13 Breakfast Foods To Kick Your Brain Into Gear

Image via Unsplash/Alondra Olivas

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” You’ve probably been hearing this phrase since childhood, right? It’s true that eating breakfast is important to maintain a healthy weight and give you some energy to start your day, but you also can use it to sharpen your thinking skills. Incorporate these foods into your morning meal to boost your brain into high gear.

1. Coffee

Coffee is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up in the morning. It’s well-known that caffeine helps improve mental focus, but coffee is also rich in antioxidants, which help memory and overall brain health. Some studies show that coffee also can reduce depression in women.

2. Eggs

Eggs are probably number one when it comes to common breakfast foods, so it’s nice that they’re also a great brain food. Choline is a form of vitamin B in eggs that help increase brain function, memory, and verbal learning. Eggs also have loads of protein, which fills you up and delays hunger for a long time. So you can focus on more important things than counting the minutes until lunch.

3. Wheat Germ

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan and don’t eat eggs, wheat germ is a great alternative. It is a rich source of choline, which helps your memory. Wheat germ isn’t just for vegetarians, though. It can be eaten in addition to eggs, and is great sprinkled on top of cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts help promote blood flow, which means your brain will get more oxygen. They have vitamin E, which helps prevent mental decline. Studies done on mice with Alzheimer’s have found that regularly eating walnuts improves their memory, learning, and motor skill coordination. If it’s good enough for mice, it’s got to be worth a try!

5. Berries

All berries have tannins, which promote communication between brain cells to improve memory. Regularly eating blueberries and strawberries has been proven to slow mental decline, and improve memory and focus. Blueberries in particular are rich in antioxidants, which help with learning, thinking, and memory. Eat berries plain as a quick snack, or add them into other items on your breakfast menu.

6. Yogurt

Yogurt has a lot of protein, which fills you up and is digested slowly, making you feel fuller, longer. Get fancy and make yourself a parfait by adding walnuts and berries to your yogurt for even more brainpower.

7. Almonds

A handful of almonds gives you about a third of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E, which helps prevent mental decline. They are also high in protein and fiber, which maintains your blood sugar levels and keeps you full and energized. They also increase your serotonin levels, which makes you feel happier.

8. Oatmeal

Oatmeal has a lot of carbohydrates, which your body turns into glucose — aka its main energy source. Since glucose can’t be stored, you need a constant supply of it. Oatmeal and other whole grain cereals will help improve your short-term memory as well as reduce your mental fatigue throughout the day. Add nuts and berries for a triple whammy.

9. Citrus

Citrus, such as oranges and grapefruits, gives your body the vitamin C it needs. Eat the whole fruit instead of drinking the juice, because the juices have added sugar, which will lead to a sugar crash later in the day. Vitamin C helps with the transfer of information between your brain cells, and also improves your memory.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Eating a handful of pumpkin seeds every day fulfills the recommended amount of zinc, which enhances memory and thinking skills. They also have a lot of iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals work together to act as a natural antidepressant.

11. Cashews

Cashews have a lot of zinc and magnesium, two minerals that work great together. Zinc improves memory and helps against depression, and magnesium helps with sleeping patterns and improves learning skills. This makes cashews another brain-boosting nut that’s delicious on its own, or crushed on top of a variety of other items from this list.

12. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory benefits, which helps overall brain functions. It also helps the brain generate new neurons and repair old ones. Even the aroma of cinnamon can improve memory and focus on tests, so be sure to sprinkle it on your oatmeal, yogurt, or coffee.

13. Water

True, water isn’t a breakfast food, but it’s still an important part of the day. You might as well start drinking it along with your coffee in the mornings, because it’s important to stay hydrated. If you let yourself become dehydrated, your brain tissue shrinks! This impairs short-term memory, decision-making, and focus. Drinking water throughout the day can also keep you from feeling hungry, so you’ll cut down on unhealthy snacks that will give you a sugar crash hours later.