8 Energy-Boosting Eating Tips
Courtesy of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging, Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet.
Looking for a natural energy boost? Start with what’s on your plate – what you eat can have a powerful effect on your everyday performance. By choosing your meals and snacks wisely, you can help avoid daytime fatigue. Try the following and see how your energy levels are affected.
- Become a grazer. A large meal can trigger your body to release more insulin, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to drop and leaving you in a fatigue-inducing slump. Skipping meals only deprives your body of needed calories, and sets you up for energy-draining overeating at your next meal. Instead, eat smaller meals or healthy snacks throughout the day, which will help keep blood sugar levels steady.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue, so be sure you’re drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of good quality water each day, especially during exercise or hot weather. Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks not only dehydrate you, but can sap energy as well.
- Snack right. Don’t blindly choose energy bars (which tend to be high in fat), and avoid candy or cookies (which can give you an immediate sugar high, but set you up for a slump later on). Instead, try healthier snacks that contain some protein, carbohydrates, and beneficial fats or ones which are whole food, low-fat options. Good options include a handful of unsalted nuts, fresh or dried fruit, yogurt, vegetable sticks, and wholegrain bread or crackers.
- Check your vitamin C levels. People with higher blood levels of vitamin C appear to have more energy than those with lower levels. This could be because vitamin C influences the production of L-carnitine, an amino acid that helps your body burn fat for energy. The best way to get plenty of vitamin C is from oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwis, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
- Fiber from beans. Navy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all rich in fiber (which slows the release of insulin). They provide carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals as well.
- Energizing oatmeal. While whole grains in general are healthy, oatmeal has additional benefits: It’s naturally high in fiber, which helps keep blood-sugar levels stable and contains B vitamins, which are essential to convert carbohydrates into energy. Choose steel cut or Irish oatmeal over rolled oats.
- Nuts for nuts. The perfect energizer? Try a nut butter sandwich. Start with a slice of fiber-packed wholegrain bread and then top it with cashew, almond, or another nut butter for a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
- The portable snack. Packed with potassium, bananas can replenish this important mineral, which is lost during exercise. Other good energizing fruits include grapes, apples, peaches, and pineapple.