I constantly hear from clients that they need more energy. We're all wearing multiple hats and often need to be in multiple places at once. Which means feeling fatigued and sluggish is all too common these days.
Can you relate?
Do you feel like you're running on empty most days? If so, you need to check out my list below of six foods that boost your energy without the crash. That last part is important! Too often we lean on sugar and simple carbs for a quick energy boost only to feel more tired an hour later when we crash. And then we reach for and start the whole cycle again.
These six foods will provide steady energy to keep you productive and alert so you can kick ass all day long no matter how many hats you have to wear in one day.
If you want to start your day feeling like this 👇🏻
... then incorporate these six foods into your diet.
Coconut -- Coconut provides an energy boost, similar to coffee, due to the medium chain triglyceride fatty acids (MCTs). It's incredibly versatile (and delicious) and can easily be incorporated into your diet. Simply add a little coconut oil or full-fat coconut milk to your coffee or top your sweet potato with coconut butter. Cooking with coconut oil is another way to incorporate it into your diet.
Eggs -- Eggs are an incredible addition to your diet for so many reasons, but quality matters. To ensure you're getting all of the amazing nutrients they have to offer you want to choose organic pasture-raised eggs and eat the whole egg (unless you have an egg white allergy). You'll know you have a quality egg if the egg yolks are a bright orange-yellow and the shell is tough to crack. Eggs are a great source of protein and are loaded with B vitamins, omega-3 fats and minerals that support thyroid health such as selenium and iodine. Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, and Leucine are three amino acids found in abundance that provide energy for the brain, help regulate blood sugar, and play a major role in metabolism.
Water -- Your body is is made up of 60-70% water and it's involved in many cellular functions, including energy production. Adequate water intake also reduces the energy needed by your organs to flush toxins from the body and prevents enzymatic slow down. Enzymes are necessary for many biochemical functions like digesting food, transporting nutrients to your cells and absorption. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration, followed by fatigue. The best way to know if you're getting enough water is to monitor your urine output and color. Your urine should be a pale yellow or straw colored yellow. If your output is dark yellow you're not taking in enough water.
Avocado -- Avocados are a great source of B vitamins which are needed to produce energy. They are also a significant source of fiber which helps stabilize your blood sugar. Additionally, they are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and can increase insulin sensitivity. Inflammation can cause fatigue along with many other health conditions.
Fatty Fish -- Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. The omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation. Vitamin B12s role in increasing energy include improving iron absorption, transporting oxygen throughout our blood stream, and is required to produce red blood cells.
Dark Leafy Greens -- Dark leafy greens, such as swiss chard, spinach or kale, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to fuel your body. They are an excellent source of many B vitamins, iron, and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also high in vitamin C which enhances the iron absorption. The chlorophyll that gives them their rich green color is known to increase the production of red blood cells, increasing oxygen transfer to your cells and thus energy levels too.
For recipe ideas on how to incorporate these foods into your meals download my sample meal plan.
Which Foods Should I Avoid?
While there are foods that can help boost your energy, there are also foods that will deplete your energy.
Sugar -- I already mentioned sugar and simple carbohydrates, but it's worth noting again. Anybody ever had the pleasure of being around a kid after they come down from their sugar high? FYI...adults can also be pretty unpleasant to be around after a sugar crash. Keeping your blood sugar regulated will help you prevent an energy crash. Eating a high-sugar diet or relying on sugary foods to stay functional not only leads to insulin resistance and increases inflammation, but they deplete your body of nutrients and cause weight gain. Ummmm, no thank you!
Caffeine -- I actually don't believe you need to avoid caffeine all together. However, if you're relying on caffeine to function then it's probably time to evaluate things. It can also be an easy way to consume a lot of sugar depending on what you're drinking or how you take your coffee. Having a cup of black coffee every day is no problem. Having a pot of coffee...not so great. Other sources of caffeine for many people come in the form of soda, sweet tea, and energy drinks. All of which are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners...even the "sugar-free" version.
High Glycemic Foods - These are foods that cause a blood sugar spike, which then will lead to a crash. Sugar is obvious, but this category of foods can often be overlooked because many are considered to be "healthy". These are foods such as, corn, pasta, white potatoes without the skin, bagels, cornflakes, instant oatmeal, rice, dried fruit, and many protein bars just to name a few.
Processed Foods - Most processed foods contain sugar in one of its many forms. Frozen foods and meals and dry goods, such as crackers, contain sugar, as well as, condiments, salad dressings, processed meats, and cereals. Even when you think you're eating healthy (because it says so right on the front of the package) you might be surprised to learn the amount of sugar, sugar alcohol, or artificial sweeteners contained in some of your favorite processed foods. Always check your ingredients! You can learn more here.
You don't have to run on empty. Know better, do better. Now you know what foods can support (or deplete) your energy and you can easily learn how to incorporate them into your day by following my 3-Day Meal Plan for Balanced Energy.
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