Food that Boosts Energy
After a hectic day, you finally have a moment to yourself. You’re exhausted, your mind foggy. You can barely decide what’s for dinner let alone anything else. You’ve heard that exercise helps you, but right now you’re wondering how you’ll ever get started… What you need is food that boosts energy.
Let’s face it, finding the time and energy to be active is hard. Introducing superfoods to your diet can combat sugar crashes and three-thirtyitis, increase vigour and bring back your mojo.
Often, we blame our exhaustion on our stressful work and heavy schedules. All the while, we’re missing one major factor: Nutrition. We often take the food we eat for granted, but our diets can dictate a day of high energy and focus, or a day of headaches, carb crashes, and fatigue.
Superfoods to the Rescue
Your energy can be low due to a lack of nutrients in your cells. Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that power those cells. By incorporating them into your eating regime, your cells can start working at peak performance.
With boosted energy levels, you can:
- wake up more easily
- maintain focus throughout the day (no more three-thirtyitis at work)!
- remember things more clearly
- perform physical activities more easily
- sleep much better.
What Makes a Superfood?
Basically, they’re food that boosts energy. Superfoods contain antioxidants, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber. The nutrients keep your organs functioning. The essential minerals and vitamins fight disease and produce red blood cells which circulate your oxygen. And oxygen and blood circulation play a key role in exercise.
Superfoods aren’t just about your physical health. They also improve concentration, reduce mental fog and help with memory. You can be picking up speed in both the office and the gym in no time.
Live longer, be more active, and be super-protected!
Before we go further, let’s address some common questions:
1. What are Antioxidants?
This word is commonly used in promotions, though often it’s not clear on what it means. Put simply, it’s a chemical substance that slows down or prevents the damage to cells caused by free radicals (from foreign toxins and chemicals). Healthy foods are bursting with antioxidants.
2. What is Inflammation?
This refers to the body’s defenses; how the immune system identifies damaged cells and tries to heal itself. But if this happens too regularly it causes many issues. Chronic inflammation is linked to all sorts of diseases, including stress, arthritis, diabetes, even cancer.
So, the key is to maintain a healthy balanced diet. This keeps your cells in better condition, therefore improving your energy levels and overall health.
>> Did you know nutrition can affect stress levels? Discover here 10 simple ways to relieve stress <<
Foods that Boost Energy
Here are recommended superfoods to add to your diet.
This is a great way to incorporate healthy fats into your eating plan. Fat used to be something we avoided, but a lot has been discovered about its benefits. Healthy fats are good because they’re used for energy and lower bad cholesterol.
Avocados are nice and creamy, having a similar texture to dairy foods. They’re high in fiber and vitamin B, which your body uses to transform food into energy. They have more potassium than bananas and contain important phytochemicals that support the heart and healthy aging.
Ways to have it: Guacamole dip, with eggs, mixed with cream cheese, spread on toast, in smoothies, salads, sandwiches and wraps, soups, or mixed with mashed potato.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, and more.
These are great on their own, or a delicious way to spruce up your snacks. Blueberries are considered one of the highest in antioxidants. They lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity (a common cause of Type 2 Diabetes). Made mostly of water, they’re low in carbs and good for brain function.
Raspberries are another brain favourite, helping improve memory and fight against aging. They help digestion and releasing toxins. And they lower the risk of heart disease, due to the high levels of Polyphenol.
Like having clear skin? Strawberries are packed full of Vitamin C, which contributes to collagen. This helps with the elasticity of your skin. Healthier skin breathes better. Like their blue brother, the nutrients in strawberries help regulate blood pressure and inflammation. It’s also good for prenatal health as it has Folate.
How to have them: on their own, in smoothies, sprinkled on cereal or oats, on top of pancakes, with yoghurt or ice cream, in fruit salads (even green salads), processed as jams and jellies.
3. Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate makes the list! Of course, it needs to be consumed in moderation, but dark chocolate has many benefits. The high content of cocoa can alter bad cholesterol (LDL), improving heart function and reducing the risk of stroke.
Cocoa contains antioxidants flavanols, which can lower blood pressure and stimulate the brain. Unlike other sugary chocolate, your skin is more protected as the flavanols improve blood flow and hydration. It also boosts the production of endorphins, having a positive effect on moods and stress levels. Who said healthy had to be boring?
Ways to have it: on its own, with yoghurt, mixed with oats or nuts.
>>Check out Tea Chocolate and Charms for great tips on Eating Chocolate on a Diet and more info<<
4. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans, Macadamias, Hazelnuts, Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, and more.
Nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, fat, and fiber. Protein plays a big role in your overall feeling. It’s especially important if you’re exercising regularly. This is because your body uses protein to repair torn muscle fibers from your workouts (rebuilding even stronger ones). A quick and easy source is nuts. In moderation, most are good for weight control, maintaining blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and promoting gut health.
Almonds have a higher level of vitamin E, which can reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, even cancer. Walnuts are one of the most important sources of polyphenols and are said to improve brain health (they’re even shaped like a brain to help you remember)!
If you’re not a fan of fish, you can get your Omega-3 from Walnuts, Chia seeds, or Pumpkin seeds. Why is this important? Because it’s an essential nutrient to protect your heart. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, are gluten-free, and have barely any calories. They’re so tiny, you can mix them into your meals and not even notice. Pumpkin seeds are great for magnesium and calcium and improve both heart and bone health.
Ways to have them: on their own, in a stir-fry, soups and casseroles, sprinkled on cereal and oats, mixed with rice, in smoothies or a salad.
This is high on the list of food that boosts energy. It’s a popular spice, used widely through Asia and the Middle East for yellow rice and curries. Turmeric is very active in removing free radicals. It combats most health issues, even helping with arthritis pain and aging (which helps your mobility in exercise).
It contains Curcumin, often used for medicinal purposes with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components. This is linked to positive effects on depression and anxiety too. It’s also considered an aid in cancer prevention. Being a natural blood thinner, turmeric boosts the liver and digestion system. Turmeric has plenty of ways to help you stay strong and alert.
Ways to have it: in a stir-fry, casseroles, soups, curries, and rice, even sprinkle it on your chicken or steak.
6. Dark Leafy Greens
Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Arugula, and more.
They mightn’t look as appetizing, but they are absolutely loaded with nutrients.
Broccoli is another high-ranking superfood. It improves heart, bone, and digestive health, reduces cholesterol, allergies and prevents cancer. It’s a natural blood thinner and helps the thyroid (which can affect weight control). It’s jam-packed with anti-aging components, improving eye health and skincare.
When it comes to Spinach, don’t think of the green sludge Popeye used to eat. Baby spinach is great in salads and an excellent source of iron. This is important because iron assists with the circulation of oxygen. Spinach prevents blood clotting and disease, high blood pressure, and kidney stones. And another great booster for the eyes and skin.
If you want a healthy gut, you can’t go past Kale. It’s an excellent aide to the liver, containing nutrients that promote detox activity. It reduces inflammation and is considered an anti-cancer agent. Being so low in calories, it’s a must for your diet. The taste is bitter, but you can easily disguise this.
Ways to have them: in a stir-fry, casseroles, soups, omelets, scrambled eggs, salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
This is a type of food that boosts energy and flavour. For centuries it’s been used to treat all sorts of ailments including bronchitis, high blood pressure, and liver disorders. It regulates blood sugars and the immune system overall. Garlic prevents insulin resistance and keeps your metabolism in working order. Having a good metabolism affects weight loss by burning body fat for energy.
The main ingredient is allicin which contains sulfur. This helps the body fight viruses, and garlic is considered a great cure for colds. It can also be used for all sorts of skin conditions, including rashes, cold sores, and acne. Garlic helps you feel great (and let’s not forget, it keeps those vampires and creepy guys away).
Ways to have it: crush slice or mince before cooking. You can add it to all your cooking, according to taste.
Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Split peas, Canalini beans, Baked beans, Soybeans, Peanuts, Lentils, and more.
Another great source of protein, which is necessary for an active lifestyle. They contain plenty of fiber to keep you feeling full, which helps your metabolism and weight control. Not to mention, it keeps you regular.
Legumes are rich in vitamin B, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and more. The zinc helps your nervous system, boosting your immunity and energy levels. Lentils are good for blood sugars and heart health. They’re low in calories with a ton of nutrition, making them a super snack. Curb your chip craving with crunchy oven-roasted chickpeas.
Ways to have it: boiled or roasted, have it on toast, add it to a stir-fry, soups, casseroles, salads, lasagna, tacos, add to a smoothie, or make Hummus dip.
Extra Tips for Food that Boost Energy
- Nutritionists recommended ‘eating a rainbow’ by including all sorts of coloured vegetables.
- Eating dark coloured vegetables can be beneficial as they’re made up of phytochemicals that protect them from disease.
- Foods rich in folate (like spinach and legumes) can aid pregnancy and fertility. Magnesium helps with hormones progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
- There are more superfoods out there, such as ginger, salmon, eggs, oatmeal, olive oil, and apples to name a few. You can view a more comprehensive list here.
There’s no time like the present to improve your health. Reclaim your energy and sharpen your mind.
Start simple by taking a tub of blueberries to work. If you’re not a big breakfast eater, try a veggie smoothie instead. There’s plenty of ways to make them taste like a normal shake. Explore great recipes online.
By eating better, you’ll feel less drowsy → being less drowsy, you’re more likely to stick to your workouts → by exercising regularly, you’ll increase your energy. It’s a triumphant cycle!
Why not share your favourite superfood recipe below?