Americans often get a bad rap for eating dessert for breakfast. Waffles, French toast, and muffins are little more than morning proxies for cake. But, it would appear that eating dessert for breakfast isn’t such a bad thing, if that dessert is ice cream. As if “it’s Monday” weren’t enough of an excuse to eat ice cream for breakfast, there’s a new, scientific reason to indulge in ice cream in the AM by way of Japan. A team of Japanese scientists has found that having ice cream for the first meal of the day can improve alertness and mental function. Basically, eating ice cream for breakfast makes you smarter.
A study by Yoshiko Koga, a professor at Kyorin University in Tokyo, compared the brain function of people who had eaten ice cream for breakfast to that of those who had eaten a normal, presumably, Japanese breakfast. Koga asked the study participants to complete some computer exercises after breakfast. He found that the study subjects who had eaten ice cream showed an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, which are tied to “enhanced alertness and reduced mental irritation.” To ensure that these results weren’t solely a response to being jolted awake by cold temperatures, Koga tested a third group who drank glasses of ice water in the morning. The test results were similar, but not quite as impressive as those from the group of ice cream eaters.
If breaking into a pint of Häagen-Dazs first thing in the morning still doesn’t seem quite right to you, though, fret not. There are frozen breakfast treats that straddle the line between dessert and a more traditional breakfast that will likely generate the same brain-enhancing effects. Try these breakfast protein popsicles, frozen yogurt doughnuts, or a breakfast banana split. Although, If these scientific results are to be believed, switching out yogurt for actual ice cream in that last one will result in maximum cognitive and taste benefits.