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The #1 Best Breakfast to Keep Your Brain Sharp, Says Dietitian

This easy breakfast is great for your noggin!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we have all heard the saying before but is it really true? The answer to this age-old question is yes, breakfast can have a profound effect on our current and future well-being. Not only has breakfast been associated with a lower risk of weight gain but it is also associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

In addition, it has been shown that the circadian rhythm and timing of meals have an important role in how food is digested, absorbed, and utilized in the body. So, if we know breakfast is generally a wise choice, how can our breakfast options positively affect brain function?

Breakfast is the first meal to come after being in a fasting state during sleep. Upon waking our blood sugar is low, which can automatically have an effect on cognition. You might have experienced this yourself: you wake up, fly out the door for work without eating, get to your desk, and feel fuzzy about what tasks you should be doing. Eating breakfast is the first opportunity of the day to feed your brain and set the rhythm of your blood sugar curve.

An ideal breakfast for optimal blood sugar control and peak cognitive performance is one that includes protein, healthy fats, fiber, and some sort of produce. So, eating a balanced breakfast may help set your day in the right direction, but what about keeping your brain sharp in the long term?

One of the best breakfasts you can enjoy to keep your brain sharp is a breakfast that includes multiple food categories from the Mediterranean diet. Chia seed pudding with berries is a brain-boosting breakfast that will not only nourish your noggin but keep you full for hours. Chia seeds are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant-based iron and calcium. Whisking chia with non-dairy milk like cashew milk and cinnamon makes for a nutrient-rich base.

For toppings, adding a cup of berries will provide potent antioxidants and additional nutrients. You can then add in additional toppings such as slivered almonds and raw cacao for even more powerful plant compounds and healthy fats.

Research indicates that following a diet closely aligned with a Mediterranean-style diet is ideal for maintaining optimal brain functioning. Although more research is needed to determine whether this diet will prevent or delay cognitive disorders like dementia, studies suggest that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with slower cognitive decline.

For those wondering what a Mediterranean-style diet entails, it includes prioritizing fruits and vegetables, seafood, healthy fats from olives, nuts and seeds, legumes, herbs, and spices. The diet also encourages individuals to eat dairy and poultry in moderation and limit processed foods, added sugars, and red meat.

Start today with this Customizable Overnight Chia Pudding Recipe!

Sydney Greene, MS, RD
Sydney Greene is a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition for addiction recovery, disordered eating, and body image, as well as chronic digestive issues. Read more about Sydney