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We all have those days where it’s a struggle to do anything. Staying focused is tedious and it feels like you’re running on nothing. Then there’s the added challenge of trying to train or exercise on these days. When feeling like this, it’s easy to resort to junk food or sugary snacks as a quick pick-me-up. However, it is so much more helpful to turn to foods that can naturally boost your energy. Of course all food gives you energy because that’s what calories do. It’s the nature of this energy that differs depending on the type of food. Some foods (like caffeine, processed grains or refined sugars) give you an immediately energy burst followed by a crash. Choosing the right food can have a substantial impact on the amount of energy you have and how it long it lasts. Certain foods can also boost focus, concentration and motivation too, meaning that you can put your effort to good use. If you’re consistently lacking in energy and focus, reconsidering your diet can be helpful. The following foods provide lasting sources of energy that help stabilise mood and increase motivation. Plus they’re full of other benefits and nutrients to help general health and wellbeing.
Unlike refined sugars, the natural sugars found in fruit provide a sustainable source of energy. Fruit has fibre and nutrients that slow down digestion to ensure that the sugar isn’t absorbed in one hit. This means you don’t see an instant high followed by an energy crash. Fruit also contains less sugar than processed food, so the effects of that sugar isn’t comparable. Most fruit will make a great energising snack. Citrus is excellent because it stimulates the brain whilst delivering energy. This means it doesn’t just give you physical energy but it also sharpens your focus and concentration to give you that extra edge. Bananas are easily digested so they give you a quick source of energy. They also contain potassium which helps with nerve and muscle function. Berries are great because they’re packed full of antioxidants and nutrients, ensuring that they help boost mental function and focus whilst also giving you energy.
We talked about the benefits of complex carbohydrates or ‘good carbs’ in a dedicated blog post a few weeks ago. Complex carbs are digested slowly, meaning that they give you a sustained slow release of energy to keep you going all day. Foods such as wholegrains, oats and fruit and veggies are packed with complex carbs, making them reliable energy sources.
Nuts are an excellent energy source because they contain protein, vitamins and healthy fats. Nuts are high in calories, meaning that they provide a concentrated energy dose. They also contain magnesium, which is a mineral essential in energy production, muscle function and blood sugar regulation. Almonds are particularly high in magnesium, making them a great energy-rich snack.
In another post a few weeks ago, we checked out the amazing properties of matcha green tea. You can get similar benefits from both matcha and green tea. However, matcha is a more concentrated form of green tea due to way its produced, meaning that you may see enhanced benefits from it. Both contain a unique caffeine compound called theophylline. Unlike the caffeine in coffee, theophylline has a slower release which means it’s a longer lasting and more sustained source of energy. Both also contain an amino acid called L-Theanine which relaxes and calms the brain. It works with theophylline to ensure that you’re relaxed but still alert and focused. These benefits make green tea or matcha a great alternative to coffee to give you energy without a crash.
It’s a bit ironic that water is so vital for energy given that it doesn’t contain any calories itself. It doesn’t actually give you energy, but it facilitates the processes that create energy. Water is necessary for all functions in the body. When you’re dehydrated, these functions slow down, leaving you feeling dull and tired. If you’re consistently feeling this way, make sure you’re drinking the recommended intake to ensure your body can function the way it’s supposed to.
Author: Katy Roubin, Muscle Coach Marketing Assistant