You know that a balanced diet and daily exercise are crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but what if you don’t have the energy to even begin to think about either of them? Before you reach for that grande latte with a double shot of espresso to get you through your next workday, try incorporating these energy-boosting foods into your diet instead. Not only will they provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs, but are also key components to increasing your overall health and well-being for a lifetime.
Healthy Foods That Give You Energy
There’s a reason the human body can survive three weeks without food, but only three days without water. This essential nutrient is necessary for a multitude of functions in the body, especially when it comes to transporting nutrients to cells and regulating metabolism.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of low energy levels, which is why it is so important to drink water throughout the day. As a general rule, women should aim to consume nine glasses of water per day, while mean should aim for 12 glasses per day. Water needs can increase in certain conditions such as hot temperatures or with strenuous exercise, so make sure to drink water when ever thirsty.
Nuts & Seeds
Not only do nuts and seeds make a quick and convenient snack, but they can also give you that boost you need when the afternoon energy slump hits. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium and B vitamins, which are natural energy and metabolism boosting nutrients. They also contain heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber, all of which can help keep you fuller for longer. To keep energy levels steady throughout the day, swap your usual afternoon candy bar or bag of chips for a serving of nuts or seeds and a piece of fresh fruit.
They don’t call salmon brain food for nothing! Full of omega-3 fats, salmon is full of nutrients that help boost not only energy, but also mood and brain health. As a healthy source of high quality protein, adding a filet of salmon alongside a plate of freshly cooked vegetables makes for a satisfying and long lasting meal to power you throughout the day.
If there is one food you want to include in your diet on a daily basis, it is leafy greens. This includes vegetables such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, and bok choy. Each nutrient-packed green contains essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and even protein. Serving up a salad at lunch time, blending spinach into a breakfast smoothie, or sauteing kale for dinner are easy and delicious ways to get in your daily dose of greens.
A popular choice for both pre and post workout snacks, it’s no surprise that bananas are a great source of feel good energy. The natural sugars provide a quick source of energy, while the B vitamins and potassium provide your muscles with what they need to recover properly in order to be ready for your next tough workout. Try pairing a fresh banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter before your run, or blending a frozen banana into your post-workout smoothie for a naturally delicious source of energy and muscle recovery.
Looking for a treat you can feel good about eating? Well you can have your chocolate and eat it too! That is if it’s dark chocolate. This sweet treat contains flavanols, which are natural antioxidants that boost heart health, and protect against heart disease. A healthy heart means a happy and energy-filled body, since more oxygen can be transported to muscles and organs at a faster rate. Make sure you reach for the dark variety with a high percentage of cocoa, since these contain the highest levels of antioxidants that aren’t present in white or milk chocolate varieties.
While it may not be a food, and seem obvious that sleep is necessary for more energy, its role in almost all aspects of health may not be as apparent. Getting adequate amounts of sleep each night helps protect both mental and physical health, improve learning, muscle repair, and productivity. A chronic lack of sleep can also increase your chances of serious health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even stroke. Aim to get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night to give your body the rest and recovery it needs.