Do you find you need a “pick-me-up” in the middle of the day? Or maybe your energy wanes just before it’s time to leave work?
Many of us feel fatigued at a certain point during the day – maybe you didn’t go to bed early enough, or maybe you’re a new parent and just not getting enough sleep through the night because your baby is up. You could be having trouble sleeping and possibly need to look at your sleeping habits…
What if there were some foods that could help increase your energy and are actually healthy for you?
Before we get in to the actual foods that can give you a boost of energy, let’s talk briefly about how to eat for optimal energy. People that stay energetic through the day do a few key things:
- To maintain blood sugar levels and energy evenly throughout the day, it’s best to snack every 2 -3 hours
- Having a balanced mix of the macro-nutrients — protein, fat and carbohydrate, helps to ensure a slow, steady release of energy throughout the day
- Including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure we get required vitamins and nutrients from these amazing foods!
In addition to eating healthy, balanced meals and snacks spaced throughout the day, there are many foods that can help give a more immediate boost. Although oftentimes when we are tired, we crave “junk” foods, these will do a much better job of boosting stamina without the terrible sugar crash soon after. Let’s take a look at the Fast Energy Foods:
This common morning “happiness-in-a-mug” as coffee or some teas not only promotes central nervous system stimulation thus, boosting brain function; it is also a major source of antioxidants and may possibly promote a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and liver disease.
Caffeine is said to affect some neurotransmitters that could improve mood, reaction time, learning and vigilance.
2. Mint Leaves
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition says peppermint is thought to increase ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, which can lead to an increase in energy – so this is an excellent pick me up mid day to get you through the afternoon.
Ginger is said to reduce fatigue by improving blood circulation and blood sugar levels. This deliciously fragrant food may also offer help to migraine sufferers – comparable even to the drug sumatriptan and with less side effects.
Adding certain foods to your diet on a regular basis can help increase your overall energy on the long term basis. Not only do they provide many health benefits in one, they directly or indirectly increase your energy. Here’re some Long Term Energy Foods:
Discovered by the Incas and thought to increase the stamina of their warriors – this grain has been touted as the super grain of the future.
Quinoa is the most protein rich grain available as well as a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids needed by the body. Quinoa contains iron among other things that can help boost brain function as the brain takes in about 20 % of our blood oxygen. It also contains Riboflavin (vitamin b2) which improves energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells thus, helping create proper energy production in cells.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains caffeine as well as theobromine which both help to boost energy levels – the darker the chocolate, the less sugar and more energy boosting potential it has. You can have your chocolate and eat it too!
Yogurt has a high amount of protein which can help you feel full for longer, so hunger will not distract you from concentration. The fat content in Greek yogurt also tends to be more satisfying as if you’d eaten a decadent dessert!
One study found that black currants can improve the symptoms of computer eye strain – a common cause of fatigue in the workday. Goji berries are known to have high concentrations of melatonin which can improve sleep thus giving us more energy during the day.
Berries are also said to stave off cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The healthy natural sugar in these sweet treats help offer a quick boost in your day.
Lentils are excellent at stabilizing blood sugar and thus, giving you a slow burning source of energy to last long periods. They also help increase your iron stores which can help boost energy as well.
These nuts contain healthy fats, fibre and protein which prevents energy crashes and keeps your energy more level throughout the day.
Cherries are another excellent source of melatonin, which can help you to get a better night’s sleep to keep you fresh through the day.
11. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are an excellent source of quick, usable energy that provides many essential nutrients including Vitamin A, B-6, C and D.
Salmon fish contain omega fatty acids which are said to improve brain function and reduce fatigue – also providing vitamin b and protein which can help sustain energy throughout the day.
13. Green Tea
This type of tea contains some caffeine which we know boosts energy. This warm gem has also been associated with a 30 % reduction in breast cancer risk!
Learn more about the benefits of green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)
The Bottom Line
So many of the foods we eat can help boost our energy. Whether they are carbohydrate dense for readily available energy, or packed with fiber and protein for a slower energy release, they can help increase power and stamina.
As a bonus, a lot of these foods also contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which have been shown to play a role in the production of energy within your cells; and they all provide many other health benefits.
Incorporating these foods into a varied diet will definitely help increase energy levels throughout the day and help to stave off that mid to late day slump!
Featured photo credit: THE 5TH via unsplash.com
|||^||Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: The effects of peppermint on exercise performance|
|||^||Phytother Res.: Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.|
|||^||Medical Daily: Cherry Health Benefits|