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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Sheila

Breakfast is a perfect opportunity to increase levels of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients. Antioxidants help protect against free radicals and DNA damage. The antioxidant content of typical American breakfast foods, such as bacon, eggs, corn flakes with milk, Egg McMuffin, pancakes with maple syrup, and bagel with cream cheese, are generally low. To boost antioxidant levels, antioxidant-rich plant foods should be consumed at breakfast and throughout the day. For example, two hours after eating a bowl of corn flakes, antioxidant levels drop; however, adding a half-cup of blueberries helps prevent further oxidation.

Breakfast can also contribute to getting a third of the daily vitamin B12 requirement from fortified foods. B vitamins can reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is considered a strong, independent risk factor for the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Benefits of Oatmeal for Breakfast

Oatmeal is another beneficial breakfast food. Oats are reported to help lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar; boost the immune system; act with anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti- atherosclerosis properties; and may also be useful in controlling childhood asthma, and body weight. Oats, as well as other whole grains, have also been found to be protective against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common cause of liver disease in the United States. 

Benefits of Smoothies for Breakfast

Smoothies are a quick, portable, and delicious choice for breakfast. They can boost the quality and quantity of vegetable and fruit consumption and maximize nutrient absorption. A smoothie made of unsweetened soymilk, frozen blueberries, mango, ground flax-seeds and white tea leaves, and some gooseberry powder (amla), provides 1,500 units of antioxidant power.  A smoothie can be as filling consuming fruits and vegetables whole if it is sipped slowly over time rather than gulped down.

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