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Healthy Foods That Boost Energy
Need a midday energy boost? Steer clear of the candy and caffeine. Instead, try these healthy foods to energize your afternoon.
How to Snack for High Energy Throughout the Day
You could immediately reach for a cup of coffee or a bag of candies to give you a quick boost when you’re feeling low on energy. It makes sense that when we need a boost of energy, we would want to reach for some caffeine, chips, or cookies. However, too much caffeine has the opposite effect of a jolt. And since they increase serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate mood, quickly digesting carbohydrates like sweet drinks, white bagels, pretzels, and candies give you a little rush of pleasure before sending your blood sugar soaring and sending you into a fall.
The ensuing drop in blood sugar promotes appetites for more energy-draining meals, adds Kari Kooi, RD, of the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center in Texas. She claims that foods high in protein, fiber, and complex carbs are best for boosting energy. She claims that when you consume this combination, the food’s energy acts as a time-released capsule, gradually releasing its contents into your bloodstream to sustain you for several hours.
Foods with no or little additives are the foundation of a wholesome, energizing snacking strategy. Nuts, plain yogurt, and healthy grains are examples of foods that will keep your snacks low in calories and high in satiating energy.
A brain chemical that controls concentration is produced more often as a result of protein in particular. According to Kooi, “Protein enhances focus, making you feel alert and on top of your game.” A well-timed, protein-rich snack can give you an instant pick-me-up and keep you full for hours when the mid-afternoon energy dip arrives. For what she refers to as “power nibbles that will perk you up when there is no time for a power sleep,” she advocates combining proteins and fiber-rich carbs.
Smart snacking can contribute to a plan for a longer, healthier life overall in addition to improving your day-to-day functionality. Better everyday decisions can help you control your urges, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases in the long run.
Additionally, researchers believe that altering your diet, even if very little, may lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. You can provide your body the nutrition it requires to function, and to function at its best, by choosing wisely when you snack.
Here are some excellent choices for nourishing, energizing small eats. While some are wise options for a lunchtime meal that will fuel you through the afternoon, others are fantastic on-the-go snacks.
Almonds: Full of Motivating Magnesium and Vitamin B
Almonds are a superstar in the snack world, as they contain important nutrients, like magnesium and B vitamins, that help convert food to energy. “Research shows that people with low magnesium levels tend to tire more quickly during exercise due to magnesium’s role in energy metabolism,” explains Rachel Berman, RD, CDN, author of Boosting Your Metabolism for Dummies. Insufficient B vitamins can lead to fatigue, irritability, and poor concentration. Stick to one serving — 1 ounce (oz), or about 23 nuts — to keep calories in check.
Popcorn: Packed With an All-Fiber, No-Guilt Crunch
Whole-grain carbohydrates are a snack with staying power. “Thanks to fiber, whole grains help prevent the blood-sugar crashes that happen after consuming refined or simple carbohydrates,” Berman says. Popcorn is a smarter pick than other crunchy snacks, like chips, since it’s a whole grain that’s low in calories — as long as you don’t douse it with butter, salt, or oil. It also provides volume and so tends to keep you satisfied longer than chips and crackers. Ditch flavored microwave popcorn and try popping your own kernels, then season them with herbs and spices.
Peanut Butter: High in Good Fats, Protein, and Satisfaction
Although peanut butter is a calorie-dense food, a little goes a long way in providing a great-tasting energy boost. Its healthy fats, protein, and fiber help stave off hunger and keep blood sugar levels stable. Instead of covering your morning toast with butter or jelly, which are devoid of protein and fiber, top slices with an all-natural nut butter that contains nothing but nuts, Berman suggests. Just be sure to avoid brands with added sugars, and stick to a 2-tablespoon serving.
Salmon: Rich in Brain-Boosting Omega-3s
Salmon isn’t called a “brain food” for nothing. The rich-tasting fish earns the moniker from its omega-3 fatty acids: nutrients that have been found to reduce depression as well as boost mood, Berman says. The healthy fats also make salmon a smart choice for your heart, as they help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, which can raise your risk for cardiovascular disease. Plus, the high protein count promotes satiety, which makes it a great energizing dinner option for those trying to lose weight.
Bananas: Potassium Pumps Up Your Workout
Bananas are nature’s prepacked and portable healthy snack. They’re filled with fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium — nutrients that promote sustained energy and muscle function, Berman says. Bananas are particularly appealing as a pre- or postworkout snack. Pair a banana with a glass of low-fat milk or a cup of yogurt for an energizing combination of fiber and protein — a combo that also makes a great breakfast to start your day.
Kale: Amino Acids and Antioxidants Will Keep You Alert
Use nutrient-rich kale as the foundation of your salad instead of iceberg lettuce to give it an energy boost. In addition, kale tastes fantastic chopped into soups, sautéed as a side dish, and combined with whole-wheat pasta. According to Berman, kale contains the amino acid L-tyrosine, which may help you feel more energised, as well as a lot of antioxidants and fiber to help you feel full and maintain a stable blood sugar level.
Oatmeal: Fiber Makes a Long-Burning Fuel
Oatmeal is a staple on any nutritionist’s list of quick and easy breakfast options. Its high fiber content accounts for how satisfying and energizing it is to eat.
According to Melinda Johnson, RD, director of the didactic program in dietetics at Arizona State University in Phoenix and incoming president of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, fiber takes a long time to digest, so having oatmeal for breakfast will keep you going all morning long. You won’t need to drink another cup of coffee to feel motivated and focused when your blood sugar levels are stable.
Pistachios: Packed With Powerful Protein and Fiber
Pistachios are a powerful source of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, making them the ideal snack. According to Kooi, pistachios are the perfect food for sustained energy because of their high protein content. Though nuts are calorie-dense, 25 pistachios have only 100 calories, and the fact that you have to remove the shell slows you down and prevents overeating.
Hummus: Protein-Rich Dip With a Nutritious Kick
Pureed garbanzo beans, sesame-based tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice are the only few basic components in the Mediterranean dip known as hummus, all of which provide nutrients for energy. According to Kooi, the fiber and protein in the beans help to regulate blood sugar, tame appetite, and increase energy.
Hummus makes a fantastic mid-afternoon snack when used as a dip for nutrient-rich vegetables like red pepper strips or carrot sticks. In place of mayonnaise, you can also use it as a sandwich spread.
Greek Yogurt: A Creamy, Substantial Energy Solution
When it comes to yogurt, Greek varieties can deliver twice the amount of hunger-satisfying protein as regular offerings (with 17 grams per 6-oz container), making it a supercharged breakfast, lunch, or snack.
“The thick, indulgent texture is the perfect canvas for a variety of toppings that can make it even more substantial,” Kooi says. Mix in fresh berries and chopped nuts for a nutrient-packed treat. Make sure you select nonfat Greek yogurt that’s low in added sugar to keep calories at around 100 per container.
8 Fruits That Elevate Mood & Boost Energy
If you want to improve your mood and increase your energy, try these delectable fruits.
One’s mood is affected by a number of variables. Our lifestyle, diet, and frequency of exercise have a big impact on how we feel. Although external variables can momentarily change one’s mood, they have a longer-term effect on our mental health.
A particularly healthy dietary category is fruits. Fruits are bursting with nutrients that help our bodies function properly. Numerous fruits have been directly connected to raising our mood. While some foods may help with stress reduction, others encourage the release of feel-good chemicals.
Here are 8 fruits that elevate our mood:
Blueberries have been proven to boost brain functions. This fruit is rich in antioxidants which have been directly linked to boosting mood, improving memory, and promoting better cognitive functions. Blueberries also possess anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to improve various mental disorders.
Coconut is another refreshing fruit linked to improving mood. Some studies show coconuts may possess the ability to protect brain functions and their ageing. Coconut is also readily available in various forms such as coconut sugar, coconut milk, shredded coconut, etc.
Tomatoes thought cooked as vegetables are scientifically considered fruits. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant extremely beneficial for the human body and mind. Tomatoes with skins provide various nutrients and may boost energy levels.
Bananas are fruits rich in fibre which gives them a confusing reputation. However, bananas are very beneficial for our health. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 which has been proven to promote better cognitive functioning. It also helps elevate mood and has been proven to reduce menstrual issues that may be a cause of low mood.
Apricots may be one of the less popular fruits but are packed with nutrients. Apricots are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. Both of these components have been linked to improving mood and boosting energy levels. Under some studies, these components have been linked to even improving chronic mood disorders.
Lemon is another fruit that may not seem like one. Lemons are rich in vitamins and water, both of which have been linked to improving mood. This citrusy fruit is refreshing and acts as an instant energy boost if incorporated with some water and mint leaves.
Watermelon is very rich in water as about 90% of it is water. Studies show lack of water in the body or dehydration can cause a decline in mood and lack of energy. These feelings may be curbed with watermelon and watermelon juice.
Oranges are another fruit group abundant in water. It is also rich in potassium and vitamin C. All three of these components have been linked to elevating mood. Vitamin C might even reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
In conclusion, what we eat has a great impact on our state of mind. How we may be feeling can be the body’s response to certain deficiencies. Hence, it is important to watch out for what your body may be indicating. Fruits may not be the solution to chronic mood disorders but are effective in elevating mood. Exercising and bettering your lifestyle may also pose helpful in improving your day-to-day mood.
10 Foods to Energize Your Afternoon
Even the finest among us experience fatigue. After a sleepless night or during a mid-afternoon slump, coffee, sweets, and energy drinks may seem like the simple solution. Unfortunately, that fast cure also has a fast track to failure. The good news is that there are many wholesome solutions available to boost your energy.
Choose foods that will take longer to digest and consequently give you more energy, such as those that are high in protein, fiber, complex carbs, and magnesium. Combine stimulating snacks for a stronger impact, such as grapefruit and cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and berries. Getting plenty of water might also be beneficial because even slight dehydration can make you feel exhausted.
One eight-ounce cup of coffee in the morning is great, but instead of getting more, choose one of these ten options for a more wholesome energy boost.
Nuts have additional nutrients to replenish your electrolyte supply in addition to protein and fiber that help you stay active. You can sustain yourself throughout a long afternoon with a peanut butter sandwich for lunch or a handful of almonds for a snack.
Pick walnuts to increase your intake of melatonin, the hormone your body produces at night to control your circadian rhythm.
Fruit’s complex nutritious carbs can satisfy your sweet taste while also giving you more energy. Melons are a particularly good option since they have a lot of water, which keeps you hydrated and gives you more energy.
One of the most nutrient-dense food combinations includes protein and complex carbohydrates. They can be found in Icelandic or Greek yogurt and work together to halt digestion for longer-lasting energy.
Healthy spreadable cheeses, cottage cheese, or milk can be included in a snack that will give you more energy. A study indicates that drinking milk at night promotes muscle growth and recovery in addition to replacing electrolytes thanks to the protein and carbohydrates included in dairy products.
Fiber, protein, complex carbs and healthy fat are all present for a slowly digested, energy-amplifying snack. To get the most nutrition from your snack, avoid table salt and sodium-packed sauces.
6. Whole Grains
Complex carbs, check. Magnesium, check. Quinoa is a trendy and powerful grain – the only type with a complete protein – and classic brown rice will never go out of style.
Slowly digested protein and fiber extends the energy boost of beans, while a healthy dose of magnesium relaxes the body so it can rest.
The combination of protein, complex carbs and fiber means even a half-cup of cooked lentils is providing a big boost of healthy energy. And they cook in a fraction of time it takes to make beans!
Great for a powerful start to the day, the protein, iron and zinc in eggs give you energy and helps to maintain blood sugar levels at the same time.
When caffeine is the only answer, opt for green or black tea for a healthy boost to keep you going. Added bonus? The energy boosting amino acid in green tea may also protect against tiresome illness like the cold or the flu.
4 ways to boost your energy naturally with breakfast
Healthful protein, slowly digested carbohydrates, fruit or vegetables serve up best morning mix
Your body is working diligently to digest the meal you had yesterday while you sleep. When you awaken, your body and mind are begging for new nourishment. An important strategy for waking up in the morning is “breaking the fast.” If you do it correctly, the advantages may last all day.
Dr. David S. Ludwig, a nutritionist at the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, warns that skipping breakfast can cause you to start the day with an energy deficit, forcing you to use up your stored energy.
What makes a tasty breakfast? a balanced diet that includes some lean protein, some slowly absorbed carbs, and some fruit or vegetables. It is acceptable to have a vegetarian omelet with a slice of whole-grain bread, as well as a bowl of high-fiber cereal with fresh fruit, reduced-fat or soy milk, and a few almonds or walnuts on top.
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Try these 4 ideas to make your own breakfast that will give you more energy:
- Choose whole grains. High-fiber, whole-grain cereals and breads can help keep your blood sugar on an even keel and avoid a mid-morning energy crash. With the hundreds of types of cereal on the market, bran cereal, bran flakes, and steel-cut oatmeal are typically the healthiest bets. To choose the healthiest breakfast cereal, read the label and look for:
- 5 grams or more of fiber per serving
- less than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving
- less than 5 grams of sugar per serving
- whole grain as the first item on the ingredient list
- Include protein. Yogurt is a good choice; Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt. Eggs (up to one a day) are okay for healthy people. Although yolks are high in cholesterol, eggs have proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients and don’t appear to increase the risk for developing heart disease. You might also include foods that have healthful fats such as those in nuts or salmon. Limit processed meats to the occasional treat as these foods are associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
- Eat in, not out. You can enjoy a healthful breakfast out if you stick to oatmeal. But much of the traditional fare will start your day with loads of refined carbohydrates and saturated fat. Like most processed food, the breakfast offerings from fast-food chains tend to be high-sodium, low-fiber disasters.
- Blend up a breakfast smoothie. Combine fruit, juice, yogurt, wheat germ, tofu, and other ingredients. Toss them in your blender with a bit of ice and you have a refreshing, high energy breakfast.