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Lifestyle: Breakfast gives a good start!

November 16, 2012

You glance at the clock. It’s 7:25am and you’re already running late. So you dash into the kitchen, where a tray is set with a glass of milk, an egg and bananas. You ignore the tray of food, and grabbing a chocolate bar from the counter.

You hoist your bag onto your shoulder and run down the steps, yelling, "Bye Ma! I don’t have time for breakfast today!" The thin rectangular bar is all the food you have to sustain you until lunch. Filled with sugar, artificial flavors and preservatives, it's not a great start to the day, and guaranteed, it'll have your stomach growling in a few hours. And nobody wants to be scolded by a teacher who mistakes your groaning stomach for you talking in class!

But there’s a more important link between eating a healthy breakfast and another aspect of our lives, and that is, eating a wholesome breakfast can actually help to boost students’ performances in studies!

Most of us usually have weak, inadequate breakfasts or skip it entirely. But research has shown that skipping breakfast can interfere with cognition and learning. Certain foods contain neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that influence our moods and thoughts as well as facilitating communication between neurons in our brain. Nutrients in the food we consume, such as amino acids, help our body to produce these neurotransmitters. Let me introduce some of them.

Meet norepinephrin. He’s a little transmitter that our body makes from an acid found in milk, cheese, bananas and almonds. This little guy will not only help increase us concentration, alertness and motivation, but will also keep us in a great mood all day!

A close relative is serotonin. This charming neurotransmitter has a great gift: he will keep you as calm as he can for the day!

Serotonin plays a big role in brain activities such as learning and memory. So having plenty of serotonin in your body might just help you learn for that science test a little bit easier! You will definitely want to include plenty of this neurotransmitter in your meals, in foods like nuts, brown rice, eggs and spinach.

One last neurotransmitter I want to introduce you to is a proud little fellow called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is very important for processes like thoughts, memory and to maintain focus. And get this! acetylcholine helps facilitate muscle coordination! So if you’ve got a big match coming up in school, make sure this little guy makes regular appearances at your table in the form of eggs, a peanut butter sandwich, and nuts or seeds.

All these neurotransmitters I’ve introduced you to, have been proved to help facilitate performance in studies if eaten early in the morning before school.

In 1998, Harvard Medical School, along with Massachusetts General Hospital performed a study to prove this. The studies were conducted on 133 children, some had eaten a good breakfast and some who had not.

The study eventually concluded, based on their participation and performance, that a healthy breakfast helps children to improve test scores, their reading abilities, and, above all, to pay more attention and stay alert in class!

So be aware of all the benefits you can reap from eating a good breakfast in the morning! Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast, and watch your school performance get better and better each day!