Eating well throughout the day is crucial for maintaining good overall health, but starting on the right foot with a proper breakfast is especially beneficial. According to the Cleveland Clinic, eating within the first few hours of waking can be great for your body’s energy levels, heart, and lower the risk of diabetes. Eating a nutritious breakfast is also linked to improved memory, concentration, and general cognitive function.
If you’d rather start the day off with a sharp mind rather than fighting through feelings of grogginess, follow these three dietitian-recommended breakfast habits.
Add flax seeds
According to Rachel Fine, registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, adding flax seeds will definitely benefit your cognitive processes.
“Flax contains a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) per serving. ALA fatty acids convert in the body to EPA and DHA, which are two important omega-3’s specifically for brain health,” Fine explains.
Luckily, flax seeds are easy to incorporate into whatever breakfast meal tickles your fancy—just be careful to grind them well so that your body can fully digest them and reap their full health benefits. Fine tends to sprinkle ground flax seeds on top of oatmeal and yogurt, but you can also throw them into your breakfast smoothie.
Opt for walnuts
Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert, and author of Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen, recommends reaching for walnuts in the morning.
“Whether you’re having a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, it’s smart to top it with a handful of walnuts. Studies suggest that including walnuts as part of a healthy diet may play a role in helping maintain and improve cognitive health as we age. The benefit comes from the numerous phytochemicals in walnuts.”
Eat whole walnuts on their own, sprinkle them on top of a fruit bowl, or “try topping toast with creamy walnut butter.”
Enjoy some berries
“Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, contain plant chemicals that help keep our brains healthy. Many studies have shown that berries help delay Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease,” Largeman-Roth points out.
“Berries fight inflammation and oxidative stress, which are involved with the aging of the brain,” he adds. “You can top everything from yogurt to toast with fresh berries, and swirl frozen berries into your smoothies.”