Eating breakfast every day is a rarity for many college students. Rushing to an 8 a.m. class or clinging onto those extra 15 minutes of sleep are some reasons students ignore breakfast.

However, skipping breakfast doesn’t just deteriorate mental health but physical health as well.

Some people might think skipping a meal is advantageous to losing weight. That’s actually incorrect. Skipping breakfast can increase the risk of obesity and make it harder to lose weight, according to Live Strong. When a person goes to sleep at night, they are unknowingly fasting. When they wake up and skip breakfast, that fast continues longer than necessary. This can disrupt blood sugar balance and insulin output. It can also trigger bad eating habits throughout the day or overeating.

Skipping a meal can also lower brain cognition, thus affecting one’s ability to problem-solve, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This should be obvious for many students who have skipped a meal then ran to class feeling unfocused and fuzzy.

Many people don’t think much of skipping a meal to catch up on an assignment, sleep or even a favorite TV show. But I know from experience that skipping meals is extremely damaging and leads to symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, weakness, headaches, tingling and rapid heart rate, according to the National Institutes of Health.

My hands shake a lot throughout most days because I don’t eat enough throughout the day. I’m naturally thin and sometimes I think I can get away with skipping meal to do something I think is “more important.” Then my stomach starts to cramp and tighten up, my hands shake, I try to eat but have no appetite because my stomach has shrunk from not eating enough for days.

Acknowledging these effects is the first step in making a change in your daily routine. Recognizing what needs attention and help is most important when it comes to self-care.

If cereal is boring and bagels are too high in carbohydrates, there are many other breakfast options that can boost your immune system, productivity, memory and more.

Eggs contain fat-like B vitamin called choline that enhances memory and reaction time. The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose in the blood, which is about the same amount found in a banana, according to livescience.com. Yogurt is high in protein, minerals and probiotics, which aid in digestion and also improving hydration.

These are just a few breakfast examples that have specific health benefits. There are dozens of other options to kickstart your day the right way.

Skipping meals may seem like a good decision in the moment, but the after-effects are too powerful to ignore. Even if breakfast is just a granola bar and orange juice, it’s better than nothing.

Email Laura Schmidt at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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