Brain boosting, nutrient-rich breakfast food can help you be more productive throughout your day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a time to get energized and ready to tackle the day ahead.
But what if you’re looking to improve your brain performance?
In this article, we’ll give you our best breakfast foods for boosting brain function and the science behind them.
Table of Contents
What is Brain Food?
According to Wikipedia, brain food can is defined as any food or beverage that helps improve memory and brain function.
The Journal of Neurology published the first scientific evidence where there may be a link between what we eat and how our brains works in the May 2005.
Researchers Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Stephanie Studenski, and their colleagues at the UCLA School of Medicine conducted a study on the health effects of nutrition on the brain.
The results showed “some nutrients may be important in promoting healthy brain function and preventing cognitive decline.”
Brain food is a snack or meal with a high nutritional value.
Brain food can be any food good for the brain, such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
They may also contain several other nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.
We often refer to brain food as superfoods because they contain many health benefits.
Why Brain Food Is So Important
The brain is the most critical organ in the body.
It’s what enables us to process sensory information and create memories.
If we don’t eat foods that help our brains function correctly, the quality of our lives and our health will suffer.
What happens to your brain when you’re hungry?
According to neuropsychologist Daniel Amen, when we’re hungry, our brains look for something to eat, making it hard for our brains to focus and learn.
It’s a well-known fact that eating your food can affect how you think, feel, and behave.
But why does brain food work? To answer, we have to start with the brain and how it functions.
There are three main areas of activity in the brain, the left, right, and center lobes.https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Know-Your-Brain
The left lobe is the side of the brain that controls your analytical ability and handles things like logic, language, and reasoning.
The right lobe is the side of the brain that controls your creative ability and handles things like imagination, fantasy, and intuition.
The center lobe is the area of the brain responsible for higher thinking, including long-term memory and planning.
When a brain is deprived of certain nutrients, the first thing to go is creativity and problem-solving ability.https://nutritionreview.org/2015/08/food-for-creativity-tyrosine-promotes-deeper-thinking-in-new-study/
Lack of brain nutrients is why many children with ADHD have a hard time focusing and learning—they’re not getting enough of the nutrients they need to fuel their brain’s creative and problem-solving centers.https://chadd.org/about-adhd/nutrition-and-adhd/
In addition, they may experience anxiety and depression stemming from brain nutrient deficiency.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/
The Science of Brain Food
Scientists have been uncovering the role of nutrition on our brain health, especially in relation to Alzheimer’s disease.
According to recent research published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, several nutrients play a significant role in the aging process and its connection to cognitive decline.https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2016.00240/full
The science behind brain food is pretty simple. “Eat for your brain,” the researchers say, which means you need to eat for your brain, not just your heart. “Eating for your brain” is a way to say, “Your brain needs more fuel to perform well, so make sure it has the right nutrients.”
List of Breakfast Brain Food and their Benefits
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it helps to provide us with the energy we need to start our day off right.
Breakfast foods should contain nutrients that are essential for brain health and performance.
A breakfast brain food can keep you mentally sharp and prevent the “morning blahs” from setting in.
Breakfast brain food should be nutritious, filling, and satisfying enough to hold you over until lunchtime, but light enough to avoid making you feel sluggish and tired throughout the rest of the day.
Some of these breakfast brain foods are protein rich, which will give you energy and help your body build muscle mass.
Others contain healthy fats and other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, essential for brain function.
Here’s a list of breakfast foods that are good for your brain:
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can consume.
They are full of vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy and active brain.https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/111/2
Did you know egg yolk is loaded with nutrients that promote healthy, vital brain function?
Eggs are loaded with vitamin D, which supports the growth of new nerve cells.
Vitamin B-12, found in eggs, helps produce dopamine, the chemical in the brain responsible for our feeling of happiness and pleasure.
The antioxidants in eggs also support a healthy immune system.
Eggs are a high-quality source of protein. They also provide all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and development, including lysine, necessary for tissue growth and repair.
Eggs also contain choline, which is essential for neurotransmitter function.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/
All Eggs are Not Created Equal
Organic is best. According to the Environmental Working Group, “Organic eggs are safer than those produced with chemical fertilizers or antibiotics, and provide more nutrients.”
They also have a longer shelf life. Eggs are a superfood. A study by Penn State University shows eggs can be part of a healthy diet as long as the eggs are pasture-raised.https://www.psu.edu/news/agricultural-sciences/story/research-shows-eggs-pastured-chickens-may-be-more-nutritious/
Organic eggs are more likely to contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and less likely to contain antibiotic residues.
Studies find that eggs from hens fed organic feed had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of saturated fat than eggs from hens fed non-organic feed.
This is because organic feed is comprised of grains and grasses.
It also contains essential nutrients not found in the grains used in the non-organic feed.
These are vitamins and minerals that are vital for the chickens’ health.
Also, organic chickens’ eggs are usually larger and weigh more than non-organic chickens produce.
As a result, the eggs organic chickens produce are more nutritious.
Nuts are high in a lot of good stuff, including fiber and folate.
These nutrients help keep the blood flowing through the brain, which improves thinking and memory, which is why they’re great for keeping your brain sharp, but they also contribute to the growth of new neurons.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105147/
This is important because studies have shown new neurons are needed to create new memories. The more you have, the better your memory.
A healthy diet of nuts can help you build strong mental connections.
In a recent study, researchers found people who ate a handful of walnuts a day had better cognitive function than those who did not.https://www.agedcareinsite.com.au/2021/07/a-handful-of-nuts-a-day-keeps-your-mind-healthy-in-old-age-research/
Nuts are rich sources of omega-3 fats and have high levels of antioxidants. These nutrients may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related disorders.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30084334/
In 2010, researchers at the University of Reading in England tested out a theory about which nuts are best for your brain.
They theorized eating nuts will keep you sharp and boost cognitive performance because walnuts contain arginine.
To test the theory, the researchers recruited a group of volunteers and had them either eat a handful of walnuts or a similar amount of almonds.
Afterward, the participants took tests designed to measure various kinds of cognitive abilities, such as memory and reaction time.
The results: Eating walnuts boosted cognition just as much as eating almonds. In fact, eating walnuts may even be more effective than eating almonds.
Berries can be an inexpensive way to boost memory.
Blueberries and strawberries are high in antioxidants that support brain health.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192974/
Other berries contain minerals boron, copper, and magnesium, which boost memory.
All fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients your body needs.
Studies show the importance of a variety of berries in the diet, including blueberries and strawberries.
Berries contain high amounts of anthocyanins, antioxidants proven to improve memory and help protect the brain from dementia.
A new study in The Journal of Neuroscience shows eating oatmeal, a food high in soluble fiber and low in sugar, may help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
According to the study, eating oatmeal two to four times per week for about a year had beneficial effects on memory and attention.
The study included people at least 70 years old and already diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.
Another study found people who eat oats regularly have a healthier lifestyle, have a stronger immune system, and are more intelligent than those who don’t.
A couple of years ago, scientists at the University of Minnesota, led by Dr. Eric Ravussin, published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They discovered the average person loses almost 4% of their brain mass every year.
That loss is linked to a poor diet. Oats are high in fiber, which helps keep the body healthy and protects the brain.
Fruit is nature’s perfect food. But it is also a key tool in improving cognitive function. The human brain is a complex organ, and its performance depends on a large number of processes operating simultaneously and in parallel.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found people who ate the most fruit and vegetables performed better on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.
In addition, the more fruit and vegetables people eat, the lower their risk of dementia later in life.
The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients found in fruits help the brain operate optimally.
Greek yogurt contains “acidic milk protein” (AMP), a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
The AMP means it can help reduce symptoms of various ailments, including brain inflammation.
A study at Harvard University’s Center for Brain Health found people with Alzheimer’s disease had lower levels of AMP in their blood than healthy adults did.
The researchers believe that the AMP could be an essential factor in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
We’ve heard of the many benefits of yogurt, and we’re sure you’ve read some of the research about its positive effects on health.
But did you know yogurt also has the potential to boost memory?
Recent studies have found the bacteria in Greek yogurt can help improve short-term memory, while probiotics in yogurt have been shown to reduce anxiety.
Coffee is a staple of every morning routine—and research shows it can have some surprising mental benefits.
But that’s not all! Researchers have also found caffeine helps fight off depression, anxiety, and stress—and it may even boost your mood when you need a pick-me-up.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-superhuman-mind/201709/how-does-coffee-help-alleviate-depression
Most people know caffeine is a stimulant that can give you energy and help you wake up.
It can also keep you alert and awake. Caffeine is a great way to beat the morning blues.
You can get the best energy from coffee because it contains caffeine and theobromine.
Theobromine is the compound in cacao that gives chocolate its color and flavor.
So, if you want to have a great day, drink coffee every morning.
Add This to Your Coffee For an Extra Cognitive Boost
MCT oil and grass-fed butter blended into your coffee positively influence brain function.
They contain a more significant proportion of medium-chain fatty acids, which are particularly suited for brain function.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4669977/
And when it comes to cognition, the brain loves getting its fat from the right sources.
The long-chain fatty acids found in conventional dairy are the source of inflammation in our bodies and contribute to increased cortisol levels (a stress hormone).
Conversely, the shorter chain fatty acids found in grass-fed butter and MCT oil reduce cortisol production, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and promote the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grass-fed-butter
What To Avoid
Eating less sugar and carbohydrates will benefit our brains and help us think more clearly. Carbs and sugar inhibit neurotransmitters production, making us feel sluggish and causing brain fog.
Try eating various breakfast brain food for optimal brain cognition benefits.