“Low on energy” is the # 1 complaint of people who stay busy juggling a career, a relationship, kids, and a workout plan. Keeping up with all of these important activities requires a lot of energy!
There are all sorts of manufactured energy drinks, pills, bars, and “shots” on the market, but none hold a candle to real, whole food.
Choose the right foods and you’ll get more nutrients for faster (and better), long-term energy, with a lot less sugar and calories and no artificial stimulants.
The best strategy is to eat small meals of energizing foods throughout the day, rather than infrequently binging on huge meals.
Keeping this in mind, here are the top 5 energy-boosting super foods that will give you true, lasting energy throughout the day:
1. Fruits: especially those high in potassium, an electrolyte that maintains normal nerve and muscle function. Unlike most nutrients, our body doesn’t store potassium for long periods of time. This means your potassium level can drop during times of stress or during strenuous exercise when it’s lost through sweating.
Great examples of high-potassium fruits are bananas, apricots, cantaloupe, and kiwi, which also contain fructose for liver glycogen, ready-to-use sugars, fiber, and lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Other excellent energy-boosting fruits are apples, grapes, and peaches.
2. Quinoa: is a super-grain that’s actually a complete protein, which is very rare for a plant food. It is also a high-quality complex carbohydrate, high in fiber and iron, as well as calcium, which is necessary for proper muscle contraction.
Quinoa is also high in magnesium, which helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and has a positive effect on blood pressure. In addition, it’s full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and can even help balance your blood sugar!
3. Oats: are a quality source of complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber, low on the glycemic index, and rich in energy-boosting B vitamins. I’m not talking about instant oatmeal, but rather old-fashioned oats, dry rolled oats, steel cut oats, or oat bran, which are a more natural (unprocessed or not man-made).
Because these kinds of oats aren’t broken down like instant oatmeal is, it takes longer for them to be processed within your body, providing a slower release of energy (meaning, sustained energy).
Oats also contain stress-reducing B vitamins, which helps transform carbs into usable energy. And because they’re high in fiber, your body gets an ongoing stream of energy that gradually flows into your bloodstream, as opposed to a short-term spike that crashes soon after.
4. Seeds: such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds provide a great supply of fiber, healthy fats (including omega-3’s), vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Chia seeds are an especially great choice because they have a large amount of soluble fiber, which creates sort of a gel in your intestines.
This keeps you full and satisfied longer and provides time-release energy, which stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps your energy levels even during intense training or longer physical activities.
5. Lentils: are a great source of fiber, which again, translates to a slow release of glucose, as well as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and copper. They provide both carbohydrates and protein, making for a great, well-balanced addition to any meal.
In fact, protein helps slow down the digestion of food for sustained energy and lentils help reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure as well. Plus, they’re low in fat and calories! Beans (black, kidney, garbanzo, etc.) are also an energy-boosting food with similar benefits.
BONUS: In addition to these 5 foods, keep in mind that 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.
Try to drink eight to ten 8-oz. glasses of water a day and you’ll be amazed at how much energy you get just from staying adequately hydrated.
I hope you found this helpful!