In this day and age, where everything is fast paced and we often feel like there are not enough hours in a day, it’s essential to make sure we are nourishing our body with the correct foods. When we feel exhausted it’s very easy for us to reach for a sugary snack that provides a temporary boost in energy levels, only to result in a sugar crash that leaves us feeling more fatigued than ever. For sustained energy, it’s essential to eat complex carbohydrates, protein and fibre. Recharge your body’s batteries with these energy-boosting foods to kickstart your body into high gear.
1. Green leafy vegetables
Vegetables such as kale, spinach, Bok choy, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce are extremely high in antioxidants and are loaded with fibre, vitamins, minerals and other plant-based substances that you should be consuming regularly to improve your overall health and aid weight loss. Kale also contains the amino acid L-tyrosine which helps with focus, concentration and motivation.
2. Chia seeds
Though they may be small, these mighty chia seeds are high in protein, good fats and fibre to provide sustained energy without the crash. They don’t cause fluctuations in blood sugar or insulin levels to help prevent cravings and excess snacking, and can absorb 10 times their weight in water to support adequate hydration throughout the day.
Loaded with fibre, B vitamins and potassium – nutrients that provide sustained energy and muscle function, bananas are excellent energisers and convenient pre- and post-workout snacks. Being a complex carbohydrate and a rich source of fibre and protein, they are excellent for keeping cravings at bay.
Packed full of protein, manganese, copper and riboflavin, almonds are a superior snack to keep in your bag or at your work desk. Copper and manganese are essential for energy flow by counteracting toxins within cells. Almonds are also high in B vitamins and magnesium which aid the food to energy conversion. Magnesium is essential for energy production and can be very helpful for individuals who experience weakness, fatigue or depression.
Like other oily fish, salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids which are good for your brain, hormones, nervous system and liver, and if you are lacking in these vital nutrients you will feel tired, moody and have a sluggish metabolism. Salmon is also a rich protein source to promote fullness and aid weight control.
6. Citrus fruits
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes are high in vitamin C, potassium and folate to provide an instant boost in mood and energy levels. Their mood and energy boosting abilities is largely due to their high vitamin C content, as low vitamin C has been linked to irritability, depression and low energy. Citrus fruits are a perfect afternoon snack for when those cravings hit as they can perk up our mood, accommodate our sweet cravings, and improve focus and brain function.
Beans are nutritional powerhouses, due to their high amount of plant-based protein and fibre which are essential for energy balance. Their protein content promotes satiety, their carbohydrates provide energy and their fibre content helps to stabilise blood sugar levels. They are also bursting with antioxidants to protect the body against damage from free radicals.
8. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are high in plant-based protein, healthy fats and fibre to make you feel satiated and energised for longer. They are also one of the highest sources of magnesium, which is vital for energy production. Snack on a handful of raw pepitas or dry roasted pumpkin seeds to provide a natural burst of energy to help you power through a workout.
9. Goji berries
These small but mighty berries have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to increase energy production and enhance the release of hormones. Goji berries support the body during times of stress and help to promote a healthy mood, mind and memory.
10. Sweet potatoes
These golden vegetables provide a good dose of complex carbohydrates, which unlike simple carbohydrates take longer to be digested and provide the body with energy over a longer period of time. They are also high in beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C to help beat midday fatigue.
Loaded with protein, fibre and iron, quinoa is the perfect thing to grab when you are looking for an energy boost. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain or rice and has an extremely high amino-acid content making it a complete protein source.
High in fibre and providing a decent dose of protein, oats have a low glycaemic index which essentially means they help to stabilise blood sugar levels. In saying this, we are not referring to instant oats which are often full of sugar and salt, but traditional oats. Because oats are packed full of fibre, they make for a great breakfast option that will leave you feeling full until lunch time.
For more riveting tips on boosting your energy levels check out Dr Cabot’s book ‘Boost Your Energy’.