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The best breakfast for your brain

18 June 2013

Want to know the best way to start your day? Rosie Brogan outlines which foods give your mind the biggest boost in the morning. (And no, it’s not coffee and toast.)

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It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and as much as I love my coffee in the morning I know the importance of a more healthy and balanced breakfast.

According to a Washington Post report on the latest info from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AAND), “Breakfast helps with brain function, attention span, concentration and energy. It can reduce irritability and tiredness.”

When you skip breakfast altogether, you’ll feel it via fuzziness.

“Skipping breakfast is a no-brainer, quite literally,” says the AAND.

A complete brainy breakfast contains these three components:

1. Lean protein
Protein helps you stay full for longer and stops you from overeating later in the day.

“Options include low-fat or fat-free milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt, egg whites or a handful of raw nuts,” says health education specialist, US-based Elaine Gordon.

There’s also convincing evidence that including protein in your brekky helps you lose weight.

As Purdue University in the US’s Dr Wayne Campbell told medical news portal Web MD: “Protein blunts your hunger the most and is the most satiating.”

2. Fibre-filled wholemeal carbohydrates
Try wholegrain bread or porridge – you can also add a handful of seeds (linseed and sunflower seeds, for instance) to your cereal or muesli.

3. Fresh fruits (or vegies)
“Opt for seasonal varieties. And don't just stop at fruit. Consider capsicum, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, avocado and potatoes,” says Gordon.

As the AADN adds: “Go with fresh fruit: bananas, kiwi, pears, apples, mangoes, melon, grapefruit or whatever’s in season. Canned options (pineapple or mandarin oranges) and frozen fruits (blueberries and strawberries) are great in yogurt parfaits. How about chopped vegetables in an omelette or a refreshing glass of vegetable juice?”


Is sugar bad for your brain?
A paper published in the Journal of Physiology investigating a link between a very high fructose diet and brain function, led to a widely reported story that ‘Sugar makes you stupid’. However, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) refutes the journal’s claim that high levels of sugar can impact on brain function – reporting that there’s insufficient evidence to support this argument- the study was done on rats, which were fed an amount of fructose equivalent to around 150 teaspoons of sugar per day in humans.

DAA advises: “Eat only moderate amounts of sugars, and limit those foods that are high in added sugar and low in nutrition – such as carbonated soft drinks, confectionary, cakes and biscuits.”

“For healthy brain functioning, DAA believes the focus needs to be on eating a wide variety of nutritious foods and taking part in regular physical activity.”


References available on request


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Comments

Len                           Len

Hi Gina
I have been going for walks in the morning and I have lost 3.5 Kg to date Have been watching my diet more than ever I have a lot more energy is it better to walk before eating or after
Regards Len
, posted on 13 December 2013. Report Abuse

Thanks Gina
I will give your advise a go. will keep in touch on my results.

Regards Len
, posted on 28 November 2013. Report Abuse

Gina                          Gina

Hi Len,
Thanks for your post ! We hope you found the above information helpful. A good breakfast option could be water on rising to hydrate the organs and so improve metabolism, followed by a protein shake made on coconut water or milk of choice and berries. You want a low GI diet to help with weight-loss. There are many protein shakes on the market with different bases, eg rice, whey, pea, soy. It’s always good idea to do a 30 min walk in the morning to kick-start fat burning. Please contact the Naturopaths at Blackmores on 1800 803 760 or via email on advice@blackmores.com.au, so we can assist you on a more individual basis. Kind regards, Gina (Blackmores Naturopath)
, posted on 27 November 2013. Report Abuse

Len                           Len

I am trying to find out what would be a good breakfast to start the day I am trying to loose 5Kg it does not sound much but it is harder to loose than you think. I am open to any suggestions , posted on 25 November 2013. Report Abuse

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