BLOG: As part of my March breakfast series I have discussed the role of breakfast in physical and mental health. Throughout the winter I have also posted several mood-enhancing tips for avoiding cabin fever. And now, it’s time to discuss how breakfast can also improve your emotional well-being!
Recent research indicates a link between breakfast consumption and improved emotional health. The nutrition we provide our bodies plays an important role in brain function; and because our moods and emotions are formed in the brain, they experience a strong connection to diet.
To explore this idea, look at the foods most often consumed in the morning: milk, eggs and cereal. The vitamins and minerals found in these foods are critical to mental and emotional well-being. For example, vitamin D, the most well studied nutrient for mood regulation, is found abundantly in milk and eggs. Aside from the sun, these common breakfast foods are two of the greatest dietary sources of vitamin D. Unfortunately, vitamins are extremely sensitive and lose much of their strength during long storage times. Local milk provided by Stewart’s is a great solution to this problem, as every carton is guaranteed fresh within 48 hours of leaving the farm! Stewart’s eggs are also fresh from a local farm, spending less time on the shelf and providing more vitamin D by the dozen!
Eggs and dairy products also provide low-fat sources of the nutrients required to make serotonin, a feel-good messenger in the brain. The body can also make serotonin from carbohydrates; explaining why some call carbohydrates, “comfort food.” However, refined carbohydrates can cause shifts in blood sugar that actually reverse the feel-good effects of serotonin. That said, whole grain breakfast cereals, or carbohydrate from low-fat dairy sources, may actually be better for mood enhancement than the instant satisfaction of a sugary donut.
If the prolonged cold weather has you down, stop into your neighborhood Stewart’s to pick up local eggs and dairy products that may help beat the last of your winter blues. And for me, if the extra servings of vitamin D and serotonin aren’t enough, the service and community at my local Stewart’s is enough to put a smile on my face any day!
-Christine Sloat, RD, RDN
About Christine: Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, with clinical training at Albany Medical Center. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.