When energy levels start to flag, you wouldn’t be the first person to grab a coffee or fizzy drink for a caffeine or sugar hit, but these often cause energy levels to spike and then tumble quickly, leaving you more exhausted than before.
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Fortunately, there are lots of healthier options available that can raise your energy levels naturally and for sustained periods of time.
There’s a good reason why many fitness enthusiasts pack a banana in their sports bag. Although this fruit is high in natural sugars, these are digested slowly so that you get a sustained and steady release of energy. Bananas are also high in potassium and fibre, useful for keeping energy levels on an even keel.
More than just a snack for Wimbledon-goers, strawberries are a must-have for anyone who needs to top up their energy stores. As well as boasting a raft of body-beneficial vitamins and minerals, strawberries contain antioxidants called phenols, which are known to create energy within body cells. For an added energy hit, slather your strawberries in Greek yoghurt. It’s high in protein so helps to stabilise sugar and energy levels.
Scientists reckon that fatigue can be a result of inflammation in the body, so to keep tiredness at bay, eat foods that fight inflammation. Oily fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids, and these are especially renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, fuel up on sardines, salmon, trout and mackerel. If fish doesn’t float your boat, nuts, seeds and flaxseed oil are also high in inflammation-busting fatty acids.
Whether you drink beetroot juice or add the leaves or roots to a salad, this humble vegetable is packed with valuable nutrients. In particular, scientists argue that the antioxidants found in beetroot can help to improve blood flow in the body, which in turn can leave us feeling perkier.
When energy levels take a tumble, having an easy and portable snack to hand can provide the pick-me-up you need – and almonds score top marks in this respect. Almonds are a worthy source of B vitamins, which are known for converting food to energy over a sustained period of time. They also contain generous amounts of magnesium. Studies show that magnesium plays a vital role in the metabolism of energy, and people who have low magnesium levels are more prone to getting tired easily.
Next time you’re making a stir-fry or curry, shun white rice and stick to brown instead. Brown rice is rich in fibre and boasts a low glycemic index, helping to keep blood sugar levels even for sustained energy release. Plus, research shows that a cup of cooked brown rice contains 88% of the recommended daily allowance for the mineral manganese. This important mineral is known for helping enzymes in the body to break down protein and carbohydrates to create energy. While you’re at it, why not add a handful of sweet potato chunks to your brown rice recipes? Sweet potato is also packed with energy-boosting manganese.
Eggs are incredibly versatile and make a handy ingredient for any meal, at any time of the day. Even better, they’re bursting with goodness. For those wanting to boost their energy levels, eggs are hard to beat. As well as containing high levels of B vitamins, necessary for breaking food down into energy, eggs are also rich in leucine. This amino acid encourages cells to produce energy while also converting fat into energy.