Breakfast for brains

A complex breakfast can keep children mentally healthy

Parents, please note, just by adding a piece of an apple or a glass of hot milk to your children’s breakfast, you could protect them from depression, anxiety and disobedience, a new study has claimed. A team at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth has carried out a study of more than 800 students and found that a complex breakfast is directly linked to better mental health in children.

According to lead researcher Therese O’Sullivan, this may be because mental functioning is actually affected by the absorption of a variety of nutrients. Cereal and milk in particular supply calcium, iron and B vitamins that assist neurotransmitters, chemicals needed to transfer information in the nervous systems. that are directly responsible for behaviour and mood. For their study, the researchers enlisted over 800 14-year-old girls and boys and analysed their breakfast intake over three days.

They found that just one in four teens ate a high quality breakfast containing three or more of the five food groups, cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meats and alternatives like beans, nuts and eggs.

Those who ate from more food groups for their morning meal scored higher on a child behaviour checklist, with an improvement in mood seen for every extra food type added, the study revealed.

It didn’t matter what they added, just that they added something different like a banana to their cereal to make that meal more complete with vitamins and minerals.

From what we found, that makes a huge difference. “For every additional food group added the mental health status improved markedly across the sample,” The Age quoted O’Sullivan as saying.


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