Are you struggling to get out of bed in the morning and generally feel run down and exhausted ? If you’re not experiencing all-day comfortable amounts of energy, then your eating habits and food choices may need a little changing. Proper nutrition and the timing of what you eat can do wonders to make you feel alert and powerful.
Here are some recommendations for what you should be eating to help increase your energy:
1. Eat Complex Carbohydrates and Avoid Simple Ones
Complex carbohydrates are a brilliant source of fibre and energy. They can also help you manage your weight, reduce some of the risks of cancer and reduce cholesterol. Complex carbohydrates release glucose into the blood gradually, providing the body with a steady supply of energy. A diet rich in foods such as wholegrains, oats, pulses, nuts and seeds will help you stay healthy and full of energy. A bowl of oats for breakfast is an ideal way to start your day !
2. Have an Intense Day at Work. Eat Light Meals for Lunch
Eating smaller meals more regularly will help regulate your blood glucose levels, as well as releasing energy gradually instead of in one big hit. When you eat too much, your body uses most of its energy on digestion so it has less to put towards concentration. Avoid or eat less carbohydrates as they increase your body’s production of the sleep-promoting neurotransmitter serotonin, making you drowsy. Instead, opt for a protein-packed meal, like grilled tuna over a bed of fresh, green salad.
Spirulina is a Blue-Green Algae, which thrives in alkaline lakes. It contains over 65% of complete protein (300% more than fish, meat or poultry, with zero cholesterol). Spirulina is also very rich in chlorophyll, iron (about 58 times more than spinach), antioxidants, beta-carotene and essential fatty acid Omega 3 and 6. Spirulina is my favourite superfood which will boost your strength and energy. I have about a tablespoon a day in my morning power smoothie !
Egg yolks are naturally rich in B-vitamins, which are responsible for converting food into energy and they also have Vitamin D to maintain strong bones. To cut back on saturated fat and excess calories, stick to 1 whole egg plus 2-3 egg whites for a lean energy-filled breakfast.
Edamame, fresh soy beans are high in energizing nutrients, particularly B-vitamins, copper and phosphorous. B-complex vitamins work to break down carbohydrates we consume into glucose for fuel. At the same time they help transport oxygen throughout the body. Both copper and phosphorous are involved in converting eaten food into energy and releasing into cells so it’s available for use by the body.
6. Trail Mix
Nuts and dried fruit are the ideal combination of healthy fats, fiber and protein. While refined carbohydrates that are void of fiber quickly break down into glucose for short bursts of energy, fiber helps slow down glucose-release so there is always a steady supply. Fats such as nuts, seeds and oils will provide you with long-lasting energy to keep you going throughout the day. Get imaginative and create your own trail mix by combining raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds with dried cranberries, blueberries, black currants, apricots or dates.
One of the most important determinants of your energy levels is hydration. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas throughout the day, and give additional attention to staying hydrated before and during exercise. Eating four cups of water-rich foods, such as watermelon, cucumber and lettuce, daily can help you stay hydrated as well.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that contains more protein than any other grain or rice. The grain is so rich in amino acids, that it is considered a complete source of protein, high in lysine, methionine and cysteine. It is also high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, making it a nutrient dense carbohydrate for long-lasting energy levels. Quinoa can help support a healthy cardiovascular system, blood pressure levels and bowel health.
9. Goji Berries
In Chinese medicine, goji berries have been used for thousands of years to help increase energy and enhance the release of hormones. Goji berries increase the body’s ability to handle stress and support healthy mood, mind and memory in addition to giving you a healthy boost of energy ! This little wonder berry is also a mild aphrodisiac as they help to increase blood flow in the body, which helps to oxygenate all of the cells and tissues of the body, including the sex organs, which increases libido—that’s why they call goji the ‘Viagra of China. It is best to consume goji in liquid form as liquids are more easily absorbed and assimilated by the body. You would have to eat a lot more dried goji berries to get the same benefits.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !