Tuesday, January 15, 2013

10 foods for LASTING ENERGY

By Richard Rutledge, 1952.

Do you lack energy and stamina throughout the day or have that afternoon slump where you just feel so exhausted? Incorporate these energy-revving foods into your diet to keep your mind and body buzzing all day long!

Oats: aside from being dee-licious, oats are low GI, meaning they’re broken down slowly by the body to provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day. They’re full of fibre, too, so they’ll also help normalise digestion, as well as keep blood sugar stable.

Spinach: there’s a reason why low iron levels (or anemia) causes lethargy. Foods high in iron increase red blood cells in the body, which are responsible for supplying oxygen to the brain and increasing your energy levels. Foods high in iron include red meat, beans, broccoli and some nuts, all of which provide you with fuel to help keep you feeling alert and energised. 

Bananas: these tasty yellow treats are great snacks, especially for those doing exercise as they contain potassium, which helps maintain nerve and muscle function. Bananas are also a rich source of energy-boosting B-vitamins, which give you that instant oomph when you start to feel an afternoon lull setting in.

Whole grains: the body uses the carbs found in whole grains to produce glucose, which provides your body with energy. Whole grains found in things like multigrain breads, brown rice/pasta and oats will keep you fuller for longer periods of time and provide you with sustained energy to keep you feeling vibrant and energised.

Quinoa: this South American ‘sacred’ grain is high in protein and fibre and contains a rich variety of minerals. Super easy to cook (you make it just like rice), it’ll help you get through those days when you feel like you’ve hit a wall! Use it as a base for a salad, as an accompaniment to your dinner, or even sprinkle it over your food for an extra nutrient hit.

Salmon: this fish is full of powerful nutrients including protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein helps to rebuild muscle cells, which is important for everyone – especially those living an active lifestyle – while omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in heart, brain and skin health. 

Apples: if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up snack, apples are the way to go. Apples contain natural sugars, fibre, vitamin C, and boron – a mineral that helps keep you alert and enhances healthy bone/muscle growth.

Trail Mix: nuts are loaded with protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates, all of which are rich sources of energy. Avoid unhealthy trail mixes that contain choccie pieces and fried banana chips (sorry ladies!) by creating your own energy mix at home. Choose dried fruit that is free from sulphur and low in added sugar.

Beans, lentils and chickpeas: these power-foods are all packed with protein, carbs and fibre, which provide a great source of all-round energy for your body. Try adding beans and lentils to salads or soups, or for a nutrient-rich snack, hummus (full of chickpeas) and veggie sticks are a gem!

Low-fat dairy products: for an easy snack option that’s high in protein and calcium (good for sustained energy and strong bones), try adding Greek yoghurt to cereal, or low-fat cottage cheese to whole grain crackers for an afternoon shot of energy. 

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