It’s true – what you eat affects how you feel. Some foods have the power to boost our mood and energy levels by pushing our body to burn more calories effectively, stimulating the production of the feel-good chemicals in the brain, and by keeping our glucose levels steady. If lack of energy is your problem, here are some foods you can add to your diet.
Carbs often give a big ‘buzz’ to our ears, especially those who are trying to lose weight. But as long as you eat wisely, you can actually benefit from energy-giving carbohydrates. Basically, complex carbs like whole grains are essential for boosting your mood and energy levels. Avoid simple sugars like sweets, fizzy drinks and artificial sweeteners as they cause your blood sugar to spike and plummet. Complex carbohydrates are loaded with fibre that makes you feel full for longer and keeps your blood sugar levels normal.
Never underestimate the power of water in keeping you energised. Hydration is vital to sustaining energy and mood. Even just a mild dehydration can sap your energy and slow down your metabolism. So make sure you’re getting enough water. Every time you feel thirsty, even just a bit, go ahead and drink!
These nuts are high in selenium – a natural substance that is believed to have mood-boosting effects. Studies have linked low levels of selenium to poorer moods. But don’t overdo it. Too much of this mineral is not good for your health. Can’t find Brazilian nuts? Other food sources of selenium are seafood, beans, whole grains and meats.
Fatty fish like salmon are loaded with omge-3 fatty acids that were found to play a vital role in relieving symptoms of depression and improving mood. Flaxseeds, nuts, and dark green leafy vegetables also contain considerable amount of the good fats.
Fibre keeps your energy levels stable for the rest of the day, especially during the days when you engage in high intensity workouts. Foods that are naturally high in fibre are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
Yes! Coffee is one of the world’s most popular energisers. Caffeine stimulates metabolism, which in turn heightens the body’s mental focus and energy. Frequent mini servings of coffee can keep your energy levels steady all day long than taking one large dose because the effects of caffeine is only temporary. But remember that too much caffeine can be bad for your health – it may not send you off to sleep tonight which is essential for energy!
Not a coffee fan? Try tea! This healthy beverage also contains caffeine. A plethora of studies suggests that drinking tea regularly may improve alertness, reaction time, and memory. It also contains antioxidants such as catechins that are good for your overall health. Here’s a bonus – tea also boosts weight loss!
Good news for the sweet lovers – dark chocolate can enhance your mood and energy levels without bringing in harm to your health, especially when eaten in moderation. Dark chocolate has caffeine, theobromine and other essential nutrients found in cacao that are scientifically proven to boost health.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are best eaten in their raw form. That’s because most of the nutrients are still present. They also contain water that helps keep you hydrated. Instead of munching sugar-loaded snack bar, nibble on fresh carrots, apple, or celery. You can make smoothie drinks out of the produce you want.
Spinach, kale, cabbage, lettuce and other green, leafy produce contain folate which has been linked to a lower risk of depression.
Lean meat from chicken, turkey, pork and beef is a good source of protein that keeps you full and energised all day long. They also contain tyrosine which boosts the production of dopamine and norepinephrine – natural mood enhancers that keep you alert and focused. Here’s another nutrient in lean meat – vitamin B-12 which may ease symptoms of depression and insomnia.
Nuts, such as cashews, almonds and hazelnuts are rich in magnesium, an important mineral that is involved in converting sugar into energy. Nuts are rich in protein too. Others sources of magnesium are whole grains, particularly bran cereals, and some fish, including halibut.
Apart from adding these healthy foods in your diet, you also want to ensure you are getting enough rest and sleep, and exercise daily. All these are important to keep your energy and mood levels high all the time.
Best wishes, Steve