Breakfast can either make or break the rest of your day. Even though we know that it’s the most important meal of the day, many Americans treat breakfast with very little care, throwing it to the side whenever our schedules get busy. But eating a healthy, nutrient-packed meal in the morning can set us up for success, giving us fuel to keep going and plenty of energy to make healthy decisions.
In fact, skipping breakfast altogether is one of the worst ways you can start your day when it comes to your health. Skipping this morning meal has been found to slow down metabolism, lead to weight gain, negatively impact your immune system, and even lead to greater stress levels.
While many Americans can certainly work on improving their healthy breakfast habits, some of the longest-living people in the world know the value of eating a healthy breakfast. In fact, many of the world’s Blue Zones (regions across the globe with the highest concentrations of centenarians) practice eating their largest meal of the day first thing in the morning.
The Blue Zones were coined as a way of pinpointing parts of the world where people lived the longest, healthiest lives. The regions include Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California.
Since the founding of the Blue Zones concept, researchers have discovered commonalities in lifestyle habits among these communities, including their diets, movement, values, and spiritual practices. And when it comes to the way they handle breakfast, the Blue Zone centenarians try to fit as many nutrients into their morning as they possibly can.
According to a research article published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicinee, one of the core values shared among Blue Zone centenarians is the practice of eating their largest meal in the morning, and their smallest meal in the afternoon and evening. This concept goes against what many Americans naturally practice, which is eating a small breakfast that lacks in nutrients or not eating breakfast at all while saving larger meals for later in the day.
Another major difference that sets many of these centenarians apart from the rest of the world is that they consume healthy, whole foods at every meal. While many of us may reach for a quick breakfast pastry in the morning, the Blue Zones are eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and beans, which gives them a boost of protein, fiber, and antioxidants in the morning hours.