Do you often resort to caffeine or unhealthy snacks when you start feeling tired during the day? There are plenty of healthy alternatives that can help us to maintain our energy levels throughout the day.
We must remember that although all foods are converted to energy, the energy conversion rates differ for each food. Refined sugar and white starches may give you an instant energy boost but leave you feeling tired quickly. Healthy unsaturated fats and whole grains on the other hand gives you an energy reserve you can use throughout the day. (Source)
So if you’re wondering how your diet may help you beat that midday energy drop that leaves you wanting to slump over your desk after lunch, check out these 5 foods proven to top up your energy levels throughout the day.
#1 – Nuts
Nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews and almonds are rich in magnesium which is vital for converting sugar to energy. They are also full of fibre which helps to stabilize your sugar and protein levels. (Source)
Keep a bag of nuts handy as a snack to maintain your energy levels throughout the day. The best would be to keep a bag of assorted nuts to get more benefits. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, almonds are full of vitamin E and macadamias are a rich source of healthy fats. These essential nutrients will help to maintain your energy reserve all through the day. (Source)
#2 – Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is another delicious, healthy and easy to eat snack that can help to maintain energy levels.
Go for organic, dark chocolate which is the healthy alternative to sugar-laden milk chocolates. Aim for chocolate bars that are made up of at least 75% coca. Dark chocolate contains flavanol which dilates cerebral blood vessels. This increases blood flow and allows more oxygen to reach important areas of the brain. This improves brain function and reduces fatigue. (Source)
#3 – Water Infused With lemon, Cayenne And Ginger.
Instead of your regular bottle of drinking water, keep a bottle of fresh water with a dash of lemon, cayenne and ginger and sip it throughout the day to maintain your energy levels. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into your bottle of water, sprinkle some cayenne followed by juiced ginger or cooled ginger tea. You may add a little honey for taste.
Cayenne contains capsaicin which is a spicy compound that heats up the body. This helps to increase energy expenditure and keep you going throughout the day. Ginger’s thermogenic effects increases blood circulation and helps with concentration and reduces fatigue. Lemon has a rich aroma which in invigorating to the senses and is full of antioxidants. (Source)
#4 – Spinach
Spinach is an iron rich food which helps with energy levels. Half a cup of boiled spinach contains approximately 3.2g of iron according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Iron is an important nutrient that helps to fight fatigue. It helps with energy levels by ensuring that sufficient oxygen reaches your cells. It also assists with the metabolic enzyme processes in your body which helps your body absorb nutrients from food.
Have a breakfast of scrambled eggs with spinach. Or add some shredded spinach to your pancake batter and make some savoury pancakes. (Source)
#5 – Mushrooms
A cup of mushrooms is able to provide you with approximately 50 percent of your daily serving of iron. Our body needs iron to ensure that a continuous supply of oxygen is transported by our bloodstream. A good oxygen supply will reduce fatigue and lethargy. (Source)
Mushrooms are also full of B vitamins which are essential to your body as it helps to turn food into easy-to-use energy.
Another benefit of mushrooms is their ability to maintain insulin levels in your body. We often experience an energy slump in the afternoon after a heavy lunch or a cup of coffee. Mushrooms help prevent this.Add some chopped mushrooms to your scrambled eggs for breakfast or make a delicious Portobello sandwich for lunch. (Source)
It’s easy to maintain energy levels throughout the day if we choose the right types of food. It’s important to start the day with a breakfast full of iron, antioxidants and other essential nutrients to maintain energy levels. A bottle of lemon, ginger, cayenne water together with a bag of nuts and/or dark chocolate will also help you to feel energized during the day whenever you feel tired.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.