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