Small but Hungry
Our brain is small, but it is a hungry organ. The brain consumes more glucose than any other organ. It takes a fifth of all the blood pumped by the heart.
The metabolic rate in the brain increases when we wake up, and the brain needs a fresh supply of glucose, which is a type of sugar.
Breakfast for a Fussy Eater
Breakfast is the most important meal for a young child, but it is not simply a matter of getting some calories down.
- The brain needs good food, and the more balanced the breakfast, the better the brain works.
- By encouraging your children to eat breakfast you ensure that nutrients travel to the hungry brain.
Sugar and Sugar
- The right food may enhance mental performance – improve concentration, memory, motivation, and even prevent brain aging.
- Breakfast eaters are likely to achieve higher grades, they will think faster and clearer. But there are always exceptions!
- The brain uses glucose as its main fuel.
- The brain has no energy storage capacity, so it depends on the bloodstream to deliver a constant supply of glucose.
- If the glucose level in the blood drops below requirements, the brain will take fuel from other organs.
Tired and Irritable
- If a child does not refuel the body in the morning, after an overnight fast, the child has to draw fuel from other organs until lunchtime.
- The body has to work hard to break down stored carbohydrates, or even turn fat or protein into something that the brain can use.
- The child may feel irritable, tired, and unable to learn or behave well.
- The first meal of the day should be a nutritious breakfast rich in protein and carbohydrates.
- Protein will stimulate the brain and prepare it for learning, and brain-friendly carbohydrates will most likely induce relaxation.
What to eat
- The ingredients in the food are used by the brain to manufacture its own chemicals.
- The brain is a carbo-craver but it is fussy about the type of sugars it wants and how it processes them
- Carbohydrates can be ranked according to how quickly they are absorbed into our bodies and converted to fuel – “glycaemia index” (GI) of a particular food.
- Eating low GI foods means that the blood glucose level rises and falls gradually.
Oh, I love Carbo
- Oatmeal has a low GI index and is absorbed slowly, compared to a sugary cereal with the same number of carbohydrates, but with a higher GI index.
- The sugary cereal will give a peak in blood sugar level and a dramatic fall, whereas the oatmeal will provide energy to last through the morning.
- Whole meal bread and fruit are also good to eat for breakfast because in most cases the GI index is low.
Yummy Yoghurt with Proteins
- To boast brain the child should also eat protein, which stabilizes the blood sugar level and makes the child less drowsy. Protein also contains amino acids such as tyrosine, which increases brain alertness and the production of dopamine – the ‘feel good’ chemical.
- Tyrosine is found in for example, yoghurt, eggs, meats, cheese, nuts, and soy products.
And no, you cannot force a child to eat breakfast. You can only encourage children. Try to eat a delicious brainy breakfast yourself together with your child.And if that does not work, give them healthy snack to eat later.
Photo: Happy Kid Drinking Glass Of Milk by photostock