Energy Foods: Top Picks for a Big Boost

on June 24, 2011

Whether it’s the afternoon slump, a gloomy and rainy day, or you are just feeling tired, snack on these energy foods and regain your get-up-and-go. Try these top picks for a big boost.

Hydrate with water. You may not know it, but you could be tired because you’re dehydrated. Many Americans are chronically dehydrated and in turn may be feeling lethargic. Since your body is mostly water, your brain and other organs do not function well without it. According to a study by the Beverage Guidance Panel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, dehydration causes impaired cognition, moodiness and decreased physical performance, among other things. Make sure you get your recommended allowance of water each day.

Oatmeal will pump you up in a good way. Old-fashioned oats, steel cut oats or any whole grain will provide you with a long-lasting energy boost. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences suggests that fiber has many healthful effects. Fiber stays in the body longer than processed food, thus providing you with a slow release of complex carbohydrates — and a natural energy boost.

Fruit is fast food. Not only is fruit a quick snack to grab when you’re on the go, it helps you rev up with natural sugars. Whole fruit — and not mushed, mixed or blended fruit — is tough for your body to break down and utilize. Like whole grains, your metabolism is pumped up by the work it must do to process the whole fruit into absorbable nutrients. This effort provides your body with a slow release of energy and a natural stamina.

Energize with fiber filled seeds and nuts. Snacking on seeds like flax, chia, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin, or nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts, will satisfy your urge to snack and crunch while offering your body an extended energy boost. Nuts and seeds are full of fiber and omega-3’s. These foods remain in your body longer than simple carbohydrate-filled snacks like cookies. Studies at the Mayo Clinic indicate that omega-3’s may even fight chronic fatigue associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. The nuts and seeds provide that valuable time-released energy injection just when you need it most. Also, seeds and nuts are so low on the glycemic index they keep your sugar levels stable, sustaining the boost and protecting you from an energy crash later.

Found in: Nutrition