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Breakfast linked to 'healthy heart'
Could a bowl of cereal help your heart? People should eat breakfast to keep
their hearts in good condition, according to researchers in the US. Their study
of 27,000 men, in the journal Circulation, showed those skipping breakfast were
at a greater risk of heart problems.
The team at the Harvard School of Public Health said missing
the meal put an "extra strain" on the body. The British Heart
Foundation said breakfast helped people resist sugary snacks before lunch. The
men, aged 45-82, were studied for 16 years. During that time there were more than 1,500
heart attacks or cases of fatal heart failure. However, people who skipped breakfast were 27%
more likely to have heart problems than those who started the day with a meal.
The researchers adjusted for other lifestyle risk factors
such as smoking and exercise. Researcher, Dr Leah Cahill told the BBC: "The take-home
message is eat in the morning when you wake up, preferably within an hour. The
results show that something is better than nothing, but it's always better to
have something healthy and balanced.” She said the timing of the meal seemed to
be key and waiting until lunch rather than "breaking fast" may be
straining the body over time. She said this could be increasing the risk of
high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes which could in turn damage the heart.
"Don't skip breakfast," Dr Cahill concluded. Victoria Taylor, a dietitian with the British Heart
Foundation, said: "These
researchers only looked at men aged over 45, so we would need to see further
research to confirm that breakfast has the same impact on the heart health of
other groups of people. What we do know is that a healthy and filling breakfast
can make that mid-morning biscuit less tempting, as well as giving you another
opportunity to widen the variety of foods in your diet. Wholegrain toast, or
cereals like porridge with low fat milk are a good way to start the day. Try a
sliced banana or dried fruit on top and you'll be on your way to five-a-day
before you've even left the house."
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