For decades, breakfast has been considered one of the fundamental meals of the day because it "wakes" kids up for the learning adventure and strengthens their intellectual capacity.
Experts recommend that breakfast constitute 25% of the energy and nutrients needed for the rest of the day. According to a study done by the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Science (SEDCA acronym in Spanish), making cereals and fruits a part of breakfast not only improves school performance, but also helps prevent child obesity.
In Spain last November, the Spanish Agency on Food Safety (AESA acronym in Spanish) launched a campaign called “Wake up, eat breakfast!” aimed at promoting the importance of the first meal of the day.
Following this tendency, new studies search for more correlations between good nutrition and school performance. A team from the University of Wales finds breakfast increases blood glucose levels while activating a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine which is linked to memory.
Researchers confirm that the substances slowing down the production of this neurotransmitter also lower the ability to remember new information. Vitamin B1, found in foods based on cereals such as whole wheat bread or enriched bread, is one of the main producers of acetylcholine.
On the other hand, research is being done on the positive influence omega 3 fatty acids have on learning in general, and especially their impact on improving school performance in kids with certain learning difficulties. Salmon, sardines, walnuts, and almonds are especially rich in these acids, and they're associated with having positive effects on the brain and sight, both with specific roles linked to learning.
At least four of the following products should appear on the breakfast table, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Cereals: bread, cereal, toast, crackers
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, or other simple dairy lactose
- Fruit or fruit juice
- Butter or margarine, jelly or honey
The Academy emphasizes that, in regards to teenagers, a poor breakfast usually creates a daily diet lacking in nutrients and high in fats.
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