In Part 1 of our investigation of energy boosting foods, I made the point that we expect an awful lot from our diets without always considering what we are eating. We are the ‘quick fix’ generation who want quality nutrition and to feel like a million dollars, but will open a bottle of energy drink and a bag of chips when we’re feeling a little flat.
So in this post we’ll continue to suggest some healthier alternatives to those convenient, but ultimately unhelpful, empty-calorie stuffed snacks that we find so appealing when we are running low.
We want energy boosting foods that have no negative health consequences.
You knew it had to be on this list somewhere, so why don’t we just get it out of the way immediately?
Did you know that by weight, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that we can eat? Rich in Vitamins C and K, Calcium, fibre and important antioxidants which eradicate free radicals. Kale is also famously high in Iron, which is vital for carrying oxygen around our bodies in our blood.
All of these factors put if high up on out table of energy boosting foods, but admittedly, a bunch of raw kale might not be the most attractive meal prospect for everyone, so why not try one of these ideas to get more of this fabulous brassica:
- Steam until wilted and serve with a squeeze of lemon for the perfect side dish.
- Chop into thin shreds and toss through a salad or slaw for extra health benefits.
- Tear into small pieces and dress with a little olive oil, dukkah, salt and pepper and roast in a low oven until crispy. Viola! Delicious, crunchy kale chips!
All of the above are best served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This enhances the flavour, but also – very importantly – provides additional Vitamin C which assists in the absorption of the Iron in the leaves.
And whilst we’re talking about lemons…
There are few energy boosting foods that can outdo the simple lemon.
These golden citrus fruits are packed full of zesty Vitamin C – great for moving oxygen around our bodies as well as being essential for Iron absorption. Always squirt a spritz of lemon over your steak before tucking in!
My mother swore by a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice in a glass of warm water to start the day and it seems she may well have been right. Introducing this basic drink into your morning routine will energise you, get your digestive system working and help to cleanse your liver and kidneys.
If you are interested in knowing more about various kinds of citrus and how to grow them yourself, see our guide to growing citrus trees.
Research into the advantages of including spirulina in your diet is still comparatively new, but the early signs are that this single-cell blue-green algae has lots to offer.
Containing Vitamins B1, B2 and B3, protein, the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, Iron and Copper (amongst other minerals), chlorophyll, antioxidants and an impressive range of nutrients that our bodies need, this is one of the energy boosting foods we should all be trying out.
If you’d like to know more about this amazing algae, see the section on spirulina here.
Usually sold as some form of powder or liquid, spirulina is easy to add to our healthy Shake or one of our Yummy Protein Bowls. Spirulina is often packaged as one of a number of so-called ‘super greens‘ in a nutritional blend.
See here for prices and further information on spirulina and spirulina blends.
A very experienced nutritionist told me many moons ago that your can’t go wrong if you include plenty of red fruit and veg in your meals as they are brimming with useful antioxidants.
Well, red capsicum certainly tick that box and due to their high levels of Vitamin C, they are also one of our favourite energy boosting foods.
Red capsicum adds crunch and flavour to salads, is great as a crudite to dip in protein rich hummus or in a Vitamin B packed mushroom pate and is delicious adding to pasta and rice dishes.
Did you know that coconut’s profile has a lot in common with human blood plasma? This has led to claims that they are the same, and whilst it’s not strictly true, like many stories of this type there is enough of a grain of truth for the similarities to be striking. If you’d like to read more about this, see here.
This compatibility to us means that coconut water has a number of health benefits. Primarily, it is excellent for hydration – in fact it is more hydrating than regular water. This is because it provides all 5 essential electrolytes. If you are looking for energy boosting foods, check out coconut water as it’s pretty much Nature’s energy drink.
Please see here for more information and prices for coconut water.
Making sensible choice when we are feeling out of pep isn’t really all that hard. With a little planning and some sensible shopping, you can have energy boosting foods on hand all through the day and not have to resort to junk food to keep you going.