My top 11 foods for boosting your energy!

Outlining the best foods to help avoid energy slumps

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Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@EmmaThornton
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19 March 2018

Modern day, hectic lives are depleting us of energy!

For those who run on empty during the day or are fuelled up on caffeine or sugar, it’s no wonder you experience those crashes in energy. You need to put some effort into fuelling yourself throughout the day and that means by incorporating sustainable breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Eating fresh is key and here I run through some ingredient options you’ll definitely want to start including more of!

1. Oats

 

Start the day with some good old oatmeal to help get you off to a good start. Whether you buy rolled or instant oats (just don’t opt for the flavoured varieties with lots of added sugar), although the cooking time and texture may vary slightly, you’ll be glad to know that the nutritive qualities are much the same. You’ll get a good dose of B vitamins which help convert your food into energy, and a source of slow release carbs which will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Add a dollop of peanut butter for an extra dose of nutrients and protein which will keep you going until lunch!

2. Coconut oil

 

Nowadays too many of us are wary of fats, when in fact; we need good quality fats to use for fuel! Coconut oil contains a special kind of fats called medium-chain triglycerides which are used more quickly for energy. So, get your fix and get in the habit of using coconut oil in your cooking – it’s especially tasty in homemade curries or stir-fries. 

3. Salmon

A portion of salmon for dinner means you’re getting a good dose of protein but also some anti-inflammatory omega-3. Omega 3 is an ‘essential nutrient’ meaning we can’t manufacture it in our bodies and need to obtain it through our diet instead. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain so upping your daily dose could help to support your cognitive functions in the long-term, but also helping to keeping you feeling alert and supporting your memory throughout the course of the day.

4. Cinnamon

Perfect for adding to breakfasts or snacks, cinnamon is not only rich in antioxidants needed to help defend against damage by free radicals, but it can also help protect against wobbly blood sugar levels. Peaks and troughs in blood sugar (as a result of eating sugary treats, refined carbs or even caffeine, for example) are a nightmare if you’re trying to feel energised for longer. So, add more cinnamon to your diet to help keep those blood sugar levels more stable.

5. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are another good source of omega-3, but did you know that they could also help keep you feeling fuller for longer and help maintain energy levels? They’re a perfectly balanced food (hence the superfood title) containing impressive proportions of protein, fat (including omega-3), and good quality carbohydrates in the form of fibre. The fibre content in particular, is super important. These little seeds contain mainly soluble fibre which has a unique ability to bind water which you’ll notice if you use them in recipes! They go almost gelatinous and in your tummy which helps to keep you feeling full up and fuelled for longer.

6. Goji berries

 

Another so-called ‘superfood’, these berries really are super boosting. Much like cinnamon, goji berries have been used traditionally to help support blood sugar levels – always a good sign when it comes to supporting your energy, and they contain so many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that they are literally nutrient packed. From zinc to magnesium, we need a number of these different nutrients to help support energy processes in the body and these tick all the boxes, plus they taste great – ideal for adding to breakfast or a smoothie.

7. Walnuts

 

Some may say there’s a reason that walnuts are shaped like a brain; they are packed with brain-boosting omega-3! Good quality fats also help to slow gastric emptying which means they can help to keep us feeling full for longer and supply a steadier stream of energy. This is ideal for coupling with carbohydrates to help slow the release of the glucose we need for energy. Plus, walnuts work well in both sweet and savoury dishes!

8. Spinach 

 

Often when people consider boosting their energy the mineral iron springs to mind. In women of childbearing age (especially if heavy periods are an issue), low iron may indeed be a problem, in which case, leafy greens will make an excellent addition to your diet. Spinach is also rich in nitrates which help to fuel our mitochondria – the little power houses responsible for generating energy within cells all over our body. Without our mitochondria working efficiently, we’ll most certainly run into problems and energy slumps may become more apparent. So, it seems there is more reason than one to get stocked up on the spinach!

9. Leeks 

Leeks are yet another vegetable rich in essential vitamins and minerals including B vitamins and iron, but they are also unique in that they act as a prebiotic. Prebiotics act as food for the bacteria in our gut, and preliminary research has suggested that by supporting the health of your gut through the use of prebiotics, you could improve your sleeping pattern1. Better sleep is unsurprisingly an important factor when it comes to supporting your sleep so we could be on to a winner here. In addition to prebiotics foods which include onions, leeks, chicory and artichoke, why not add some Molkosan to your regime to help support the gut more consistently.

10. Chestnuts 

Chestnuts boast impressive nutritive profiles; as well as being high in fibre they are also rich in vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and essential amino acids. Amino acids help support our sleep, but also repair processes in the body. If your body is under pressure repairing and renewing then we can feel more sluggish as a result!

Chestnuts also make a nice alterative to red meat; why not try making a tasty nut loaf in the kitchen for a filling dinner option? Just like repair work, we know that consuming red meat is particularly taxing on the system as we require more energy to help break it down – ever find you feel sleepier after a heavy meal? This is why – more energy is being diverted towards your digestive system. Eat lighter and focus on more plant-based foods and you’ll soon feel the difference. 

11. Beetroot

 

Beetroot, much like spinach, is high in nitrates which may help to boost your endurance. Studies have shown that it can help to improve athletic performance by influencing blood flow and increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. However, as well as your muscles, it seems that beetroot could also have an impact on boosting brain power too2. This means by adding more to your diet you could end up feeling more alert and help to keep those cognitive functions ticking over. Try roasting some off in the oven with some rosemary or add some vibrant Beetroot Juice to sauces, stocks or smoothies. 

As well as all of those wonderful fresh ingredients to help get you back on track, why not try adding a sachet of Balance Mineral Drink to your daily regime too.  It contains energy boosting levels of magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, and calcium and tastes great simply added to water or mixed into smoothies!

 

1. Thompson RS, Roller R and Mika A, et al. Dietary Prebiotics and Bioactive Milk Fractions Improve NREM Sleep, Enhance REM Sleep Rebound and Attenuate the Stress-Induced Decrease in Diurnal Temperature and Gut Microbial Alpha Diversity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2017; 10 

2. Presley TD, Morgan AR and Bechtold E et al. Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults. Nitric Oxide, 2011, 24(1), (34-42)

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