We live in a society that runs on sugar, caffeine, and carbohydrates. They help deliver quick bursts of energy, but ultimately lead you to crash within a couple hours. That means that you reach for the next sugary or caffeinated beverage or food item to get your next fix. What if you could avoid an afternoon caramel macchiato by eating one of many energizing foods? Well, as it turns out, you can.
Use food to your advantage instead of subjecting yourself to the blood sugar roller coaster that results from unhealthy food and beverage intake. It is very easy to balance blood sugar, while simultaneously sustaining long-term energy. The best way to do that is by adding more superfoods to your diet. Because there are many foods that fall into the “sustained energy” category, we decided to narrow the list down to the following foods. Reach for these foods when you need to beat the afternoon slump! The following foods exhibit diverse nutritional profiles that help support a strong immune system and balanced blood sugar levels.
Brussels sprouts in place of coffee? How on earth will this cruciferous vegetable energize you? Methylation is a biochemical process that happens about one billion times per second. This process controls everything from inflammatory and energy levels to neurotransmitter production. Studies confirmed that poor methylation is associated with fatigue. Methylation requires fuel in the form of key B-vitamins, which are abundant in cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts. Add these veggies to your daily diet for more energized methylation pathways.
Green tea is a caffeinated beverage, so it will naturally give you energy, right? Although green tea contains caffeine, there is more to this tea than meets the eyes. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation. Antioxidants can also play a role in stress management and chronic fatigue. Unlike coffee, green tea contains L-theanine, which slows the absorption of caffeine in the brain, providing you with a steadier flow of energy without the uncomfortable jitters.
Most people think that they have to use carbs and sugar for fuel. As studies have observed, the keto diet forces the body to use fat as the primary fuel source for energy. When you eat sugar, you can easily experience a crash after a short-lived boost in energy. Alternatively, health fats are like adding a log to a fire in that it burns slowly, but for a long time. Avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, all of which help you sustain energy levels throughout the day.
As we previously mentioned, healthy fats are a great source of long-term energy. If you are the type of person that engages in more physical activity, you will likely need to consume more carbohydrates. But, Dherbs, didn’t you say that carbs caused blood sugar imbalance? Yes, but we were not referring to the complex, energizing carbs that exist in whole foods like sweet potatoes. The fiber in sweet potatoes slows the body’s absorption of their carbs, alleviating a blood sugar spike. Instead, you’re left with a slow release of sustainable energy.
Pumpkin, chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, and other seeds are quick and easy snacks that provide protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The fatty acid and fiber content in most of these seeds will fill you up while simultaneously giving you a boost of energy without a blood sugar crash. You can easily incorporate seeds into smoothies and salads, or you can enjoy them out of hand as a snack.
These tasty legumes are naturally rich in complex carbs and fiber, with one cup of cooked lentils offering 15 grams of fiber and 36 grams of carbs. Nutritionists say that lentils are little energy powerhouses! The reason for this is because they replenish the body’s zinc, folate, manganese, and iron stores. These nutrients are necessary to break down other nutrients that aid with cellular energy production.
According to several studies, oats encourage serotonin production, helping manage stress, enhance learning, and improve memory function. The complex carbs in oats mean that they are a slow-burning source of energy. Now, make sure that you purchase rolled oats, steel cut oats, or old fashioned oats. If you eat sugary packets of oatmeal that are processed, sweetened, and flavored, you aren’t doing anything for your health. Load up your oats with berries, bananas, and a drizzle of maple syrup!