Ice Cream for a Brain-Boosting Breakfast

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We all know that breakfast is regarded as the most important meal of the day and that children who have a proper breakfast every day perform better at school.  What makes a proper breakfast varies a lot, depending on where you are in the world and how much time is available but it is safe to say that in most countries ice cream is not something that is likely to appear on the breakfast table. That could be about to change.

Japanese Study

According to a recent study in Japan, published by Kyorin University professor Yoshihiko Koga, eating ice cream right after waking up can result in improved alertness and mental performance.  The study, which was published on Japan’s Excite News website in November 2016, compared the brain activity of participants  who had been given ice cream immediately after waking up with those who had not eaten ice cream. Koga found that people who had consumed ice cream for breakfast showed better reaction time and were able to process information better than those who did not eat ice cream for breakfast. Further tests of brain activity also showed that the people who had ice cream first thing in the morning had an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, which are associated with higher levels of alertness and can reduce mental irritation, the report said.

Is it the Cold or the Ice Cream?

In order to determine whether it was the cold or the ingredients that made the difference, subjects were tested a second time, during which they were given cold water instead of ice cream immediately after waking up. Although the results from that particular test did show higher levels of alertness and mental capacity, people who had ice cream for breakfast showed significantly higher mental stimulation.  This would suggest that it is not the cold blast but also something in the ice cream itself that has beneficial properties.

What Flavour is Best?

More research still needs to be conducted to thoroughly determine what specific ingredient in ice cream could be responsible for the mental boost. Koga said in the report that he is also hoping to determine if ice cream is a trigger for positive emotion and higher levels of energy. Bearing in mind the wide range of recipes for ice cream and the diverse ingredients between brands, we would like to know what kind of ice cream was used as well as what flavour.  

Would a dopamine-high from a luxury rich chocolate ice cream work better than the sugar buzz from cheap synthetic strawberry or middle-of-the-road cookies and cream?  Does starting the day with a treat put you in a better frame of mind and thus more receptive to mental tasks?  Does the boost-effect last or would the effects wear off with boredom after eating ice cream for breakfast every day for a month?  This story raises lots of questions and we hope to see some answers.  There is no denying It sounds like a lot more fun than taking a cold shower to wake yourself up in the morning!

In the meantime, what have you got to lose by giving it a try?  Let us know in our comments section or on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. See links below. We would love to hear from you.

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