Nutrition Month: Boost Your Energy With These Yummy Foods
Posted byLibby Mullen
March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s the perfect time to examine what you’re eating and make healthy swaps to boost your energy and improve your sense of well-being!
Every type of food provides calories, which your body converts into energy. But if you want to maximize the energy you’re extracting from those calories, add some of these delicious foods to your shopping cart to amp your daily routine.
Complex carbohydrates. Your body converts carbohydrates into energy throughout the day. To maximize their impact, look for whole grains and other complex carbs that will break down more slowly. Refined starches burn quickly and leave you exhausted shortly after enjoying them. Naturally occurring sugars from fruits and dairy products will also last longer than sugars added for taste.1
Iron. Iron is essential for healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.2 Women who are menstruating may have a higher chance of becoming anemic, or having an iron deficiency that leaves too few red blood cells in the body. Anemia may cause fatigue and difficulty concentrating, according to Empowher.3
Magnesium. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), magnesium helps your body convert sugar into energy, transports calcium and potassium to your muscle cells to help them contract, and helps you maintain a normal heart rhythm.4
B vitamins. These vitamins, which include niacin (B3) and folate (B9), help the body transform carbohydrates, fats and protein into glucose for the body to use as energy. Vitamin B12 works with folate to improve iron’s function in the body and produce S-adenosylmethionine, which may improve your mood and your body’s natural defenses, says the University of Maryland Medical Center.5
The Best Foods for Energy
Almonds. Almonds are a great source of magnesium. One cup provides 386 mg of the nutrient, which satisfies the daily requirement for women who are not pregnant, according to the United States Department of Agriculture and NIH.6, 7
Peanut butter. With healthy fats, protein and fiber, peanut butter is a tasty way to fill you up and keep blood sugar levels stable. Choose a brand with minimal added sugars.
Bananas. These yellow fruits are jam-packed with potassium, which is known to help keep muscles from cramping. The natural sugars burn slowly to help keep your energy levels up, while the B vitamins help your body use that energy.
Oatmeal. Oatmeal is a filling, high-concentrated energy resource. With lots of fiber, it will help your body stay regular. Making your own oatmeal from scratch lets you avoid the added sugars in high-processed versions. There are loads of easy overnight oat recipes on Pinterest to kick your high-energy morning off right.
Eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein, and their B vitamins may add a hop in your step. They’re not just for breakfast anymore. Try a hard-boiled egg as an afternoon snack to fight that mid-day slump.
Hummus. Chickpeas are a great source of complex carbs. Complex carbs, as you now know, drive your energy slowly over a long period. Use baby carrots, raw pepper strips or cucumbers as dippers for a satisfying crunch.
Chocolate. Hooray! Chocolate can be a part of a healthy, high-energy diet! Epicatechin, which is found in dark chocolate, prompts blood vessels to release nitric oxide, according to The New York Times. Nitric oxide widens your veins and arteries to improve blood flow, enhances oxygen usage and encourages muscles to absorb more blood sugar.8
Always Consult Your Doctor
If you’re feeling a little run down, you have more options than just ordering a larger latte or smashing an energy drink. During National Nutrition Month, consider working more energy-promoting foods into your diet. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your energy levels or before you make substantial changes to your diet.
1“Healthy Lifestyle: Nutrition and healthy eating.” Mayo Clinic. February 7, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrates/art-20045705?pg=2.
2“Anemia Fact Sheet.” Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. July 16, 2012. https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/anemia.html.
3Easom, Hillary. “Is It Just PMS or Are You Anemic?” Empowher. http://www.empowher.com/anemia/content/it-just-pms-or-are-you-anemic.
4“Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. February 11, 2016. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.
5“Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).” University of Maryland Medical Center. October 19, 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b12-cobalamin.
6“Basic Report: 12061, Nuts, almonds.” USDA. May 2016. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.
7“Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. February 11, 2016. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.
8Reynolds, Gretchen. “Chocolate Can Boost Your Workout. Really.” The New York Times. March 23, 2016. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/chocolate-really-can-boost-your-workout/?_r=0.
- Posted by Libby Mullen
- On March 30, 2017