If you’re like most people, you prefer to not have your meals and snacks slow you down. After all, there are few things worse than that feeling you get after eating a meal and then realizing that you can’t seem to find the energy to move yourself any further than to the couch. Who wants to live like that?
Although food is often thought of as something that brings families together, heals emotional wounds and rights all wrongs, but that is not what it’s meant to be. It is supposed to be used for one purpose and one purpose only – to give your body the nutrients it needs to function at optimal capacity. (Sure, it’s nice when it tastes great too, but that is secondary to what it does for your body, which is give it energy.)
Some foods are better at energy production than others. For instance, if you eat a meal that contains a lot of simple carbohydrates such as breads and pastas, you likely know what it’s like to be weighted down and left feeling lethargic. And, snacks or desserts that are high in sugar may initially give you a surge of get-up-and-go, but all too soon leave you with a blood sugar crash that leaves you feeling like a tire that has lost its air.
Luckily, there are certain foods that you can eat that will keep you up and running so you can easily manage your hectic schedule and have energy to spare. These are foods that essentially fill your biological gas tank with premium petro.
What are they?
Really, most leafy greens will get you the energy you need to make it through your day, but spinach packs one heck of a nutrient punch in the process. One serving gives you more than half of the vitamin A you require daily to help put some pep in your step and it also has folate which has been found to fight depression – a bonus for anyone that wants to feel good inside and out.
A lot of professional athletes take advantage of this natural energy booster to help them improve their performance. Although it is sweet as can be, it scores very low on the glycemic index (which rates how particular foods affect your blood sugar levels) which means that it won’t put your blood sugar on the roller coaster that other sugary substances normally do.
A lot of people try to avoid nuts because they’re higher in fat, but it’s the heart healthy kind so as long as you don’t eat a ton of them, you’re doing your body good. Almonds make a great protein infused snack or addition to a meal, giving your muscles the energy and endurance they need to get you from breakfast to bedtime with more than enough oomph to get everything you want done completed. They also have co-enzyme Q-10 which is like giving your body an extra shot of energy!
Not only is salmon a great protein source which is ultimately energy in and of itself, but it also contains heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. These keep your joints and muscles from feeling inflamed and stiff, which will help you endure those long days at work which are almost always followed by family functions at night without being sore and feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck.
While we’re on food that are high in protein, eggs absolutely have to be included in the mix as they are extremely high in this energy based nutrient. In fact, they have almost 7 grams per egg! Some people shy away from this particular food due to its cholesterol. However, studies show that as long as you eat them in moderation the cholesterol in them doesn’t affect the cholesterol in your blood. Researchers suggest you’ll be fine as long as you don’t eat more than two a day.
Although a lot of carbs are known for giving you energy only to leave you in a slump shortly thereafter, complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal stay with you longer. That means that they help you keep hunger at bay while allowing for a steady release of energy for hours to come.
7. Sweet Potato
Just as oatmeal is a carbohydrate that will give you energy, so too will the sweet potato. In addition to keeping you going strong all day long, it has vitamins A and C to keep your body and immune system healthy and strong and the fiber in it will keep your tummy content in the process.
Not only is this food great as a snack, sweet dessert or addition to a dinner salad, it also helps keep your strength and stamina after you eat it. Apples contain a lot of healthy nutrients, such as vitamin C and other antioxidants which will strengthen your immune system – making it like a fortress against germs that try to invade it. Just keeping yourself free from any energy draining bugs and illnesses will improve your daily drive all on its own.
9. Dark Chocolate
Surprised to see this on the list? It isn’t a typo; it’s true. The flavanols in dark chocolate have been found to increase your brain power by improving blood flow to that beautiful head of yours. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can eat massive amounts of it and say that you’re doing it because it will make you smart. The key, as with anything, is moderation and this is definitely one case where there is such thing as too much of a good thing.
Because they are both complex carbs and proteins, beans make great energy boosters – both short and long term. Plus, a lot of vegetarians may find it difficult to get enough protein in their diet, so this is one way to do just that. Add them to your salads or make them into side dishes for tasty energy enhancers.
Adding foods like these to your diet will keep your energy levels up so you can tackle your to-do list with gusto and determination. Start eating them today so you can enjoy the benefits immediately.