Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's for Breakfast?

Starting the day with a breakfast designed to release glucose slowly into the blood stream can often go a long way toward improving alertness and concentration throughout the day.  Unfortunately, our children’s modern breakfast foods often include large amounts of processed (simple) carbohydrates (sugar, enriched flour, white flour) and not much protein and good fats.  Simple carbohydrates quickly elevate blood sugar levels causing a temporary “feel good” response which is followed shortly by a crash, as all the energy (glucose) is drained from the brain.  This crash often results in mid-morning lack of concentration, mood swings, and carbohydrate cravings.  The craving is a response to low blood sugar, but if the glucose levels are again spiked by a mid-morning sweet snack the result can be a vicious cycle of ups and downs.  This short youtube video provides an easy to understand and humorous explanation of how this cycle of blood sugar "highs" and lows effects our bodies.

While a sufficient amount of protein is essential throughout the day, it is particularly important after our bodies have fasted throughout the night making us especially susceptible to glucose spikes.   In order to provide the brain with a steady supply of energy, breakfast can include a protein combined with a complex carbohydrate (whole grains, legumes, vegetables).  Complex carbohydrates releases glucose slowly and protein allows the brain to use it for energy. Protein can not be adequately utilized without dietary fats, which is why protein and fats are naturally found together in eggs, milk, fish, and meat. Some healthy fats that can be included with breakfast are butter, coconut oil, olive oil and fats from grassfed animals.

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