Top 5 Energy Boosters
With so many ads about which superfoods are best, it can be confusing to decipher what is a scam and what is the truth. That is why I compiled a list of the top five energy-boosting foods that will give you true, lasting energy to keep you hopping 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 glycaemic index because they have a lot of fibre. 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-fibre oatmeal, like oat bran. For the best nutrition kick, avoid instant oatmeal and stick with more natural varieties, then add your sweetness.
Beans are a great source of fibre, 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 are 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 does not store potassium for long periods. This means that your potassium level can drop during times of stress or 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!
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 anaemia, 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 for the highest source of antioxidants.
These little guys are great if you are 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.
Other healthy fats to include in your diet are avocados, seeds, nuts, olive oil, and fish oil. Of course, you will want to check with your health practitioner before making drastic changes to your diet.
Incorporating these foods into your daily menu takes some planning, so here are some ideas you can use to ensure you will have all the energy you need every day.
Smoothies: For breakfast, a banana fruit smoothie is a quick and easy way to get the potassium your body requires for normal function. In a blender, combine a small banana, some frozen berries of your choice, ice, 1/2 cup low-fat milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla. You can also add a tablespoon of peanut butter or some raw cacao powder as well.
Oatmeal: If you need a quick breakfast, you may not always think of oatmeal, or you may think of instant oatmeal, which is not as nutritious. Some companies are making instant oatmeal healthier by not adding as much sugar and artificial flavouring, but you'll always want to compare the sugar and fibre amounts across a few different brands to find the most nourishing oatmeal.
Cereals: Another great alternative to a bowl of hot oatmeal is bran and muesli cereals. They contain a lot of the energy-boosting nutrients of oatmeal and often contain healthy nuts and dried fruits as well.
Almonds: These nuts are perfect as a mid-afternoon snack. Grab a handful and take them to work with you in a snack cup or baggie.
Dark Chocolate: When you are feeling sluggish, a small dark chocolate bar is all you need for a great pick me up that will last longer than an hour or two.
Dinner Side Dishes
Beans: Lentils are a great side dish to enhance many dinner entrees such as tacos and burgers. You can also make lentils a main dish by combining several types into one dish as a bean soup or bean casserole served with cornbread. Another way to eat lentils is to add some pepper and melted shredded cheese as part of a healthy lunch.
Working these naturally energizing foods into your daily routine does not 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!