All foods give you energy in the form of calories, but some seem to rob you of your get-up-and-go, while others seem to give you a boost.
The reason they may help increase your energy levels is because of the energy-giving nutrients they contain. There are certain foods that have been proven to help improve your energy, and here is a list of some of them.
1. Brown Rice
Unlike processed white rice, brown rice is very nutritious. It contains as much as 3.5 grams of fibre in a 195 gram serving. It also provides around 88 per cent of the RDI for manganese, which is a mineral that helps your enzymes break down carbohydrates and proteins.
Because of the fibre content of brown rice, it has a low glycemic index. This could help keep your blood sugar levels stable through the day.
The ultimate fast food, bananas are one of the best foods for energy. They are a good source of carbs, potassium and vitamin B6, which can help boost your energy levels.
Eggs are a very satisfying food, and a good provider of energy. They are packed with protein, which doesn’t cause energy-sapping spikes in your blood sugar and insulin when digested.
Leucine is the most abundant amino acid in eggs, and can promote energy production in several ways. Eggs are also rich in B vitamins, which help enzymes in your body break down food for energy.
4. Dark Chocolate
Cocoa is full of antioxidants, which have many health benefits like increasing blood flow through the body. Dark chocolate is far richer in cocoa content than unhealthy milk chocolate.
The antioxidants in dark chocolate help deliver oxygen to the brain and muscles, which can be really helpful during exercise, and could also improve mood.
Quinoa is packed full of protein, but it also contains fibre, carbs and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Although it’s high in carbohydrates, it has a low glycemic index so it won’t lead to blood sugar and insulin surges.
Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, which is a soluble fibre that creates a thick gel when combined with water. This substance delays stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood.
Oats are also rich in B vitamins, iron and manganese.
7. Goji Berries
These berries are a good source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicines for centuries due to their health benefits.
Goji berry juice could provide antioxidant protection, decrease feelings of fatigue, and help with mental performance. You can eat them raw, or mix them in with yoghurt, smoothies and sauces.
You may be wondering why water made it on to this list, as it contains no beneficial vitamins, fibre or nutrients.
Simply put, water is essential to your body. It has a hand in many cellular functions, and that includes energy production.
If you don’t drink enough water and get dehydrated, you may well end up feeling sluggish and tired. People can become dehydrated very easily, so it’s wise to always keep some water with you and drink throughout the day.
Apples are a great source of carbs and fibre. The natural sugars in apples combined with the fibre provide a slow and steady energy release. Apples also have a high antioxidant content.
It’s best to eat apples whole rather than juicing or pureeing them. If you juice, you remove the fibre, which helps the apple to be digested properly.
10. Sweet Potatoes
If you want a good energy boost, try sweet potatoes. A medium sized sweet potato can contain 3.8 grams of fibre, manganese and a huge amount of vitamin A.
The fibre and complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes means your body digests them at a slow pace, giving you a steady supply of energy.
Hummus contains some great, healthy ingredients, and tastes gorgeous. It’s made with chickpeas, sesame seed paste, oil and lemon. Some varieties have extra herbs or spices added.
The sesame seed paste and olive oil used in making hummus contain healthy fats, which can help to slow down the absorption of carbs from the chickpeas. This helps you avoid the sudden surge of blood sugar, which can lead to fatigue.
Hummus isn’t expensive to buy, but it can also be made very easily and cheaply at home.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats and fibre. The healthy fats have been shown to promote optimal blood fat levels and enhance the absorption of nutrients.
The fibre in avocados accounts for a large amount of their carbohydrate content, which can also help maintain steady energy levels. They are also full of B vitamins.
Cheap and tasty, lentils are a great source of protein, carbs and fibre. One cup of cooked lentils contains up to 40 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fibre.
Lentils can also help you combat fatigue by replenishing your stores of folate, manganese, zinc and iron. These nutrients help in the effective production of energy at a cellular level.