We could all use a little more energy in our lives. But are you eating the best foods available to provide your body with the nutrients to keep going all day? Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, eating the same foods, day in, day out. It’s time to shake things up a little. How many of these energy-boosting foods can you add to your diet this week?
Dark green leafy veggies are high in iron (which is necessary for carrying oxygen through the blood), as well as B vitamins necessary for energy and metabolism. Broccoli and spinach are wonderful examples and can easily be added to most meals.
Fruit – Nature’s energy boosters
A conveniently packaged energy booster, fruit contains vitamin C, A, and potassium. Bananas contain manganese and vitamin B6 which help support blood sugar control, mental energy and mood stabilisation. Berries are high in antioxidants and vitamins, and goji berries in particular high in protein, amino acids, and B vitamins.
Try: Adding a handful chopped banana or some berries to a chia pudding, slice some apple and spread with nut butter, or make a mixed fruit platter for your next dinner party or BBQ.
Small but packing a punch of magnesium, a range of B vitamins that all promote energy production, sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia and flaxseeds are a nourishing addition to any diet. Chia seeds are also full of essential fatty acids vital for brain and nervous system function, and our favourite grain-like seed, quinoa (yep – it’s a seed, not a grain!), is full of protein as well as magnesium and fibre. All of these seeds will release energy slowly and keep your blood sugar steady.
Try: Adding a variety of seeds to a trail mix, sprinkling on top of porridge, muesli, or chia pudding, or scatter them on top of a smoothie for a cheffy-looking, Instagram-worthy breakfast.
A small handful of raw or activated nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and other tree nuts contain essential fatty acids for optimal brain function, and protein and B vitamins to help regulate blood sugar.
High in protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids, salmon and eggs are brilliant energy sources that are also high in many of the B vitamins, as well as vitamin D. Vitamin D is involved not only in blood sugar regulation but in immune function and is often found to be low in those suffering from autoimmune disease. Choose wild caught, sustainable, and certified free range options where possible.
Dark Chocolate and Cacao
Good quality dark chocolate and raw unprocessed cacao are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, and stacks of other vitamins and minerals. Chocolate is also rich in tryptophan, an amino acid necessary for the serotonin pathway. A small amount of 70% or higher dark or raw chocolate will provide a boost in mood and energy levels. Just watch out for extra sugar and add-ins.
Spirulina & Blue-Green Algae
Get this superfood into your smoothies, stat! Spirulina is high in protein and both essential and non-essential amino acids, and contains almost all of the B vitamins. It’s rich in chlorophyll which helps get the blood a huge boost of oxygen, and contains iron in significantly higher quantities than even spinach itself. It’s even packed with antioxidants, beta-carotene and essential fatty acids. Phew!
Try: Adding to smoothies and juices. Spirulina is an acquired taste, and can be stimulating to the bowel at first, so start with a small amount (like half a teaspoon) and work your way up slowly.
Have a Tea Break
In naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and herbalism, Liquorice root tea is used as a tonic for balancing adrenals and regulating cortisol levels, thanks to a compound called glycyrrhizinic acid.
Try: Brewing 3 cups per day, and let it steep for 10 minutes each time to get the full effect.
Long favoured by naturopaths as a blood tonic, scientific studies have now found that beetroot juice helps athletes’ muscles work more efficiently, lowering their oxygen uptake. This effect was also seen during both low and high-intensity exercise in non-athletes. Beetroot is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, beta-carotene, and natural sugars that add a sweetness to vegetable juices.
Try: Beetroot, apple, carrot, celery and lemon juice (with a hint of ginger!), home made beetroot chips, or for something different, use beetroot powder together with chocolate in raw desserts.
A variety of foods is the key to any healthy diet, but it’s also important to choose these foods wisely. By nourishing your body with these nutrient-packed superfoods and tonic foods, you will give yourself the best possible opportunity to feel healthier and more energetic. Which energy boosters are you going to add to your diet this week?
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