American researchers published a study earlier this year in NeuroRegulation finding a connection between what we eat for breakfast and our mental health.
The study was a case study involving a 12-year-old girl. The researchers had participate in 3 different breakfast scenarios, then they measured her brain activity using quantitative EEG.
What they discovered was that when she skipped breakfast entirely, she showed an increase in high beta activity, which is generally associated with anxiety and focus issues.
When she had breakfast, but it was primarily high in simple carbohydrates (a fruit-filled toaster pastry and a glass of orange juice), her high beta activity was reduced but still significant.
When she had a nutritionally balanced breakfast, her EEG readings became normalized, suggesting that a breakfast incorporating all food groups can help us reduce anxiety levels and improve our focus.
So what did she eat for breakfast?
- 2 scrambled eggs
- a half slice of toast
- 1¼ cup of tomatoes
- ½ cup of fruit (strawberries, bananas, and apples)
- 1 cup of whole milk
Admittedly, this is a small sample size, so more research is needed before making definitive conclusions. That being said, this study joins an every growing body of research showing that nutrition has a close connection to mental health.