What do many people want more of? More time? Most likely. More money? Most definitely. But one answer that is heard more often than not is more energy.
Looking at kids running around, bouncing off the walls all the time, you’re reminded of when you used to have that seemingly endless energy. Where did it go? You feel it even more when you spend time trying to keep up with these young balls of energy, don’t you?
You might think that vim and vigor is a thing of the past, but you can regain your energy and feel more vibrant without relying on stimulants like coffee, sugar, or “energy” drinks to perk you up.
The Right Nutrients
Your body needs specific nutrients to create energy in your body. Nutrient deficiencies will cause a lack of energy. Sugar can cause nutrients to be lost, so if you have a lot of sugar in your diet, guess what happens. And if you fill up on sugary foods, there’s not a lot of room left for healthier food, which results in a lack of vitamins and minerals.
There are nutrients you need to make energy, and here are some foods in which you can find them:
• B1 (thiamine) - Brussels sprouts, beans, watercress, asparagus, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, cabbage
• B2 (riboflavin) - mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin, bean sprouts, mackerel, tomatoes, watercress
• B3 (niacin) - alfalfa sprouts, squash, avocados, watercress, broccoli, mushrooms, celery, strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage
• B7 (biotin) - cauliflower, peas, grapefruit, watermelon, almonds, cherries, eggs, tomatoes, lettuce
• Vitamin C – bell peppers, watercress, lemons, kiwi fruit, melons, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, peas, oranges
• Calcium - almonds, parsley, prunes, pumpkin seeds, cabbage, spinach, bok choy, sardines, chia seeds, oranges, white beans, figs
• Copper - kale, sesame seeds, chickpeas, shiitake mushrooms, walnuts, flax seeds, hazel nuts, egg yolk, tempeh, beef, cashews, pine nuts
• Magnesium - almonds, cashew nuts, pecans, green peas, potato skin, cooked beans, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, spinach, mackerel, halibut
• Zinc - ginger root, pecans, turnip, Brazil nuts, egg yolks, whole wheat grains, almonds, lamb, green peas, rye, oats
Replace Energy-Draining Foods with Energy-Promoting Foods
Foods such as French fries and other fried foods, meats charred on the barbecue, and lots of processed food filled with sugar might taste good, but they are not health-promoting foods, and are definitely not energizing foods. These foods actually promote free radicals, which are unpaired electrons that have gone rogue and try to find a companion. They damage your DNA and cells while they’re on a mission to steal an electron from a molecule. The damage is oxidation.
To combat this damage, eating more antioxidant food, along with cutting down on these foods that encourage free radicals, is a good plan.
Rather than French fries, make some kale chips. With a little olive oil and garlic, they are a delicious and healthy alternative. Other antioxidant foods include broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, dark chocolate, cranberries, carrots, blueberries, yams, citrus, and cantaloupe.
You can put some blueberries on your oatmeal, add cranberries to your trail mix, wilt some spinach with lemon juice and garlic for a tasty side dish, add tomatoes to your salad, roast some carrots or eat them raw, and have a square of dark chocolate or bake a sweet potato when you want something sweet.
Also, dehydration can drain your energy, so staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important.
The next time you find your energy waning, I hope you’ll think twice before reaching for a sugary energy drink to give you a jolt. Nourishing your body will help give you the steady energy you crave.