We all know how hard it can be to stick to those New Year resolutions of eating better, getting more sleep and working out more often. Part of the problem? Not having enough energy to help keep us (and our good intentions) going.
But if there’s one thing we can do to keep us on track, it's eating plenty of energy-boosting foods to help feel well-rested, energetic and alert.
So to get our bodies revved throughout the day, start by making smart and simple food choices.
From morning oats to a salmon week-night dinner, we’ve teamed up with leading nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville to hear his eight easy food solutions for the best energy-boosting results.
Brown rice provides you with a healthy kick of carbs, but before deciding to exit the page at the sight of the c-word, we’re here to assure you that your relationship with carbs is 100% necessary to maintain your energy levels throughout the day so don’t listen to those who’ve shunned the grain (ahem, Dr. Atkins).
It’s also a fantastic source of magnesium which plays a major role in energy production in body cells.
Dr. Glenville says: “Your body’s most important source of energy is carbohydrate, including sugars and starches. All forms of carbohydrate end up being broken down into glucose, but it’s the speed with which this breakdown happens that’s crucial to your energy levels.”
One cup of this holy grain will provide you with more than 25% of the magnesium women require a day, making it a top pick in the energy-boosting department.
Herbal teas have been all the rage in recent years and rightly so.
Not only will herbal tea make you healthier and help you fight off and prevent infections but it’s also a little-known way to get your energy levels up and running.
“Go for herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint and redbush tea. Eliminate caffeine as this will put you on a roller coaster of highs and lows in terms of energy and sap your energy over the long term,” says Dr. Glenville.
Next time you reach for a cuppa opt for herbal tea, it will help you feel refreshed and energised without the java jolt crash.
Never mind their bruised reputation over raised cholesterol levels, these little ovals of goodness can provide you with tons of protein and numerous vitamins, such as vitamin A, potassium and B vitamins including biotin (hello gorgeous hair, skin and nails) and folic acid.
“Good quality protein like eggs help to give you energy as they are broken down slowly by the digestive system. And when you add a protein to a complex carbohydrate it lowers the Glycaemic Index of that food, giving you more energy for longer.”
So next time you doubt the egg, think again!
Most of us already know the heart-healthy benefits of fish, but did you know it’s also a sure-fire way to boost energy and fight fatigue?
Dr. Glenville says, “Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel contain omega 3 essential fatty acids which are important for your general health but also for energy. They are needed for energy for your muscles and bor boosting your metabolism.”
Oily fish have also shown to help against cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, vision loss and dementia (the more, the merrier right?).
Aim to eat fish twice a week for optimal energy levels.
It’s not just energy drinks that can provide you with boosted energy levels. Beans are a perfect source to combat midday crashes and a natural one too. So no need to worry about high blood pressure, heart palpatations or come-down periods with these natural bad boys.
Beans come in a vast variety such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas. Their fibre will help stabilise your blood sugar, preventing dips in your energy levels while also maintaining a healthy heart and brain.
And being among the cheapest powerhouse foods on the market we can’t really say no.
You’ve heard it all before and we’ll tell you again.
Being dehydrated is a huge determinant of your energy levels. If you’re not getting your daily dose of H2O you could end up feeling tired and confused.
Dr. Glenville says, “Being dehydrated will sap your energy. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.
"Don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink, just drink. Also eliminate tea and coffee as these are dehydrating."
Aim to drink eight to ten glasses a day.
It’s not just a breakfast food ladies. Oats are a great source of dietary fibre, leaving your tummy full and satisfied.
When consumed, oats break down into glucose gradually providing a steady stream of energy throughout your day so staying alert and focused during working hours need not be a problem.
“Refined carbohydrates like sugar, white flour and white pasta will cause glucose to be released into your bloodstream quickly and will be short lived.”
Go for some grain brain - that 4 o'clock energy slump will soon be a distant memory.
Ever feel like you can do with a sugar boost to get those energy levels soaring again?
Forget the seducing effects of chocolate - succumb and you’ll be back to sluggish come midday. Fruit, on the other hand, has natural energy-boosting capabilities that will help you combat daily slumps.
“Fruit is a simple carbohydrate so will give you a quick boost of energy so combine it with a protein to keep your blood sugar stable and your energy boosted. Try an apple with almonds or a banana with a scoop of peanut butter,” says Dr Glenville.
Fruits such as apples and bananas are highly regarded for their energy-boosting benefits and extra nutrients.
Also, apples don’t spoil as quickly as other fruit, making it an ideal food to stash at your desk side in case you get one of those pesky snack attacks.