Foods You Should Eat to Increase Energy and Vitality
Feeling a loss of energy, concentration, and mental alertness in the early afternoon is common for many people. In part, this is due to the body’s natural circadian rhythms. The energy drop may also be the result of the food you consume. Adults, in general, tend to feel a loss of daytime energy as they age. Remedies to combat afternoon fatigue include taking a short power nap, exercising or going for a walk. These options may not be practical in some situations. A better and longer-term solution can be found by including specific foods in your daily diet.
Consuming a candy bar or a sugary drink is not a real solution. You may get a quick energy boost but then feel even more tired when the sugar rush wears off. What your body and brain require are foods that are high in fiber and that provide a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Grains & Nuts
Your body digests whole grains more slowly than other foods. The benefit is greater stability in both blood sugar and energy levels. Oatmeal, an excellent source of fiber and carbs, provides a healthy way to start your day. Oats, in general, work to reduce the risk of heart disease and provide Vitamin B essential for transforming carbs into energy. Replacing white bread with a whole grain option is also a wise choice.
Brown rice contains a high level of manganese, which breaks down proteins and carbs and converts them into energy.Unlike starchy white rice, brown rice is less processed and contains higher nutritional value. The fiber content helps to regulate blood sugar levels and sustain an even energy level throughout the day.
Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios will all provide a quick boost to your energy level. They contain magnesium and vitamins B and E, which reduce stress and fatigue. Pistachios are high in both fiber and protein. Even peanut butter, when used in moderation, is an energy booster. Choose an all-natural brand to reduce sugar content.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating one orange not only provides the recommended daily dose of vitamin C but also contributes natural sugars and fiber to sustain energy levels. Oranges contain antioxidants, which can reduce feelings of stress. To obtain the full benefit, you need to consume the entire orange except for the peel. Apples are also a great source for carbs, fiber, and antioxidants. The best results come from eating the whole apple, peel and all, rather than simply consuming apple juice.Bananas offer another energy stimulating option. They provide potassium and electrolytes with the added benefit of high fiber content.
Other energy-producing fruits include raspberries, cherries, blackberries, pears, and strawberries. Fruit works great as a stand-alone snack you can toss in your bag or briefcase or as an ingredient in a salad, on cereal or when combined in a smoothie. Yogurt, which is, by itself, an excellent energy-producing snack containing carbs, protein and important vitamins, can also be enhanced by topping it with your favorite fruit.
If your diet preference tends toward the vegetarian side of the menu, you can choose from a wide selection of items rich in manganese, vitamins, iron, and other energy-producing nutrients. These include asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, and artichokes.
Salmon and tuna are often referred to as brain foods. They contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to improve memory, mood, and energy. A tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread provides an excellent energy boost to work through the afternoon. Adding tuna or salmon to a lunch salad also serves to enhance alertness and eliminate feelings of fatigue.
Honey, Chocolate, and Coffee
Consuming a moderate amount of honey will boost your energy in just minutes. Honey contains important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals plus natural sugars. Combine it with oatmeal for a double dose of energy.
Dark chocolate contains a natural stimulant similar to caffeine. Snacking on a small amount can generate a large energy boost plus an improved mood. Antioxidants improve blood flow, which, in turn, increases oxygen to the brain-stimulating alertness and focus.
Coffee is a natural go-to drink for many who feel the need for a little energy boost. The caffeine content, which quickly passes from the bloodstream to the brain, often results in a quick jump in both alertness and focus. An average cup of coffee contains few calories as long as you don’t start adding, sugar, cream, and flavorings.
Both the quantity and quality of food eaten during the day impact energy levels. Replacing some of the foods in your diet with these energizing options should result in sustained vitality plus improved concentration and focus, enhancing your productivity all day long.