The fact is, food is your body's fuel. It not only helps with your metabolism, but eating the right things at the right times can fight disease and help you manage your weight. Eating the wrong things, on the other hand, can destabilize your metabolism, encourage illness, and cause you to gain weight.
This all adds up to one thing: You need a healthy breakfast routine that doesn't include donuts, pastries, or sausage muffins.
You also likely need that breakfast routine to be quick. You probably don't have time to make something elaborate, so here are three smart, brain-boosting breakfasts that are also simple and quick:
1. Greek yogurt with walnuts
This is my favorite and has changed my life for two reasons: First, it's fast, easy, and portable (when I'm running late, I can just pop it into a plastic container and take it with me). Second, and perhaps more important, it's very filling. I'm completely full until lunch, and even sometimes after.
This is in part because it's packed with healthy protein. It's also got healthy probiotics, which keep your digestive tract strong and hearty.
But the real brain boost is the walnuts: They're the top nut when it comes to brain health. Their high concentration of DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, means they help improve your cognitive functioning, as well as prevent or improve age-related cognitive decline.
Pro tip: I add sweetened dried coconut to the mix, which helps with the flavor and is also a good source of fiber.
2. Whole grain toast with smoked salmon or avocado
This is another quick and tasty option--just pop the toast in, top it with the salmon or avocado, and you're ready to go.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which neuroscientists say help improve how brain cells communicate. Avocado is also great for your brain--it promotes healthy blood flow and lowers blood pressure, both of which keep your little gray cells happy.
Pro tip: To top this breakfast off, spread on some cottage cheese (a good cream cheese substitute). This makes the whole thing a great, brain-friendly combo of fiber, protein, and omega-3s.
3. Oatmeal with blueberries
Steven Pratt, MD, the author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls blueberries "brainberries" because they're so good for you. They protect the brain against oxidative stress and can potentially reduce the effects of Alzheimer's and dementia. Similarly, a blueberry-rich diet has been shown to improve both the motor skills and learning capacity in aging rats, boosting their brains to the level of much younger rats.
Oatmeal, as it turns out, has its own health superpower: It reduces the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your body, a.k.a. "bad" cholesterol. This is because the soluble fiber in oatmeal helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Pro tip: Add a tablespoon of local honey (you can get it at a farmer's market) to sweeten the concoction while also helping protect you against allergies. The more local honey you consume, the less affected you'll be by the pollen in your area. To make this work, you must get local honey made by local bees.
"Expect problems and eat them for breakfast." --Alfred A. Montapert