Energy is what sustains us, it is the element we need to continue our daily lives, and not following a healthy diet can cause lethargy and tiredness.
Here are 5 foods to incorporate into your diet to get that much needed energy boost during those long days.
1. Grains and pulses
A meal must never be skipped, as it will send the signal to your body to use up energy and fat slower, and can actually lead to weight gain. Eating at least one cooked meal a day is advised, followed by smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. Adding whole grains, such as millets, quinoa, South Indian chama rice, whole grain brown rice,kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas, to meals slows down the release of insulin and gives an
individual sustained energy. They also provide the body with important carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Dehydration is a large cause of fatigue and energy loss. That is why drinking water is essential and it is vital that we keep our bodies hydrated throughout the day. Busy working hours often make us forgetful, but we must try to make it a habit to have 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the day. Drinking tap or mineral water provides us with vital minerals too such as magnesium and calcium.
Tea and coffee do not count as part of your water intake as caffeine is a diuretic and contributes to dehydration, however, having a glass of water with your coffee just like they do in Greece and Cyprus is better. Greek coffee especially with a glass of water and 1 biscuit is a nice treat and mid morning or afternoon snack. If you really struggle to drink water then try adding a couple of pieces of lemon in it.
Try to avoid fizzy drinks or keep to a minimum. Not only are they full of caffeine but also contain alot of sugar and diet fizzy drinks contain sweeteners which have been shown to make you feel more hungry and increase appetite. Fizzy drinks do not hydrate and as they have such high sugar content this causes a sudden release of insulin and a huge sugar crash after causing your energy levels to slump. Fizzy drinks should not be given to children or keep for special occasions. Children should also be aiming for 6-8 glasses of water a day.
3. Herbs, spices and vegetables
Green leafy vegetables,broccoli and green herbs such as parsley, dill,and microgreens all contain a good source of iron. Poor iron intake can cause a drop in energy levels so eating a healthy balanced diet including these foods will help to maintain energy levels. All capsicum peppers including chilli peppers and chilli flakes are a great accompaniment to meals as they are thermogenic as well as giving a spicy flavour to your dish.
This means they produce heat in the body,boosting metabolism which promotes fat burning = potential fat weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight also will maintain your energy levels. You could slice chilli peppers and add to salads or sprinkle chilli flakes into your bolognese sauce. It is very important to consume vegetables on a daily basis for optimum health.
Especially fruit rich in Vitamin C. Good sources of Vitamin C are citrus such as limes,oranges (all varieties) and lemons. Grapefruit, strawberries, mangoes, kiwis and pineapples and bananas are also good sources of vitamin c and many more nutrients such as zinc to help boost energy levels. Bananas (not too ripe) help to maintain more stable blood glucose levels for longer and therefore help to prevent energy slumps and unhealthy
snacking. Like myself, you rarely can get to lunch time without needing a snack or due to health need to eat little and often then fruits are good options.
5. Dry Fruits and nuts
South Asian or Indian dried fruits and nuts, such as Kagazi almonds, Gurbandi and dates are great snacks but be mindful of sugar content if you are managing your sugar levels. Figs, apricots, walnuts and cashews are all foods filled to the brim with Vitamin E, Zinc and Copper that nurtures the nervous system,good for skin renewal and can help keep us going in between meals or as an evening snack. They are also very easy to eat, last longer than a bar of chocolate, full of fibre and are good snacks to have.If you are in need of an affordable and healthy nutrition plan, contact Michelle Mina Nutrition today.