A shortage of energy is the No. 1 complaint of most people who stay busy juggling a career, a relationship and a workout plan. Keeping all these activities going takes, well, a ton of energy.
The best strategy is to eat small meals of energy-promoting foods several times throughout the day, rather than infrequently binging on huge meals (you also need to exercise, get enough sleep and control stress, but that’s a whole other article). With that in mind, I compiled a list of the top five energy boosting foods that will give you true, lasting energy to keep you active all day!
Oats contain the energizing and stress-lowering B vitamin family, which helps transform carbs into usable energy. Oats are also low on the glycemic index because they have a lot of fiber. That means that your body gets a steady stream of energy, as opposed to a short-term spike, because the carbohydrates gradually flow into your bloodstream.
The key here is to look for high-fiber oatmeal, like oat bran. For the best nutrition kick, avoid instant oatmeal and stick with more natural varieties, my favorite are steel cut and groats!
Beans are a great source of fiber, which translates to a slow release of glucose, as well as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and copper. Lentils provide both carbohydrates and protein, making them a great addition to any meal. Lentils help reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, and they’re low in fat and calories to boot.
Bananas provide a lot of potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function. Unlike some nutrients, the body doesn’t store potassium for long periods of time. This means that your potassium level can drop during times of stress or during strenuous exercise when the nutrient is lost through excessive sweating. The sugar in bananas is an easily digested form of carbohydrate.
Other fruits such as apples, grapes, peaches and pineapples also make great energizing and refreshing snacks. We all know we need to be eating more fruits in our diet!
Without water, your body cannot generate energy. Water makes it possible for your system to digest, absorb and transport nutrients. It also helps regulate body temperature. When you’re dehydrated, your cells receive nutrients for energy less efficiently, and your body can’t properly expend heat through sweating. Both conditions lead to fatigue. Aim to drink eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
These little guys are great if you’re looking to improve your focus and mental clarity. Monounsaturated fats such as almonds provide essential fatty acids, known as omega-3s and omega-6s that produce an alert mental state. NOTICE: You want to consume Raw Almonds, which are actually illegal in all 50 states. I wrote a great article all about it, plus the 2 loop holes that still allow you to purchase them. READ HERE
Studies show that chocolate can elevate your energy levels by way of certain bioactive compounds such as tyramine and phenylethylamine. Chocolate has also been claimed to improve anemia, awaken the appetite, aid in digestion, and improve longevity. Chocolate contains sugar and caffeine along with fat and calories so consume in moderation. When possible, opt for dark chocolate or raw cacao (love this!) for the highest source of antioxidants.
Working these naturally energizing foods into your daily routine doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little imagination and effort, you can have all the energy you need to stay awake and alert throughout the entire day!
Quick Energy Boosters:
The quickest energy is from carbohydrates. That’s the body’s first preferences for energy. Did you ever hear about carbohydrate loading? That’s what marathon runners do when they run a long race, they carb load. The reason they do that is because your body’s first preference for fuel is from stored carbohydrate, and you store carbohydrate as glycogen in your muscles and your liver.
Sustained Energy Boosters:
A balance of nutrients is really what’s going to give you sustained energy because your body digests protein, fats and carbohydrates differently. In other words, you can eat them all at the same time but they are all going to be processed differently. Carbohydrates start being digested in your mouth, protein starts in your stomach and fat doesn’t start until it reaches your intestines. That’s why foods that are combinations of nutrients give you sustained energy.
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