off into orbit. After reaching space, it merely coasts, having consumed most of its fuel early during launch.

It is the same with our body.

No wonder that a spike of heart attacks is seen on Monday mornings. In typical fashion, the French “abolished” Monday morning: they don’t show to work until Monday afternoon.

To “sicken” the plot, a study just came out: “Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. J. Circulation 2013; DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001474. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/. It documents that there is a 27% higher risk of heart attacks and early mortality from heart issues.

It is understandable that many rush out in the morning to meet their obligations; some have to work 2-3 jobs and are chronically sleep deprived. Sleeping in to the last minute may seem unavoidable. But, getting heart attack skipping breakfast does not seem worth it.

Do not eat a bowl of Captain Crunch as a token effort. Think about fruit, which you may eat in the car, or bus. Better yet, consider warming up leftovers from dinner (hope it is healthy.) If you are going to eat cereal, make it whole grain with no added sugar, but fruit. In my opinion, the best is what I do: steam a lot of veggies and lean meats once or twice a month some evening. Store most of it in the freezer and some in the refrigerator. In the morning, before letting the dog out, getting the paper and waking up everyone, throw all that in the frying pan with paprika, tarragon, Bragg’s amino acids, pepper, pesto, garlic, etc., and while you take a shower the food is warming up. So, you would not be cooking at all.

I also hope you get to bed sooner. Watching Leno may not be worth it.

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