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Is it Really Bad to Skip Breakfasts? Some Scientists Say No

Is it Really Bad to Skip Breakfasts? Some Scientists Say No

It is commonly known that eating breakfast is important because it helps boost your metabolism. This early meal also helps you lose or maintain your weight by preventing cravings. There are many other benefits to eating breakfast, including enhanced memory, improved cholesterol levels, improved mood throughout the day, improved cognitive ability, and increased attention span. New research challenges the idea of breakfast. Before we explore these theories, let us look at the facts.

One research experiment regarding breakfast intake and weight maintenance was conducted by Monash University Gastroenterologist, Alex Hodge. Dr. Hodge looked at a group of 32 participants who had fatty liver disease. He directed them to fast between 8pm and midday. The research concluded that skipping breakfast could actually help to shed weight. The participants lost weight over the experiment’s 12-week period, reducing their waist circumference. There was also not a significant change in food intake throughout the day despite skipping out on the early morning meal.

Another 16-week research published in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, examined the effect of skipping breakfast for weight-loss in 309 unhealthy overweight and obese people aged between 20-65 years old. This conflicting research study found that skipping breakfast did not affect the study participants’ weight loss.

However, some researchers say that the conclusions from research studies should be interpreted with caution. You can already notice the stark discrepancy between the two mentioned experiments.

There are limitations in the research studies looking at breakfast effect, including the size of participants. There are also other control factors not accounted for, such as frequency and quality of other meals throughout the day. Nutrition research studies are often very challenging because of the difficulty controlling the participants other lifestyle habits (such as smoking and level of physical activity). They are often not 100% controlled intake studies.

Even though research shows that skipping breakfast does not affect weight, it is advised to not skip long term. Nutrients provided by eating breakfast are important for tackling the day. The experts advise us that breakfast should not be about weight maintenance, it should be about encouraging people to eat healthy. The hope is to form a habit for kick-starting our day with essential nutrients.

A healthy breakfast should include the following:

Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, and Melba toast.

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Lean protein. Examples include peanut butter, lean meat, poultry, fish, and hard-boiled eggs.

Low-fat dairy. Examples include milk, plain or lower sugar yogurts, and low-fat cheeses – such as cottage and natural cheeses.

Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100% real fruit juice without added sugar, as well as fruit and vegetable blended Smoothies. Make sure you choose low-sodium versions of beverages, though.

By following these guidelines, no matter how busy you are, you will soon see the effects of a quick healthy breakfast. This value should not be underestimated.

Here are some tips for fitting in breakfast on a tight schedule:

Cook ahead. Make breakfast the day or night before.

Prepare. You can also prepare any dry ingredients and any bowls or pans for use in the morning.

To-go. Make an easy to transport breakfast the night before. In the morning, you can just grab it and go.

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Sometimes you have the drive to eat right, but you just need some inspiration for what to eat. An apple is an apple, but about something more exciting?

Here are some examples of quick and healthy breakfast recipes:

Berry-nana Soy Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla soymilk

1 cup frozen blueberries, or frozen berry mix

1 banana, sliced

1 tablespoon soy protein powder

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1/2 cup ice cubes

1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Prep time: 3 minutes

Directions:

Puree all the ingredients in a blender on high, until smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Cereal Sundae

Ingredients:

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A bowl of fiber-rich bran flakes (about 1½ cups)

8 ounces of low-fat milk

¼ cup of nuts, or fresh/dried fruit , such as chopped pecans or blueberries.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients. Serve immediately and enjoy.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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