They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it can be, if you’re eating the right things. Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef and nutrition expert, explains that fueling the body and brain appropriately at breakfast is the key to all-day focus, clarity and energy. There are excellent food options for doing that, but it turns out, a lot of our go-tos for our morning meal are not so great.
According to Dr. Naidoo, these are the worst breakfast foods for your brain:
- All-fruit smoothies - Smoothies can be an easy, portable way to load up on proteins and plant-based nutrients, but a lot of smoothies are just sweet milkshakes in disguise, including ones that are only made of fruit. You need fat and protein in there to avoid a blood sugar spike, which can cause a crash hours later that results in fatigue, anxiety and irritability.
- Loaded coffees - Coffee is a morning staple for many of us, but if you’re a fan of fancy coffee drinks, you could be sipping artificial flavors, refined sugars and dairy, which can increase inflammation in the body and brain. And inflammation is linked to increased symptoms of psychiatric illness and impaired cognition.
- Cereals - Sure, it’s quick and easy, which is appealing for busy mornings, but the kind of cereal you eat can make a difference in cognitive function for the rest of the day. Dr. Naidoo recommends one with whole grains, nuts, healthy fats and tons of fiber, with low sugar.
- Breakfast burritos - It’s the wrap that’s the problem, as it’s full of simple carbs and refined starches. So skip the wrap and eat the eggs, black beans, tofu and veggies you’d put in the burrito in a bowl instead.
- Fruity yogurts - Greek yogurt is great for the gut microbiome, but sugar is the thing to watch for here. Read your labels to make sure you’re not getting too much sugar or start with unsweetened yogurt and add your own fruit, cinnamon and a drop of honey.
- The doughnut coffee combo - Dr. Naidoo calls this breakfast “The Detective” and she points out that the pastry’s refined carbs can set you up for brain fog and that the combo doesn’t give you a good foundation for focus and mood throughout the day.
Source: Mind Body Green