- Pregnancy & Childbirth
- Attachment Parenting
- Family Nutrition
- Family Wellness
Breakfast science. "Breakfast" means just that: break the overnight fast. Eating breakfast allows you to restock the energy stores that have been depleted overnight and begin the day with a tank full of the right fuel. Sending yourself to work or your child to school without breakfast is like trying to use a cordless power tool without ever recharging the battery. If you don't refuel your child's body in the morning after an overnight fast, the child has to draw fuel from its own energy stores until lunchtime. The stress hormones necessary to mobilize these energy reserves may leave the child feeling irritable, tired, and unable to learn or behave well. If you want your child to rise and shine rather than limp along sluggishly at school all morning, make sure your child's day gets off to a nutritious start.
Throughout the brain, biochemical messengers called neurotransmitters help the brain make the right connections. Food influences how these neurotransmitters operate. The more balanced the breakfast, the more balanced the brain function. There are two types of proteins that affect neurotransmitters: 1) neurostimulants, such as proteins containing tyrosine, affecting the alertness transmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, and 2) calming proteins that contain tryptophan, which relaxes the brain. A breakfast with the right balance of both stimulating and calming foods starts the child off with a brain that is primed to learn and emotions prepared to behave. Eating complex carbohydrates along with proteins helps to usher the amino acids from these proteins into the brain, so that the neurotransmitters can work better.
Complex carbohydrates and proteins act like biochemical partners for enhancing learning and behavior. This biochemical principle is called "synergy,"meaning that the combination of two nutrients works better than each one singly, sort of like 1 + 1 = 3.
Breakfast research. If your hectic household has a morning rush hour like the one in our home, you may feel that you don't have time for a healthy breakfast. But consider what studies have shown: