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Need some energy boosting foods? Like all living things, our bodies need fuel in order to complete even the smallest of daily tasks and good fuel is needed to run efficiently.
The problem is, many of us fuel ourselves on caffeine rather than nutrients to power through the day. This is leaving us physically exhausted as nine times out of ten, we are taking on too much in our daily lives.
We wake early, take care of the kids, work, hit the gym, take care of the house, cook our meals, all before putting our heads down usually much later than we should. Seriously, there aren’t enough hours in the day!
This all leaves most people struggling with low energy. The good news is that there are a few things you can do that don’t actually take much effort, and can leave you revitalised and fit to fight another day. Here are some scientifically proven energy-boosting foods that will help you through the day.
#1 – Spinach
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10% of women between the ages of 20 and 50 are iron deficient. (source)
This leads to conditions like anemia, one of the main symptoms being fatigue along with lower immunity and irritability. Iron deficiency anemia actually tends to affect more women than men, due to losing excess iron during menstruation.
A recent study showed that women who consumed more plant-based sources of iron were 35% less likely to develop symptoms of PMS (source)
Of course, spinach is well known as one of the most rich botanical sources of iron but others include:
- Sesame seeds
Pro Tip: Consuming iron rich foods with vitamin C actually helps your body absorb more iron. So try having a small glass of freshly squeezed OJ with your wilted spinach salad.
#2 – Almonds
Most people know nuts help boost energy, this is why they tend to be in most energy bars and trail mixes.
This is because they are packed with important essential nutrients like B vitamins and magnesium which help convert food into energy.
B vitamins are one of the biggest nutrient deficiencies worldwide and vitamins B12 deficiency is the second most common form of anemia according to the World Health Organization (WHO) (source).
Research has shown that almonds can help boost energy. One study looked at the effects of almond consumption on endurance exercise and found that whole almonds improved elements associated with endurance exercise (source).
Of course, all nuts offer great nutrition and others like peanuts will help to give you an energy boost. Other foods rich in B vitamins include:
- Red meat
Pro Tip: Stick to around 30grams of nuts per serving and one serving per day to keep calories down.
Salmon (and most other oily fish) is seriously packed with brain boosting power. This is due to the omega 3 fatty acids which most of us should be getting more of.
Omega 3s have a number of benefits including lifting mood and beating depression as well as boosting energy (source).
Salmon is also high in protein which promotes satiety, which makes this an excellent dinner choice for those looking to boost their energy while managing their weight.
Other foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids include:
- Albacore tuna
- English walnuts
Pro Tip: Wild salmon is higher in omega 3 fatty acids than farmed salmon, so try and go wild when it comes to buying fish!
Foods to Avoid
As well as some of the best energy boosting foods, there are a number of foods which can also bring down your energy levels and should be avoided, some of which include:
- Coffee – caffeine gives you a false sense of energy leaving you even more fatigued once the effects wear off.
- Sugar – Too much sugar gives you a crash and burn effect when it comes to energy levels
- Soft drinks (even the diet varieties) – Most contain caffeine and added chemicals.
Often we lack enough energy because our faced paced lives don’t allow us the time to make a home cooked meal with proper nutrition. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to lower energy levels with fatigue being one of the first signs that something is not quite right.
Making sure you get a healthy diet filled with a balance of fruits and vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates is the best way to ensure your nutrition is on form and start getting your energy back.
Written by guest contributor, Helen Sanders, editor at http://www.healthambition.com