7 Best Breakfast Foods for Your Brain Health

There are so many foods that contain nutrients known to benefit the brain. From nuts and seeds to fish, fruits and vegetables, you have an abundance of brain boosting foods to choose. To maximize the impact your food choices can have on your brain health, it’s best to eat a variety of brain-boosting foods throughout the day. This includes breakfast. Although considered the most important meal of the day, breakfast is also known for its sweet cooked foods, if not completely ignored by many. But what makes this meal so important is the fact that it replenishes energy levels your body depends on it to carry you physically and mentally throughout the day.

With so many foods to choose from, there’s no reason to give up on these brain-healthy foods, especially at breakfast. For a better breakfast that boosts your brain, here are seven foods you should eat for a productive and focused day. And for more dietitian-approved breakfast ideas to keep you on top of your game, be sure to read Healthy breakfast foods Dietitians say you should eat.

hard boiled eggs

Known for their protein content and ease of preparation, eggs are also a source of choline. This nutrient is known to play many roles in the body, including being a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Because acetylcholine specifically plays a role in memory and intelligence, consuming adequate amounts of choline is essential for brain function. Scrambled, boiled, or fried, eggs are a rich source of brain-boosting choline to enjoy for breakfast.

smoked salmon slices on wooden board
Fabio Balbi/Shutterstock

Although most fish are not generally considered breakfast foods, smoked salmon is by far one of the healthiest sources of protein to include in your breakfast. In addition to protein, salmon also contains essential elements omega-3 fatty acids that may benefit the brain. Current research points to the important role omega-3s can play in children’s brain development, and maternal intake of omega-3s during pregnancy may support a child’s mental development. Additional studies note that diets deficient in omega-3s may be associated with cognitive performance disorders. Enjoy your salmon on a whole wheat bagel with a light cream cheese spread for a delicious and easy breakfast.

bowl of fresh berries to eat to feel much younger than your age

This class of fruit is known for its purple and red coloring and high nutritional value. Although all berries are a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, they also contain antioxidants called flavanols. All antioxidants protect cells from damage, and this compound in particular may also have stimulating effects on the brain. In reality, a study conducted with adult participants who ate blueberries found improvement in memory and attention. Although this study only observed the benefits of consuming blueberries, it appears that other berries possess similar characteristics. Enjoy berries in a smoothie, oatmeal or cereal, or as an accompaniment to your morning eggs.


This seed is a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids and may contain some of the same benefits as the healthy fats found in salmon. To research conducted in rodents found that maternal consumption of flaxseed could promote neuroprotective effects and spatial memory in their offspring. Although the types of omega-3s found in fish may have stronger effects than the forms found in plant sources, all forms of omega-3s appear to benefit the brain. Simply add ground or ground flaxseed to your oatmeal, smoothie or homemade muffin recipe.


Another easy breakfast food, this nut contains brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenolic compounds. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that appear to benefit the brain. To research suggests that a diet containing nuts may positively impact memory and learning, may improve cognition, and may reduce the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. Nuts can be blended into a smoothie, added to oatmeal or cereal, or incorporated into homemade pancakes or banana bread.

kale spinach

This vegetable category includes kale, spinach, cabbage and collard greens, to name a few. Although these vegetables contain many beneficial nutrients, the lutein, folate, beta-carotene and phylloquinone found in leafy greens can help slow the natural decline in cognitive abilities seen in older people. Although you may think green vegetables are more appropriate for lunch or dinner, there are a number of ways to incorporate them into your breakfast. Simply sauté and add leafy greens to your omelet, stir raw leafy greens into your smoothie, or toss them in olive oil and lemon before topping your bagel and smoked salmon.

pumpkin seeds nuggets

Although all nuts and seeds contain healthy unsaturated fats, the nutrients found in pumpkin seeds in particular may also benefit the brain. Like many other foods on this list, pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants that protect body and brain cells from damage. Additionally, these seeds contain a collection of minerals that are also involved in brain health. Zinc is a nutrient found in pumpkin seeds that is found in high concentrations in the brain and is involved in the functioning of hundreds of systems and reactions in the body, including the nervous system. In reality, to research suggests that zinc deficiency may be linked to certain neurological conditions and brain diseases. You can incorporate the brain-protecting benefits of pumpkin seeds by adding them to your homemade granola, topping your yogurt parfait, or mixing them into your morning oatmeal.

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