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Published on March 8th, 2009 | by Amy Bell

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Eating for Energy – 5 Helpful Foods

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The foods we eat have a direct impact on our overall energy.

Think about how you feel after having certain foods.

A greasy fast food meal more than likely leaves you tired, sluggish, and possibly feeling guilty, while a meal full of complex carbohydrates, healthy protein and fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables leaves a person feeling satisfied and energized.

The most important thing to remember when eating for energy is to focus on whole, unprocessed foods.

Make sure you’re having whole grains, lots of fresh raw produce, healthy plant-based fats, and plenty of water.  (Being dehydrated is a major energy zapper.)

When it comes to protein, if you prefer animal based, make sure to eat meat that comes from animals raised in a responsible and organic manner.

For those who don’t eat animal-based foods (myself included), protein is easily available in plant-based foods such as grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Skipping meals can also cause a huge drain on energy reserves.  Get in the habit of eating meals on a regular basis.  Some people do well with the typical three meals a day, and some do well with five or more smaller “mini meals” spread throughout the day.  Find what works best for you…and stick with it.

It’s all too common for many people to turn to things like coffee, soda, refined sugar, or even the ever popular (and often over processed) energy drinks and bars when feeling sluggish.

Here are five wonderfully healthy and energy rich foods to try instead:

  1. Oatmeal Oats are low on the glycemic index, which means your body gets a steady stream of energy instead of a quick and short lived rush.
  2. Bananas Bananas have easily digested sugars, and plenty of potassium.  Potassium is not stored in the body for long, and levels can drop during times of stress or during exercise.
  3. Almonds Saturated fats (such as those in butter and cheese) can make you lethargic, but the healthy monounsaturated fat found in nuts and seeds provides essential fatty acids that help produce a more energized and alert mental state.
  4. Oranges Citrus fruits, such as oranges, are loaded with Vitamin C.  This is needed to replenish adrenaline stored in the adrenal glands.
  5. Beans Legumes (such as peas, beans, and lentils) are great for providing protein, fiber, and stabilizing blood sugar.  They provide substantial energy.

Of course, simple lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and practicing stress relieving activities like yoga and meditation can help boost energy levels as well.

Image credit:  Marcos Vasconcelos on flickr Creative Commons.



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About the Author

Amy is a vegan, working mother of one with a degree in Nutrition Education. She has had a longtime interest in natural health, animal rights, human rights, and environmental issues. She shares her Midwestern home with her husband and son, as well as with what many would consider to be a lot of pets.



  • geore

    There is a new documentary coming on HBO out about factory farming you might be interested.

    http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/deathfactoryfarm/index.html

  • http://hubpages.ocm/profile/BeatsMe audrey

    Will have to save this for future reference. This is probably why I feel sluggish most of the time.

  • Vanessa

    That is a great list of power foods. One thing that should definitely be avoided for energy is ironically energy drinks. New research has found that they are loaded with a estrogen-mimicking chemical known as BPA. They should be avoided at all costs.

  • http://Idonthaveone Anne Harmon

    I wonder why this nice product “Simple Green” is put into a plastic bottle. Makes no sense to me. The product will help save the planet but the package it comes in will last forever.

  • Pingback: Upgrading the College Diet: Study Snacks : Eat. Drink. Better.

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