In 2014, Kellogg’s quarterly global earnings fell by 16% and orange juice sales plummeted to their lowest in decades. It seems our morning appetites are changing – and not always for the better.
While 80% of Americans still eat breakfast at home, more people are eating their first meal of the day at a restaurant. This trend could negatively affect your ability to perform at the grind because research from Cardiff University, UK, found a strong link between the quality of your breakfast and your ability to excel in cognitively challenging tasks.
To get early morning culinary inspiration you need only to look at what other countries eat because it could be a deciding factor in achieving your sports performance and physique goals.
Best for All-Sport Athletes
Egypt: Mashed broad beans with olive oil, garlic, cottage cheese, tomatoes and flat bread.
This breakfast is a great start to anyone’s day, especially budding athletes. Low glycemic food, like beans, reduces your markers for inflammation, which can rack up if you’re doing high levels of different types of exercise. This does lack the big servings of protein needed to finance muscle and satiety, so add a few eggs into the mix and you have a meal to start your day that’ll also bring you closer to MVP status.
Best for Endurance Athletes
Brazil: Yogurt, cheese, fruit juice with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
The Brazilian ladies may be famed for their luscious rump, but just 1 in 10 is overweight. This breakfast is high in dairy, and research, published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, found a breakfast high in calcium rich dairy keeps you lean and improves bone strength, which is vital for endurance athletes. Because they tend to have lower bone densities than athletes who take part in impact sports, this will shore up any potential weaknesses and keep the wheels turning.
Best for Longevity
Japan: Steamed white rice with a raw egg and nori on top with pickles, grilled fish and green tea.
All the ingredients that’ll help you march onwards towards your 100th birthday are front and center. Regularly eating fish increases your omega-3 levels, which lower your risk of death by 27%, found Harvard researchers. The nori is seaweed loaded with iodine and other powerful anti-aging compounds that aren’t prevalent in western diets. It’s a powerful combination that’ll see your birthday cakes get progressively weighed down with candles.
Best for Early Morning Session
Russia: Oats, eggs, meats and toasted rye breads.
Our stern-faced comrades fill up on a high-protein brawn-building diet that include meats, which are a powerful protein-rich foodstuff. The rye bread is an excellent addition because research at Lund University, Sweden, found it leads to better insulin and blood-sugar levels compared to wheat bread. This means you won’t get sudden hunger pangs that’ll distract you mid workout – leaving you to concentrate on the important stuff like a new personal best. Small wonder Putin’s preferred campaigning model is shirtless propaganda.
Best for Muscle Building
Vietnam: Beef or chicken pho (broth) soup with rice noodles.
This breakfast’s power lies in the broth. Research in Cell Metabolism found bone marrow reduces your risk of contracting diseases like diabetes and certain cancers. To make it, heat up the bone broth and add the following to your bowl: rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, bean sprouts, sliced chili, cilantro leaves, shallots, fresh ginger and garlic. The quantity of each ingredient is up to your taste buds, but add them raw and let them cook in the broth for 3-4 minutes. It won’t take any longer than cooking a pot of oatmeal and is a great source of bicep-building protein.
Best for Weight Loss
France and Italy: Coffee with sweet pastries, jams and biscuits.
If you’re looking to get lean, then start off the day with a high-protein breakfast, since it’s proven to reduce cravings. However, the French have a little trick up their sleeve: sweetness. Just 11% of French people are obese, the lowest figure in Europe, and research by the Endocrine Society found having a high-carb and high-protein breakfast that includes dessert reduces dieters’ hunger and cravings throughout the day.
If you don’t like the idea of giving up on your sweet tooth, it’s best to indulge first thing.
Find nutritional information and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.