Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for children and adults. Your mental fitness is highly dependent upon how well you eat, yet it is not unusual for children and adults to go 13-15 hours without food.
How do I derive these hours? Well, usually it is between eight and nine hours laps between supper and breakfast plus another five to six hours before lunch. That amounts to 13 or 15 hours without food.
Common sense tells us that it is unreasonable to expect anyone to feel well, learn or perform intricate tasks, or negotiate important deals when no fuel has been provided for the brain. Food is what petrol is to a motor vehicle. If a vehicle has no fuel, it will not run.
Something similar happens to the human brain. When the brain does not have fuel in form of glucose, it will not function properly.
Where does the fuel for the brain come from? From the food we eat of course.
Because the neurotransmitters (a substance that sends messages between nerves and cells including brain cells) that are responsible for all cell communication throughout your body and the brain are directly influenced by what you eat, to carry out this important work, the brain requires vast amounts of energy, more in fact, than any other organ in your body. Despite the fact that your brain makes up only two per cent of your total body weight, it uses almost 20% of your body’s oxygen intake.
Whether you are sleeping, reading, running, or attending a board meeting, or taking an exam, your brain requires a constant supply of fuel derived from oxygen and glucose (blood sugar) fed to it through your blood stream.
If you do not receive the nutrition you need at breakfast time to provide glucose to make energy, your brain is the first to suffer. This is true because unlike your liver and muscles that store energy for later retrieval, the brain has no energy storage capacity. If the glucose level in your blood drops low enough, your brain will draw it away from other organs. When this happens, at best, you will become light headed and find it difficult to concentrate.
At worst, symptoms such as aggressive or irritable feeling, loss of self-control, blurred vision and a reduction in thinking and reason ability are likely to occur.
Further more, according to research, children who do not eat breakfast perform poorly in tasks requiring concentration.
Their attention spans are shorter and they tend to achieve lower test scores than their well- fed pears.
Therefore, breakfast is critical to school performance for children and successful job performance for adults, yet not all children and adults start the day with adequate breakfast. For example some children and adults start the day with a cup of tea or coffee or watery maize porridge.
Beyond the obvious that if you are hungry you will not feel well, and if you do not feel well, you will not perform well. To function at optimal capacity, your brain needs a steady flow of energy, so do not leave home without eating breakfast.
Here are some simple breakfast foods that are also good for the brain:
· Maize porridge prepared with a little cooking oil, served with groundnut paste and a ripe banana.
· Avocado, left over peas or beans and rice or chapatti or mandazi.
· Roasted sweet potatoes or gonja (plantain) plus a glass of yogurt or milk and a ripe banana or any fruit of your choice.
· Eggs, whole wheat bread and paw paw or pineapple or water melon.
· Cheese sandwich and fresh fruit juice
· Groundnut paste sandwich, milk or fresh fruit juice, or any fruit of your choice.
· Left-over meat stew or fish stew and whole wheat bread, mandazi or chapatti and any fruit of your choice
Whenever you serve leftovers, make sure they are first thoroughly heated for about 20 minutes. This helps to kill germs that could cause serious food poisoning and infection.
While thinking about breakfast, it is an excellent idea to pack some sunflower or sim sim seeds or roasted soyabean for mid-morning break for you and your child.
Remember do not leave home without breakfast and have a wonderful day!