Foods to boost your energy levels

Motivation, drive, planning, management – These are all important factors towards achieving your goals. Or are they? There is one essential point that everyone overlooks in order to achieve what you want: Health. Health is a combination of exercise and diet. For better mood and energy, you have to keep your blood sugar levels in check and get those feel good chemicals. Here are foods that boost energy and keep you on your toes.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are your basic fuel. Not having enough carbs can make you faint or feel dizzy. Though essential, they can be a bad option as well. You have to be careful which type of carbs you consume.

Some ‘good’ carbohydrates are: all vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, legumes (kidney beans, lentils), chia seeds and potatoes. In addition to this fibres are important carbs that will keep your blood sugar in check (whole wheat oats being one good example)

The carbs you must avoid are: white bread, all synthetic sugars – ice cream, cake, pastries, candies,etc.

Carbohydrates must be 1/4th of your total required calorie intake, which on average comes around 300g/day.

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Proteins

Your building blocks, even though required in less amounts (45-55g), they are needed by the body for perfect functioning and maintenance of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Some reasons as to why they are essential are:

  • They keep you active
  • Give you a steady metabolism
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels
  • Improve mood and heart health
  • Promote longevity.
  • They are natural energy boosters

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, beans and seeds are part of the Protein Foods Group. So get your meat on and if you are a vegan, soy is king!

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Liquids

Often overlooked, liquids are essential in every weather and in every part of the world because it is required by your body more than anything. Civilizations have always formed near water bodies, supplying clean water. You lose water by daily life processes. That simply put, the daily requirement for men is 3 litres and women is 2.2 litres. So get your water bottle ready. Replenishers like lemonade and water based drinks (non sugar) will keep you hydrated and replenish those important electrolytes that the body needs on regular basis.

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To maximize productivity and brain functioning, here are the essential foods to boost energy and mental strength.

Dry fruits

“A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline”. (source: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower) Vitamin E is essential to avoid cognitive decline.  Walnuts, almonds and Hazelnuts pack a punch of it.  They improve cognitive performance as well.

One study even shows that mothers who get enough DHA have smarter kids. A quarter cup of walnuts provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA. They also make you handle stress more easily. Also containing – Omega 3 Fatty acids, a significant oil which improves cognitive performance, guards against mental problems and cardiovascular problems. It is also present in significant amounts in Fish.

Essential vitamins and minerals

It might be difficult to eat a balanced diet while maintaining work-life balance, hence using good quality multi vitamins thrice a week will actually help you stay healthy. Take note that these are supplemental and not an alternative to your meals.

In moderation only

Coffee, tea and  dark chocolate show significant improvement in cognitive ability and increasing brain function.No wonder they have been so popular with busy people throught the decades. However, moderation must be exercised. Caffeine must be avoided after 3Pm, if you have sleep disturbances.

‘’Compounds in dark chocolate boost memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. (source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794461)

The flavonoids in chocolate have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain in young and old alike.

In one study, a single dose of flavonol-rich cocoa increased blood flow to the brain in healthy, young adults.’’(source: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/12/20/health.chocolate/)

Importance of breakfast

Breakfast must be the heaviest meal of the day as it fuels you for the day ahead. After almost a 12 hour fast, it is most important to stack up your body with energy efficient foods like eggs, milk and cereal. You must not lose on this to have a productive and busy day.

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Frequency of meals

There is much debate on this topic considering different body types, sizes and habits, but the fact remains that if you want to be charged all through the day, having smaller meals every 2-3 hours works much better than 2 heavy meals all day (which will end up making you feel dizzy instead). Timing is a big factor in boosting and maintaining good energy.

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The importance of a balanced diet has always been stressed upon in our lives and the reason is in front of you. Good food habits and diet is actually linked with higher intelligence and it would be foolish to miss out on some extra brain activity and synaptic connections just by tweaking your diet habits a little. So go on, update your shopping list and fill up that fridge with goodness!

  • ObnoxiusAnxiety

    Nicely written article. So Now I wont get guilty after eating.
    Makes me hungry. Yum.