Starting your day off with the right breakfast can not only boost your memory for the day, but can also protect you from future cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Use your morning meal to set a healthy stage for a lifetime of optimal brainpower.
First of all, wake up from a good night’s sleep. Not only does sleep deprivation impair memory, but healthy sleep habits can ease the symptoms of depression, anxiety and other brain disorders almost as much as a prescription – with no doctor or pharmacy fees. Also, choose organic groceries whenever you can – pesticides and artificial hormones aren’t doing anyone’s brain or body any favors.
Set your table with the following breakfast to rev up your memory for the day and protect your brain:
Caffeine is a well-known and much-loved performance enhancer, and its potency to keep you alert and on track has been measured repeatedly in all kinds of humans from Olympic athletes to astronauts. You have probably tested it on yourself with very good results. But did you know that a daily cup of Joe might also protect against the most devastating memory disease, Alzheimer’s? Research has shown that caffeinated coffee partially blocks the production of beta amyloid, a sticky protein that clogs the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Tip: Learn to love your coffee black like a proper adult and save yourself hundreds of calories a week from sugar and cream (both of which can impair memory). For an added brain boost, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on the top – this sweet spice has been shown to enhance mental activity and improve memory as well.
Spinach, Onion & Salmon Egg Breakfast
All vegetables help boost the brain and protect the body, but at the very top of the list are leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards and mustard greens. Studies show that eating three servings of leafy greens per day could slow your mental decline by 40%. That’s a lot! It’s easy to sneak leafy greens into your breakfast. First, cook up a small handful of diced onions in your preferred rice bran oil (whose high content of oleic and linoleic acid compositions boosts memory and can also help prevent diabetes and cancer). Sweat down your onions, which contain brain-protecting antioxidants, and then toss in a very large handful of greens – baby spinach works well, or chopped slices of kale. Switch your veggies up on different mornings with broccoli florets or halved Brussels sprouts!
Now add a handful of chopped, cooked salmon to the mix and heat through. Last night’s leftovers work superbly and even eating fatty fish just once a week can reduce your mental decline by 10% - enough to give you the memory power of a person who is three years younger. The omega-3 essential fatty acids contained in salmon help improve cognitive function, lessen the symptoms of mental disorders such as depression and ADHD and also protect the heart and the cardiovascular system against degeneration. Omega-3s are one of the best nutrients for your brain, period.
Be fancy and turn all this into an omelet, or take the quick road and just throw an organic egg on top of it all, turning once to cook it through on both sides. Eggs are an important source of choline, an essential nutrient in the B vitamin group, which is known for reducing stress and balancing the body. The two controllable factors that affect your future health the most are 1) what you eat and 2) how you manage stress levels, and with this well-rounded breakfast you will be covering both bases. If you must have toast with your eggs, be sure to make it a whole grain slice, so the natural fiber can work to enhance the brain-boosting powers of the rest of your breakfast.
Side Dish of Berries
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and açai berries are not only a delicious dessert to your breakfast, they also help preserve the brain’s ability to rid itself of toxic proteins, which are associated with memory loss. Berries contain the powerful phytochemical anthocyanin, which has been shown to actually reverse memory loss in the lab. Give yourself permission to eat as many berries as you can every day (but blueberry muffins don’t count!).
Glass of Grape Juice
Top your brain-feeding breakfast off with a small glass of grape juice. While high in sugar, grape juice contains a very high level of antioxidants which help protect the brain much like red wine does, albeit more appropriate to morning hours. Red, purple and black grapes all contain quercetin, another important phytochemical with brain-protecting powers.
To garner the fullest benefits from this amazing breakfast, eat it mindfully, savoring each bite and using all of your senses to be conscious in the moment. Meditation is not something that has to be done while sitting next to a stream, legs crossed and eyes closed. Work mindfulness into your meals, and reap the added brain benefits of meditation.