“Never miss breakfast!” Those were the words my mom drummed in my ear as a child. But as an adult, I always struggle to know the best food to break my fast every morning. Interestingly, I’m not alone—many people, especially young adults, skip breakfast more than lunch and dinner.
Does it matter if you miss breakfast? The answer isn’t always clear-cut. But some medical experts believe eating breakfast reduces the risk of heart-related diseases, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and stroke. Another bonus point for breakfast eaters: they’re likely to manage stress better, monitor their nutrient intake, and pay attention to physical exercise—all of these suggest my mom wasn’t wrong!
So, what are the best breakfast foods you should eat to improve your health? We explained them here in this article.
5 healthy Nigerian foods to break your fast
Lack of time is a major reason many people skip breakfast. This is why eggs are the first on the list; they’re easy to prepare. Besides, they’re excellent sources of proteins, which keep you full because they take time to digest.
Although eggs contain high cholesterol, they don’t raise cholesterol levels in people when eaten in moderation. In contrast, eggs offer mild protection against heart disease. Because they’re low in calories, eggs regulate blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). For diabetics, it’s better to boil, poach, or scramble your eggs with low-fat milk.
As a Nigerian, you can enjoy eggs with yam or potato, bread, and plantains. If you’re living with diabetes, serve unripe plantains with scrambled eggs to manage your blood sugar level.
2. Fruits and smoothies
You can also eat fruits as a salad or smoothie. Fruit salad is a mix of fresh fruits, more like cuts of different fruits in a bowl. Smoothies, however, are a blend of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Both fruity foods allow you to meet the daily recommended fluid intake quota depending on your body’s needs.
For instance, if you’re on a weight loss journey, you should only eat low-calorie fruits, like mango-date smoothies, bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon. Avoid acidic fruits such as citrus (e.g., oranges, limes, and grapefruits) and green apples if you’re living with ulcers. Their high acid content may worsen your ulcer symptoms.
3. Coffee and green tea
If alertness is your goal, coffee and green tea should be part of your morning diet. Both are rich in caffeine, which promotes mental and physical alertness. Regular coffee intake also reduces the risk of T2D, liver disease, and obesity. Similarly, green tea, which is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, improves brain function and reduces the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
But processed cereals may also contain unhealthy amounts of sugar. This is why you should check the ingredient list before buying them, especially if you want to meet your weight goals. In general, high-fiber cereals made from whole grains with little sugar improve bowel function. Oats, oatmeal, granola, cornflakes, and golden morn are examples of cereals for breakfast.
Nuts are a nutrient storehouse. They’re rich in heart-friendly fat, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain high levels of protein and fiber, which make you feel full after eating. As a result, they supply the energy you need to function during the day.
Apart from chewing them whole as a snack, you can also add them to smoothies or salad toppings. But note that nuts contain high calories; therefore, ensure you’re not exceeding your calorie count when adding nuts to other meals. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and are examples of nuts you can take. Tiger nuts, though botanically an edible tuber, are also excellent “nuts” you should add to your morning diet.
Frequently Asked Questions about breakfast foods in Nigeria
Is it better to eat or skip breakfast?
Breakfast provides the essential nutrients your body needs. No defined evidence skipping breakfast will automatically lead to a health hazard. But breakfast eaters are likely to have healthier lifestyle habits compared to those that don’t.
Which food is best to eat on an empty stomach?
Some foods help the body more than others, especially when you eat them on an empty stomach in the morning. They provide water and electrolytes that boost intestinal health. Examples are:
- Leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach.
- Vegetable juice.
- Bananas, dates, and pawpaw.
Does skipping breakfast cause a stomach ulcer?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is the main cause of stomach ulcers—the sores in the stomach. People contract the microorganism through bad water and food. Another cause of stomach ulcers is the incessant use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen and aspirin), which may remove the protective lining in the stomach and make it vulnerable to acid interference.
Skipping meals or lifestyle habits don’t primarily cause ulcers. But your eating habits may increase your risk of contracting H. pylori. According to a 2012 study, irregular meal timing by two hours or more led to a thirteenfold increase in developing H. pylori. Therefore, skipping meals increases your risk of developing ulcers.