AAP: Breakfast is good for your brain

AAP: Breakfast is good for your brain (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A new report says that the most important meal of the day may be more important than you think!

The new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics took a look at the growing body of evidence that says breakfast does even more for the brain than was previously thought.

For years, registered dietitians have told everyone that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

“I'm really excited now that there's some research to prove that eating breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day,” said Sheri Kanarek, a registered dietitian with St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

That research is now getting extra support from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which says the most important meal of the day may be even more important than everyone thought, especially for kids.

Not only does it fuel the day, but it also improves attention, memory, and well-being, and appears to lower the risk of obesity.

Kanerek says morning eating doesn't have to be big, but she suggests making sure you eat healthily.

“Including some protein, squeeze some fresh fruits in there then it's always a good thing,” said Kanerek.

The reason this meal appears to be so important for children and teens according to the AAP is that the brain uses more energy than any other organ in the body.

Breakfast accounts for half of an infant’s calories needed in a day and at least 20 percent of what older children and teens need.

Brain scans during prolonged periods without food, show activity mainly in the midbrain in areas associated with anxiety, agitation and irritability.

“You can do many things for breakfast, and even half a turkey sandwich if you are on the go and want to eat it in the car, it doesn't have to be breakfast foods,” said Kanerek.

What’s really interesting is that the AAP says that after kids eat, the frontal cortex is said to light up, and the amygdala activity quiets, making a child ready you learn.

How do you get into the breakfast habit?

“Prepare ahead. Make sure the night before you have thought it through and when you are rushing the next morning you have thought it through and can grab something quickly, plan ahead,” said Kanerek.

So quite often, what people describe as “hangry” is what teachers say gets kids distracted and irritable if they don’t have breakfast.

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