Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, at least that’s what our parents always told us. But how do we know which breakfast dish suits us best? Whether it’s too much sugar or too little nutrients, many breakfast options depend on nutritional myths. And these myths can do more harm than good when it comes to your morning meal.
We met with the molecular nutritionist Dr. Emma Beckett, who shattered some great breakfast myths that could keep you from maximizing your morning goodness.
Here’s what she shared with us about breakfast myths.
Myth # 1: Traditional breakfast food is bad for you
The truth: “Some high-carb foods like whole grain bread and breakfast cereals contain fiber that helps us feel fuller …”
For those who have busy mornings to complete endless chores, or even those who don’t bother making gourmet meals every morning, granola is the top choice. It’s simple, convenient, and tastes damn good.
The best thing about grain, according to Dr. Beckett that it’s a great way to make sure we’re getting tons of nutrients in the morning. Packed with iron, B vitamins and fiber, muesli is a better breakfast choice than you might think.
Dr. Beckett even gave us some great tips on how to spice up your morning cereal bowl too:
“Grains go well with other nutritious breakfast foods like Greek yogurt and nuts, which are sources of protein. Protein is essential in the diet as it is the most filling macronutrient that can help reduce grazing habits throughout the day, ”she said via email.
If you’re not sure which cereal brand is good to grab, Beckett suggested going for Kellogg’s All Bran or Sultana Bran because they are “high in fiber and have a 4.5 or even the maximum rating of 5 health stars . Grains like this have been a popular choice for nearly 100 years. “
Who would have thought cereal was so good?
Myth # 2: Processed = Bad?
The truth: “Most foods have to undergo processing in order to be edible and digestible – processing is a broad term that encompasses cooking, slicing and packaging.”
Many of us have been afraid to buy something marked as processed, but it is actually an important step for most foods. Processing sometimes has more to do with preserving the food and avoiding waste than with nutritional value.
Dr. Beckett explained, “Key nutrients like protein are not necessarily lost in processing; they can sometimes be retained or made more accessible through processing. Others like B vitamins and iron can be added back when they are lost in a process called fortification. “
In fact, the common breakfast suspects like cereal and bread are often fortified with added nutrients and processed because they are affordable, accessible, long-lasting, and popular. This just makes it easier for us to make sure we are adding the right substances to our bodies to start the day.
However, this does not mean that the all-clear will be given for all processed foods. Dr. Beckett notes that it is still important to consider how much a food has been processed, with products that have been ultra-processed being consumed in moderation.
Myth # 3: Eating healthy is expensive
The truth: “According to a recently published Australian model-based study, it is possible to improve the Australian diet while spending less money on groceries by choosing inexpensive, nutritious foods, improving nutritional quality and potentially reducing a family’s food bills by over 25 Percent. “
A common misconception about healthy eating is that our wallets are pinched and products need to be consumed quickly. Surprisingly, there are actually tons of healthy food options that are relatively cheap for what you get out of them and don’t spoil as quickly. Foods like whole grain bread and cereal are actually pretty budget-friendly and last a relatively long time.
One twist I wasn’t prepared for is that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as they are fresh (as long as they’re not in syrup). If you’re worried about that bunch of bananas you bought and you won’t finish before they go, toss them in the freezer! They last longer and do not lose any health properties.
“When you do your research and shop, healthy eating really doesn’t have to be as expensive as it may seem!”
Myth # 4: Breakfast cereals are too sugary and have no nutritional value
The truth: “Australian data has shown that grains make up less than 3% of the added sugar in the average diet. Many cereals contain whole grains and fiber that many people cannot get enough of. “
According to Dr. Beckett, many breakfast cereals are “full of vital vitamins and minerals that are important for health and well-being and the most important source of iron in the Australian diet, especially for children.”
Obviously, muesli’s sugar content varies, with some sweeter ones available if that’s your cup of tea (or should I say your bowl of muesli), but most are moderately sweetened and many are sweetened by added fruits that contain natural sugars.
“For example, half of Kellogg’s 55 cereals contain 2 or less teaspoons of sugar per bowl. By updating the recipes, over 700 tons of sugar and 300 tons of salt were removed from the Australian diet – that’s the weight of about seven blue whales! “
Myth # 5: If it’s not whole grain, it doesn’t contain fiber
The truth: “While whole grain foods contain fiber, not all fiber-containing foods contain whole grains.”
How’s that for a mind-bender?
If you’re like me, fiber is confusing and I’m not sure what it is or where to find it. Fortunately, Dr. Beckett broken it down for us.
“Fibers are in the outer part of the grain, the bran. The bran can be removed from the grain and used in food, ”she explained.
This means that foods made with bran aren’t always whole grains, but they do contain a lot of fiber.
According to Dr. Beckett, I’m not the only one confused about fiber. Two in three Aussies fail to meet their daily fiber goals. What’s worse is that four in five Australians don’t eat enough fiber to protect themselves from chronic illness. Yikes
“For most of us, adequate fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams per day. That might sound hard, but getting your daily dose is really easy when you’re eating high-fiber options like high-fiber breakfast cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, “she said.
Dr. Beckett then explained that not all whole grains were made equal (in the fiber department):
“Did you know that different whole grains have different amounts and types of fiber,” she said.
“For example, whole grain brown rice and corn both naturally have less fiber compared to other whole grain products like whole wheat and oats, which have higher amounts of fiber.”
The interesting thing, however, is that just one whole grain contains less fiber, doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial – it is!
Whole grains are exactly what they sound like – it’s whole whole grains. Fiber is only one component of whole grains, and all of the components work together to provide health benefits.
The more you know!
Can It Help You Lose Weight? – Cleveland Clinic
What do you think of when you think of Chia? Maybe it’s pudding, or maybe it’s quirky houseplants. For some TikTokkers, it’s breakfast. They started putting these tiny seeds in water and drinking them to satisfy their hunger – or so they say.
The Cleveland Clinic is a not for profit academic medical center. Advertising on our website helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. politics
Is there any truth to this trick? Registered nutritionist Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD explains the science behind the seeds, including whether to try or toss this trend.
The benefits of chia seed water
Chia seeds are incredibly healthy, a source of fiber, protein, and various nutrients. They’re also whole grains, low-carb, and low-calorie, with only about 100 calories per ounce.
They come from Salvia hispanica, a purple-flowered plant of the mint family that grows in Mexico and Guatemala. And although the seeds themselves are tiny – much like poppy seeds – they are quite high in nutritional value. You are loaded with:
- Antioxidants: These substances protect you from free radicals that contribute to cancer and various diseases and can affect the aging of your body.
- Fiber: Chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, which is vital to gut health and will help you feel full longer. (More on that in a moment!)
- Protein: Protein is sometimes referred to as the “building blocks” of your body and is vital to the health of your muscles, skin, bones, and more. It is also the key to losing weight and building muscle, along with other health benefits.
And that’s not all. “Chia seeds are considered a superfood,” says Czerwony. “They have some nice vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc – although honestly not that many people have these deficiencies.”
Can Chia Water Really Help You Lose Weight?
Chia seed water is exactly what it sounds like: a spoonful of chia seeds falls into a glass of water. But why?
Chia seeds can take up 12 times their own weight. When they get wet, they swell and take on a gelatinous texture – which is a polite way of saying they get pretty slimy. Think tapioca, but less flavorful.
The idea behind drinking chia seed water is that the wet seeds will enlarge and take up space in your stomach so you won’t get hungry. This, in turn, can make you feel less hungry and ultimately help you lose weight.
So does it work? In a word, yes. Kind of.
“The chia seeds mix with the water and your gastric juices and they expand in the stomach,” confirms Czerwony. “It keeps you full longer because it takes up space and all of that soluble fiber slows digestion.”
When your digestion slows, your body releases blood sugar more slowly, preventing the peaks and troughs in blood sugar that cause increased appetite (also known as “hangry”).
The risks of chia seed water
But Czerwony warns against going overboard with the chia seed water. While it’s okay to do something every now and then to stave off the late craving for snacks, it shouldn’t be viewed as a key method of weight loss.
For starters, eating chia seeds isn’t an alternative to a healthy diet – just a handy trick that can be used occasionally. And if you swallow a lot of fiber, make sure you swallow plenty of water too, or you could end up with quite uncomfortable digestive problems, including constipation, gas, and gas.
“Too much of a good thing is too much,” says Czerwony. “If you eat a lot of fiber and don’t drink enough fluids, the chia seeds begin to absorb the fluid in your intestines and cause hard bowel movements.”
How to make chia seed water
Czerwony recommends adding a tablespoon or two of chia seeds to a glass with 2 to 10 ounces of water. If you’ve never consumed the seeds, you may want to start with a smaller amount to see how your body can handle them.
And while you might want to soak the seeds in water for a few minutes before consuming the concoction, don’t wait too long. “You have to drink it pretty quickly to get it down before it sets,” advises Czerwony.
The texture of chia seed water can be a little off-putting to say the least, so flavor yours with lemon, lime, or whatever else makes it tastier.
Alternatives to chia seed water
Not excited about swallowing gelatinous goop? Chia seed water isn’t the only way to get some fiber without overdoing calories.
“Chia seed water is all the rage right now, but it doesn’t do anything to your body that you can’t get from other sources of fiber,” says Czerwony. They get the same effects from a large salad or bowl of healthy oatmeal that will keep you full longer than foods that are low in fiber.
However, if chia is sold for sale, you can still enjoy the benefits of chia seeds without drinking them in water. Here are just a few other forms that you can enjoy them in.
The 7 Best Brain-Friendly Breakfast Foods
ANDYou already know you should be eating breakfast every day – and that doesn’t mean ordering an oat milk latte and calling it good. Listen to us: When you feed your body the right nutrition every morning, it’s not just about filling up your energy tank. Eating a quality, nutritious breakfast will actually help you perform better at work (and play) and improve your overall brain health, according to research. “Emphasizing the words ‘high quality’ and ‘nutrient-rich’ is key,” said Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, author of the Family Immunity Cookbook.
For example, a study published in the journal Nutrients in April 2021 found that teenagers who ate a nutritious breakfast had better cognitive performance in school than those who didn’t. A small 2016 study in Neuroscience & Medicine showed that certain areas of the brain experience significantly higher levels of activation when young adult participants eat a nutritionally balanced breakfast versus a sugar-filled breakfast. And a 2019 study published in the Journal of Psychophysiology concluded that skipping breakfast can negatively affect short-term cognition, particularly disrupting the attention process (i.e., the ability to pay attention).
If that’s not convincing enough, get it from a registered dietitian: Amidor says eating breakfast daily should be “top priority”. (Not to mention the fact that having breakfast can also improve your mood and emotional well-being.)
While there’s no official time you should have breakfast, Amidor recommends eating within an hour of waking up, even if it’s small – like a fruit yogurt or a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter. “You don’t need a complicated breakfast, but it should have multiple food groups of nutritious foods,” she adds.
Remember, however, that eating for optimal brain health and cognitive function is not just related to your morning meal. “It’s becoming more and more about the overall pattern of what you eat and drink in a day, in a week, and so on, versus each individual food item,” said Maggie Moon, MS, RD, author of The MIND Diet.
However, there are some breakfast foods that are better than others when it comes to targeted boosting cognitive function and overall brain health. Read on for top recommendations from two nutritionists for brain-friendly breakfast foods.
The 7 best brain-friendly breakfast foods according to the RDs
Fancy some smoked salmon when you wake up? Ooh, you send. But you’re in luck – this fish provides tons of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, says Amidor. Salmon is an excellent breakfast choice, especially because DHA makes up a significant portion of the fat in your brain and is therefore critical to brain development, she adds. Research shows that DHA, either alone or in combination with EPA, contributes to improved memory function in older adults. Amidor recommends topping a slice of seedless rye bread with whipped cream cheese and an ounce of smoked salmon and sliced vegetables, or integrating smoked salmon and vegetables into an omelette. You can also try smoked salmon on a mushroom bagel or Better Bagel, or add it to a salad for the best brunch at home.
Speaking of omelets … as it turns out, the humble egg is also one of the best brain-friendly foods out there. “Easy to cook but to make things more decadent, an egg contains both choline and lutein, two vital nutrients that help the brain develop in our early years and then protect it from cognitive decline in mid-life “Says Moon, citing a 2018 report on the benefits of egg cells published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Learn seven ways to eat eggs without scrambled eggs. Tired of dirtying a pan? Microwave pre-made egg bites like Appleton’s Market Power Veggie Bites for the next best option.
Eggs are so nutritious that this nutritionist actually calls them nature’s multivitamin:
We get it – another dietitian who recommends oatmeal for breakfast comes as no big surprise. However, there’s a reason oats are so popular with nutritionists: as whole grains, they have been linked to improved cognitive functions like better reading comprehension and improved fluency in speech. Moon says she prefers steel cut oats, which are closer to the whole-food form of oats and have a comfortably chewy texture.
In a hurry in the morning? Try packaged, high-protein oatmeal (without all the added sugar) like mush or oats overnight.
Incorporating a pinch of this yellow spice into the first meal of your day can improve your brain health. It contains a chemical called curcumin that has been shown to have memory and cognitive benefits in both healthy adults and those with Alzheimer’s disease. Try this breakfast smoothie recipe from Amidor: puree the carrots, orange juice, cinnamon and natural Greek yogurt in a high-performance mixer and then sprinkle with turmeric. Or try oatmeal with a handful of turmeric-containing trail mixes like Toodaloo for crunch and brain benefits.
Who doesn’t love fresh berries for breakfast? A simple morning meal of plain Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and chopped almonds is a brain-boosting start to the day, says Amidor. A review in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that anthocyanins, the pigment in berries that give them their rich color, can help protect your brain cells from oxidation and help promote communication between brain neurons. (By the way, pomegranate is another fruit that is amazing for brain health.)
If you can’t get your hands on fresh ingredients, Sow Good Freeze Dried Fruits can be stocked up with the same diet and no additional ingredients. Freeze-dried fruits can also be a life-saving snack for travelers.
Hallelujah! You’d better believe coffee makes the list (but be careful: drinking too much has the opposite effect). Research suggests that having a cup of joe (black) in the morning improves reaction time, improves alertness, and helps us think more clearly. According to Moon, this may be due to the combination of caffeine and antioxidants, as well as the coffee’s ability to improve the brain’s functional connectivity, which is how well different regions of the brain communicate with each other to get tasks done.
Skip the cafe and make yourself at home. Brands like Explorer Cold Brew Co. and Copper Cow Coffee make it more interesting and easier to be your own barista.
OK, so this is absolutely not a food – but hydration with H20 is crucial when you wake up to start your day and your mind. “We call it ‘brain water’ in our home because it’s so important to brain health,” says Moon. Our brains are nearly 75 percent water, which means that even mild dehydration can affect cognitive performance and negatively affect your mood as well.
Really in a time constraint? In a pinch, grab a protein bar specially formulated with nutrients to promote brain health, like Mindright or Mosh.
Oh hello! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts on cutting-edge wellness brands, and exclusive Well + Good content. Register with Well +, our online community of wellness insiders, and activate your rewards immediately.
Our editors select these products independently. Well + Good can earn a commission when you shop through our links.
‘MIND’ diet may protect against cognitive decline
Share on PinterestIn people with Alzheimer’s disease, following the MIND diet can help slow cognitive decline. WP Simon / Getty Images
- Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related diseases that cause cognitive decline have been linked to pathological changes in the brain, including an unusual build-up of protein deposits.
- Although the extent of these brain pathologies has been linked to cognitive impairment, some individuals with brain pathologies maintain healthy cognitive function.
- A recent study suggests that following the MIND diet, a diet used to improve brain health, may slow cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
- The study found that the association between following the MIND diet and better cognitive health was independent of the pathological conditions of the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Approximately 1 in 9 adults over the age of 65 in the United States currently has this condition.
Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the unusual buildup of protein deposits called beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain.
These protein deposits are believed to be responsible for the damage to brain cells and, consequently, for the impairment of cognitive function observed in Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, not everyone with high levels of these brain pathologies or markers for Alzheimer’s disease will experience cognitive decline. This ability to maintain normal cognitive function in the presence of brain disease is known as cognitive resilience.
In addition, older adults 65 and older who engage in physical activity and activities that provide mental stimulation are likely to have better cognitive performance regardless of their level of Alzheimer’s-related brain pathologies.
Although some recently investigated drugs for Alzheimer’s disease can reduce the levels of beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, the interventions investigated to date by scientists have shown limited success in slowing the decline in cognitive function.
This underscores the importance of identifying lifestyle factors that can slow the progression of cognitive decline regardless of changes in Alzheimer’s disease-related brain pathologies.
Some studies suggest that the Diet with Dieting Methods to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean Diet can improve cognitive function. Based on these studies, the two diets were combined into a hybrid MIND diet specifically designed to improve brain health.
The MIND diet emphasizes the consumption of green leafy greens, other vegetables, berries, legumes, fish, nuts, and whole grains while restricting the consumption of butter, cheese, and red meat.
Previous studies have shown that the MIND diet can slow age-related cognitive decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Recently, researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago investigated the ability of the MIND diet to improve cognitive function in older adults regardless of the pathological level of the brain.
Summing up the research results, the first study author Dr. Klodian Dhana, Ph.D., told Medical News Today, “We found that a higher MIND diet score is associated with better cognitive function regardless of Alzheimer’s disease and other common age-related brain pathologies, suggesting that following the MIND diet can strengthen cognitive resilience in older adults. “
Understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of diet and other lifestyle factors on cognitive function could help researchers develop new treatments to slow cognitive decline.
Given the presence of brain pathologies in a significant number of older adults and the lack of treatments that can slow cognitive decline, such treatments could be immensely useful.
The study results appear in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The new study analyzed data collected by the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP) from 569 deceased people. The Rush MAP is a longitudinal study of adults over 65 years of age with the aim of identifying environmental and genetic factors associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Rush MAP conducts annual assessments to assess cognitive health, lifestyle, and risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study also performs post-mortem analyzes of brains donated by participants to assess changes related to Alzheimer’s disease.
In the new study, researchers used a questionnaire to calculate the MIND diet score based on how often the study participants consumed foods that were considered healthy or unhealthy according to the MIND diet.
The researchers had access to data from comprehensive cognitive tests carried out shortly before the participants died. After a participant died, the team performed a post-mortem analysis to identify brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions known to lead to age-related cognitive decline.
About a third of the study participants had a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease prior to their death. However, the researchers were able to identify Alzheimer’s disease in two-thirds of the participants based on the high levels of brain pathologies revealed in the post-mortem analyzes.
The researchers found a positive correlation between the MIND diet score and cognitive function before the participants died. In addition, the MIND diet score was associated with a slower decline in cognitive function with age.
Notably, the association between the MIND diet score and cognitive function was independent of the extent of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain pathologies.
Similarly, the level of brain pathologies associated with other disorders did not affect the association between the MIND diet score and cognitive function.
These results were based on participants’ self-reports of their eating habits during the annual assessments. To minimize the possibility of these reports being inaccurate due to cognitive impairment, the researchers re-analyzed the data after excluding people with mild cognitive impairment at the beginning of the data collection.
The relationship between the MIND diet and cognitive function persisted even after the analysis was restricted to people without mild cognitive impairment.
The researchers observed similar results when the analysis only included people with high levels of Alzheimer’s-related brain pathologies. This further suggests that the association between the MIND diet score and cognitive function was independent of the extent of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain pathologies.
Taken together, these results indicate that the potential effects of diet on cognitive function are unlikely to be mediated by modifying the extent of brain pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.
“The [strengths] of the studies [include] high quality assessment of nutrition and cognition and availability of neuropathological data, ”said Dr. Dhana.
Similarly, Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University in New York City:
“This is a pretty important study as it hasn’t looked at the relationship between diet and brain neuropathology. Very few, if any, studies have information on both ends: dietary habits and cognition throughout life, and measurements of brain changes through autopsies. “
Dr. Scarmeas was not involved in the latest study.
The study authors also note that the investigation had some limitations. For example, they acknowledge that the nutritional information may be inaccurate because it was self-reported. To address the potential inaccuracies in the nutrition reports, the researchers averaged the MIND diet score from reviews over several years.
“The caveat is the generalizability of the results as this study was conducted on older white volunteers,” added Dr. Dhana added.
Regarding future research directions, Dr. Dhana: “I think it is of great scientific interest to identify other changeable lifestyle factors that are independent of [Alzheimer’s disease] Pathology and other common brain pathologies. “
Can It Help You Lose Weight? – Cleveland Clinic
The 7 Best Brain-Friendly Breakfast Foods
New Study Claims The MIND Diet Can Help Prevent This Common Aging Problem
Is Pasta Bad for You? A Registered Dietitian Explains
Wheat Bread Vs. White Bread: Which Is Healthier?
A dietitian’s guide to the ideal office lunch
Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta4 months ago
Is Pasta Bad for You? A Registered Dietitian Explains
Whole Grain Benefits4 months ago
Wheat Bread Vs. White Bread: Which Is Healthier?
Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients4 months ago
A dietitian’s guide to the ideal office lunch
Whole Grain Benefits3 months ago
This Diet Has Been Linked to Sudden Cardiac Death, Study Shows
Whole Grains Health5 months ago
Hot Lemon Water Before Bed: Benefits, Risks, and Nutrition
Whole Grain Benefits5 months ago
What is the best bread for acid reflux?
Whole Grains Health5 months ago
What Are Postbiotics? Types, Benefits, and Downsides
Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta5 months ago
What’s new in the dairy aisles in May