The Best Breakfast Foods to Improve Concentration and Productivity
Have you ever noticed that it’s nearly impossible to concentrate on anything other than your stomach when you’re hungry? That’s because your brain uses 20% of your daily calorie intake as energy, so how can you expect to be productive if your brain is literally left starving?
Your brain needs food to function properly, especially carbohydrates, which break down into glucose (the brain’s main food source). In order to maintain your energy for longer periods of time, it’s suggested to incorporate fibre-rich, complex carbs into your meals.
Here’s a rundown of what you should be including in your meals at breakfast time to improve concentration and productivity.
4 essential nutrients for your brain
Studies have shown that there are several micronutrients that should be consumed with the main macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) to encourage healthy brain function.
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
These can be found in foods that contain unsaturated fats like nuts, oily fish and leafy green vegetables. These fats have been shown to improve memory and reduce cognitive impairment over longer periods of time (ranging from 1-10 years).
2. Vitamin E
This can be found in foods like almonds, spinach, pumpkin and capsicum. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can improve your brain, and also help with heart health and inflammation in your body.
3. Vitamin D
This is most commonly received when you get enough sunlight everyday. However, it’s also found in fatty fish, cheese, fortified cereals and breads. It works to keep your nerves functioning, and helps promote dopamine release (the feel-good hormone).
Caffeine as an answer to brain fog is one thing we are all happy to hear. There have been numerous studies over the last 30 years on how caffeine affects alertness, which in turn will help you feel more energised for your day if included as part of a good breakfast. Just make sure to take it easy on the coffee.
3 best brain food breakfast ideas
1. Fibre-rich oat porridge with fortified milk and nuts and berries.
2. Scrambled egg or tofu with spinach, tomatoes, cheese and a slice of wholegrain toast.
3. Wholegrain tortilla with smoked salmon, lite cream cheese, arugula, capsicum, and red onion.
Explore more content like this in our series, Ask a Dietitian.
Health & Performance Collective is the brainchild of Sydney Dietitians Jessica Spendlove and Chloe McLeod. They use their 20 years of combined knowledge and skills as dietitians to work with motivated people to live and perform at their best.