Photo Credit: Istock
We have all heard the saying that one should eat breakfast like a king. Breakfast helps in restoring glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate required for our brain functions. Most of us tend to miss out on this meal in a hurry to get to office or meet other schedules forgetting how critical it is to have breakfast, which provides us the energy to get through the rest of the day. Breakfast helps kick start our metabolism, so eating food in the morning sets in motion a variety of biological processes associated with digestion and storage of nutrients.
However, for some, eating a heavy meal in the morning is a challenge. Then there are those who face gastric issues if they consume a large meal as breakfast. So, the question arises if breakfast should really be eaten like a king or should it be lunch that should be the most important meal? Let's turn to Ayurveda.
Our digestive power, or what is referred to as agni in Ayurveda, is crucial for one's health and well-being. Agni (fire) refers to heat energy that is at the core of all digestive and metabolic functions in the body, and is responsible for smooth working of the body. Once it extinguishes, it is believed that death soon follows. Every body functions differently as we have our own nature, but if you listen or observe carefully, you will realise that the body gives out various signals to tell you its needs, such as when it is hungry or when you have had your fill. The appropriate amount of food is crucial to maintain a good balance of agni, keeping in mind your ability to digest and your power of metabolism.
Breakfast helps in restoring glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate; Image credit: Istock
Agni is said to be the highest during noontime when the sun is at its peak. Yes, our digestive power has much to do with the sun and time of day. Our body has its own biological clock, and it functions in quite the same manner as any clock. If you follow a schedule, it will work efficiently. If you disrupt the cycle, it will hamper other functions.
Midday is said to be pitta time. This is the time when the digestive power is the strongest and hence food is easily digested. Various studies have also shown that our digestive system secretes the highest amount of digestive juices or enzymes around noon, making this the best time to eat our largest meal. In the morning, the body is in the process of rejuvenation, and elimination of waste from the body. It is also the time for meditation and exercise. It is advised to eat light meals as breakfast to kickstart your metabolism. Overeating can imbalance agni, leading to discomfort like acidity, acid reflux or lethargy among others. Lunchtime is when you should take a break and enjoy a hearty meal without being distracted by other activities. You need to focus on what you are eating to not just enjoy the food but also reap its maximum benefits for the body. It shouldn't be a hurried affair.
So, next time you plan on feasting, make sure it's brunchtime or lunch. If the hunger pangs kick in during the morning, eat some fruits, milk, oats and nuts or other light meals.