January 14th, 2017 | Diet & Health, Ask A Nutritionist
7 Ways to Eat for High Energy
For many of us, our energy drops the most around 2pm or 3pm in the afternoon. This is when that extra cup of coffee, pastry, cookie, or (insert food of choice) sounds extra good and the cravings begin. There is no doubt that these will all give you a quick boost of energy and taste delicious, but are the consequences worth it?
Food is fuel and with each bite, meal, and snack, we get the choice to influence how we feel, especially in regards to energy and productivity.
Based on information from BrainFacts.org and Society for Neuroscience, the brain uses up more than 20% of daily energy intake and demands high amounts of energy throughout the day. Additionally, research suggests that the foods we eat affect the structure and function of our brain.
Refined sugar and caffeine will give us a temporary boost in productivity, but ultimately will negatively affect our blood sugar (which then affects our mood, energy, emotions, sleep, etc. creating a negative feedback in regards to energy). Have you ever felt extra sleepy, moody, or in a brain fog after eating something sugary? Why not boost your energy in a sustainable way that keeps you feeling great all day and night?
Here are 7 foods and tips to keep you energized and ready for whatever comes your way
1. Balance Blood Sugar and Breakfast. Balancing blood sugar is the key to keeping energy consistent and this needs to start with breakfast. A simple way to start the day off right is to eat protein at breakfast with eggs being one of the best ways. Eggs contain B vitamins that provide an energy boost, protein that is highly absorbable, and fat that fuels the brain. Make sure to eat the egg yolks as that is where all the nutrition is.
2. Never Skip a Meal. Skipping a meal makes our energy and blood sugar hit rock bottom. Our brain, muscles, and every part of our body requires constant and consistent fuel. On top of that, when we get extra hungry we are more likely to crave sugar and refined foods and to reach for them! These foods just continue the negative cycle, fulfilling a need for instant gratification, yet making you feel tired and drained in the long run. If you feel tired, try having a healthy snack, such as, some nuts and understanding why you are tired. Did you get enough sleep, skip a meal, went too long between meals, or anything else? Start getting to know how your body reacts and responds to what you eat.
3. Drink Water. We all know how important water is, but there are so many different tasty and tempting drinks out there on the market. No matter what the marketers say, there is no drink as great as water for the body. Consider this - the body is made up of about 75% water and our brain tissue is about 85% water. Each and every cell needs water in order to function correctly and even slight dehydration can cause fatigue. If you are not a water drinker, consider flavoring plain or bubbly water with a touch of juice or making your own spa water by letting fruit, cucumber, mint, or anything else you like soak and diffuse into your water.
4. Foods Containing Magnesium. Magnesium plays a vital role is cell energy production and in over 300 biochemical reactions, including breaking down glucose into energy and metabolism. It is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. Even slight deficiencies can lead to a feeling of being drained. Try increasing magnesium-containing foods in your diet, such as, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans, and a variety of vegetables. A great way to easily do so is to make a yummy smoothie and add spinach to the mix.
5. Foods Containing B Vitamins. B Vitamins is a whole grouping of vitamins such as B12, Niacin, and many more. All of them support cellular energy production, although B12 tends to be the most notable and widely known in regards to energy. As a group these vitamins support the breakdown and utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, are essential to our nervous system, support our cardiovascular system, help balance blood sugar, and put that extra pop in our step. Many people can become B12 deficient due to compromised digestion or when eating a vegan diet and it may become helpful to supplement. However, you can find B Vitamins in a number of foods including animal products (especially liver and egg yolk), leafy greens, almonds, and many vegetables
6. Chia Seeds. Yes, these are the same seeds that are used with the Chia Pet. These little seeds pack a BIG punch as they can expand up to 10 times their size and hold up to 12 times their weight in water. This may not seem significant, but these seeds can help you stay hydrated (and do you remember how important water is in regards to energy production?). They are considered one of the most nutrient dense foods and a “runners food” as they fight inflammation, support recovery, improve endurance, and fight belly fat as noted by Fleet Feet. They contain a significant amount of protein, calcium, omega 3’s, protein, and other vital nutrients. Many people call Chia Seeds a “brain booster” due to the wide variety of nutrients packed into each little seed. You can toss these on a salad, in oatmeal, as a chia seed pudding dessert, and more.
7. Bone Broth. Bone broth is making a comeback. It has been used for centuries in traditional cultures as a way to utilize all parts of the animal, but is an amazing source of nutrition. Bone broth is different from normal broth due to the length of time it is cooked and the nutrient availability. As Sally Fallon Morrel from Weston A Price states, bone broth “contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily” including not only calcium, but magnesium as well. According to Dr. Axe, bone broth is particularly protective for joints, gut, skin, immune system, reducing inflammation, and promotes metabolism. On top of this, it contains wonderful electrolytes that add an additional boost of energy. Try adding it to the base of soups and sipping on it in the afternoons when you feel a little tired. It will give you a quick and sustainable boost of energy. On top of that, it might even reduce cravings as you replenish your body with the nutrients it needs.
Energizing Chia Seed Pudding
I love this Chia Seed Pudding that I adapted from one by Christine Byrne and Buzzfeed.
- ½ cup blackberries plus 5 whole or chopped blackberries
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon toasted and shredded coconut
- ½ tablespoon sliced or chopped almonds
- In a small mixing bowl, crush the ½ cup of blackberries with a fork into a thick jam like consistency.
- Add Chia Seeds, almond milk, vanilla extract, and coconut. Stir to combine and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to eat, garnish with additional blackberries and almonds.
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Kasin Anton, Nutritionist
Kasin Anton is a Nutrition Consultant who is passionate about improving peoples’ lives. She specializes in identifying the triggers holding people back physically, emotionally, and psychologically in order to maximize energy, reduce pain, improve focus, and optimize weight. For more information, get in touch with Kasin at her website www.kasinanton.com.