We all have those days where we struggle to keep our eyes open, which mean it may be time to reconsider what you’ve been eating and drinking. Most people are aware that what they eat impacts how they feel, but some foods are much better than others when it comes down to giving us that much needed energy boost.
Try incorporating as many of these nutrient-dense foods into your diet to keep your brain and body performing at optimum level throughout the day.
Water is an underrated and often-overlooked source of energy. Most of the time when we are feeling hungry, we are actually just dehydrated. When we are dehydrated our body functions can be slowed down, leaving us feeling sluggish and exhausted. If you find it difficult to remember to drink water, we recommend investing in a reusable water bottle that can also keep your water chilled. This will help ensure you’re energised and fight off fatigue. If plain water sounds too boring, throw in a couple of lemons, limes or some cucumber slices to add some flavour.
Well known for its nutritional qualities, spinach is a plant with remarkable abilities to restore energy and increase vitality because it is so rich in iron. When you don’t have enough iron, you are starving the brain of oxygen which can leave you feeling tired. The dark leafy green colour also tells us that spinach has high levels of chlorophyll and health promoting carotenoids (beta carotene, luteine and zeaxanthin) which all boast anti-inflammatory properties – great for overall health and wellbeing. Why not try tossing it in a lunchtime salad to escape an afternoon slump?
This should come as no surprise. Whenever I have eggs for breakfast I don’t find myself snacking the rest of the day because I am full for much longer. This is because eggs provide the body with plenty of protein and nutrients for sustainable energy. Boiled, fried, poached or scrambled, get up 10 minutes earlier than usual to cook breakfast with eggs (why not throw in some spinach too!) instead of settling for cereal or toast and thank yourself later.
Almonds are a super-food when it comes to energy as they contain important nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B that help convert food to energy. Studies show that people with low magnesium levels often tire sooner during exercise due to magnesium’s role in energy metabolism. Insufficient vitamin B can lead to fatigue, irritability and poor concentration, so swap your chocolate bar at lunchtime for a packet of almonds and don’t look back.
Sweet potatoes are your best friend when it comes to fighting off the mid-day fatigue. They’re rich in carbohydrates and filled with beta-carotene and vitamin C. Cut them into strips tossed with a little oil and baked as a healthy substitute to chips.
Prepacked and full of goodness, specifically fibre and potassium which promote sustained energy and muscle function, bananas are arguably the king of the fruit world. Not got time for breakfast? Grab a banana. Just finished a danceSing class? Grab a banana.
Avocados are rich in fibre which helps maintain steady energy levels and healthy monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are a great source of energy because they are digested slower than other simple carbohydrates, meaning they can be stored in the body and be used as an energy source. Bet you didn’t know they contain more potassium than bananas?
Small yet mighty. As well as being loaded with powerful antioxidants and energy boosting carbs, these small berries contain vitamins A & C, folate, potassium, magnesium and fibre all of which boost immune function by stopping the build-up of free radicals which play a key role in boosting brain function and cognitive health.
Salmon isn’t called a “brain food” for nothing. Rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart health and cognitive function, salmon is also a great source of protein, vitamin B^, niacin and riboflavin – all of which help convert the food you eat into energy. Et, voila! Be sure to avoid farmed salmon and reach for wild salmon instead to ensure the most nutrient dense meal.
Another simple but effective snack to boost energy levels. Along with fibre and nutrients, apples are high in anti-oxidants called flavonoids which help fight against oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. If apples are too plain for you, spice things up and dip your apple slices in some peanut butter (also a good source of energy!) for a tasty treat.
Whether you have a busy day ahead, a date with the gym or are simply just looking to boost your mood and productivity, these super foods are a great way to get started.