08 July, 2011
The Best Brain Food for Breakfast
The foods you eat influence your brain's ability to receive, retrieve and send information to the rest of your body. Filling up on brain foods at breakfast time will enable you to give your brain the best start possible as you begin your day. Frank Lawlis and Maggie Greenwood-Robinson report in their book, "The Brain Power Cookbook," that what you eat for breakfast has a powerful influence on your ability to pay attention and concentrate. A few new foods for your morning meal may give you a better attention span and keep you more alert.
Oatmeal with Oranges
Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will provide several grams of fiber for energy throughout the morning, but will also positively impact your brain as well. Richard Leviton notes in his book, "Brain Builders: A Lifelong Guide to Sharper Thinking, Better Memory and An Age Proof Mind," that oats stimulate your brain and contribute to the healthy function of your brain cells. Oranges have similar brain benefits, so add chopped orange to your bowl of oatmeal or drink a glass of 100 percent orange juice to double the brain power of your morning meal.
One of the most important nutrients for brain function is protein. After several hours spent sleeping, your brain needs a protein boost in order to function properly as you start your day. Lawlis and Greenwood-Robinson recommend making at least half of your breakfast consist of high-protein foods like eggs. Eggs contain an important brain nutrient, tyrosine, that can increase your alertness and get your brain ready to begin receiving and sending messages.
Whole Grain Cereal with Fruit
Eating a breakfast that is packed with sugar may give you a quick burst of energy, but it will not last for very long and will leave you feeling tired and hungry. Lawlis and Greenwood-Robinson note that eating a breakfast that contains natural sugars from fruit will have the opposite effect by giving you a gradual release of energy that will last for more of the morning. Choose a whole grain cereal that is low in sugar and high in fiber and then add fresh fruit, such as bananas, strawberries or blueberries.
Toast with Peanut Butter
Whole grain bread is often lower in sugar than white bread and also contains more energy-providing fiber. Lawlis and Greenwood-Robinson suggest spreading 1 or 2 tablespoon of peanut butter to your toast to get even more brain benefits. Commercial peanut butter is often fortified with vitamins and minerals, and is a significant source of vitamin B-6 -- roughly 30 percent of your recommended daily intake -- which your brain needs for focus and attention. A vitamin B-6 deficiency can contribute to sleep problems and poor memory, two things that are essential for a healthy brain. Add a sliced banana to your toast for an even bigger boost of vitamin B-6. Even peanut butter that is not fortified contains nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of B-6.
- The Brain Power Cookbook; Frank Lawlis, et al.
- Brain Builders: A Lifelong Guide to Sharper Thinking, Better Memory and An Age Proof Mind; Richard Leviton
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peanut Butter, Smooth, Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peanut Butter, Smooth, Without Salt
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