by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Author, Eating for Energy
If you are like most of us, you are always on the search for more energy. Whether it is your morning cup of coffee, a quick sugary pick-me-up in the mid-morning, or an energy drink during the long hours of the afternoon that span between your lunch and your dinner, a lot of us seem to be running on fumes a lot of the time. While the best cure for those tired feelings can be a good night’s sleep, that is not always enough. In order to keep running at our best, we need to make sure that our bodies are given the proper fuel in order to run optimally. And while caffeine and sugar might seem to do in a pinch, they are not the best answers. Instead, we might want to turn our focus to raw food items that will do a whole lot more to naturally boost our energy levels.
Avocados get a terrible reputation among healthy eaters as being full of fats, and while that might be technically true, it is not as bad as you might think. The fats contained in avocados are in fact highly beneficial to cognitive functions. A healthy helping of avocado ñ either as part of a raw guacamole-like dip, or sliced into a salad, can give you an energy boost, not to mention a great buttery taste.
Spinach might have been Popeye’s favorite food, but why on earth would he eat it out of a can? Fresh spinach is a wonderful source, not only of iron, but all sorts of vitamins. Whether it is mixed in as part of a fresh green smoothie in the morning, or eaten whole for any meal, spinach will do exactly what the cartoons promised ñ sort of. The minerals and vitamins are great for your muscles when you need to combat that tired feeling.
Oranges are wonderful as an energy food as well. Long given to athletes as a half-time snack, oranges provide natural sugars that give the body quick energy. Whether you make your own juice in the morning or snack on a whole fruit during the day, the vitamin C is great for your immune system ñ and nothing saps our strength like feeling sick.
Strawberries are what we call calorie-negative foods ñ that is, foods that actually take more calories to process than they provide to the body. But while these succulent little wonders are great for their calorie-burning potential, they are also loaded with vitamins that will perk up your body.
And while there are plenty of nuts that will help in a pinch, almonds are the universal favorite when it comes to a spike in energy. Full of the protein that your body needs after a workout, a handful of nuts will help you to recover after exercise, making your muscles less sore the next day.If you add more of these five wonder foods to your diet, you will find yourself with a whole lot more energy. It might even give you enough spring in your step to skip that next cup of coffee.
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