An Australian study suggests, eating a breakfast that includes cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meats may help protect teens from anxiety, depression and disobedience.
"It didn't matter what they added, just that they added something different like a banana to their cereal to make that meal more complete with vitamins and minerals," said lead researcher Therese O'Sullivan, from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth.
"From what we found, that makes a huge difference," she added.
The study that involved more than 800 students has found that a complex breakfast is directly linked to better mental health among teens irrespective of family income, the student's weight or exercise routine.
The research team analyzed the breakfast intake of 14-year-old girls and boys enlisted for the study over three days.
The team found that just one in four teens ate a high-quality breakfast that contained three or more of the five food groups, cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meats and alternatives like beans, nuts and eggs.
Students who ate a breakfast of greater variety from more food groups, scored higher on a child behavior checklist.
The team recorded an improvement in mood for every extra food type that the teen added for breakfast.
"The overwhelming number just ate from two groups, and too many have just one or none at all, so there is much room for improvement," Ms O'Sullivan said.
Breakfast has always been considered the most important meal in a day. Research has proved that the morning meal is of vital importance especially during pre-adulthood as young people are not able to store nutrients as effectively.
"The liver stores nutrients, but kids have a much smaller liver, so until they become fully grown they can't store nutrients as effectively," Ms O'Sullivan said.
The study will be presented at the national dieticians' conference on the Gold Coast this week.