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Doing This Every Morning Can Increase Your Risk of a Heart Attack


Mom was right — breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. In fact, researchers in Madrid found that skipping breakfast could raise your risk of a heart attack.

In the study, people who didn’t eat in the morning were more than twice as likely to have atherosclerosis, a condition that narrows and hardens the arteries, which results in restricted blood flow to organs and tissues. It’s a major cause of heart attacks and strokes.

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Senior author Jose L. Peñalvo and his colleagues examined dietary data from more than 4,000 adults living in Spain who were between the age of 40 and 54. The team divided the participants into three groups based on the daily caloric intake of their morning meal: more than 20 percent, between 5 and 20 percent, and less than 5 percent.

A mere 3 percent of the adults fell into the last category, indicating they either skipped breakfast or had only coffee, juice or another beverage. Approximately 69 percent ate a small breakfast, such as toast or a pastry; while 28 percent ate a substantial meal.

Breakfast Skippers Had Higher Risk of Atherosclerosis

Eating a breakfast of less than 20 percent of the day’s calories was linked to several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The participants whose breakfast consisted of less than 5 percent of their daily caloric intake had a 2.5-times greater likelihood of general atherosclerosis, compared to those who ate the substantial breakfasts. (General atherosclerosis means their arteries had plaque in several locations.) Those who ate a light breakfast of between 5 and 20 percent had a 21-percent higher risk of damage in a major neck artery and a 17-percent higher risk of damage in a major abdominal artery.

In addition, the study revealed other health issues for breakfast skippers. On average, they had the largest body mass index and waist circumference, as well as the highest levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting glucose.

Link Remained Even After Results Adjusted for Lifestyle Factors

The findings showed a link rather than a cause-effect relationship. Participants who didn’t eat breakfast tended to have an unhealthy lifestyle that included smoking, drinking alcohol frequently and consuming poor diets. They also were more likely to be overweight. However, the link remained even after the results were adjusted for smoking, drinking, increased waist size and daily red meat consumption. According to the researchers, this suggested that skipping breakfast could, in fact, be a risk factor for atherosclerosis.

The editorial authors wrote that lifestyle changes that involve a focus on a nutritious, hearty breakfast can help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “Indeed, the wisdom of the ages that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been proven right in the light of emerging evidence,” they concluded.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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