4 Whole Foods to Optimize Your Energy Today
May 5, 2022
Not all fruits are the same. Some boost health more than others, and apples are high up on the list. Apples are full of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), fiber, and antioxidants, including the potent polyphenol quercetin. Apple consumption has been associated with a lower risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, cancer prevention, increased cognitive function, and brain protection from oxidative stress, among many other benefits.
Energy Boost: Apples are an excellent source of glucose, which can give you a quick energy boost at any time of day. They’re also high in vitamin C and the B-Vitamin complex, which may help increase energy levels.
How/When to Eat: Apples come in many different varieties and colors; go with whatever you prefer. And make sure you eat the skin – that’s where much of the fiber and phytonutrients come from.
3) SWEET POTATOES
Often relegated as a side item alongside a slab of steak or chicken, the sweet potato makes for a perfectly good energy boosting snack all on its own.Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, including beta-carotene (which is where the orange color comes from). They are an all-around healthy food – great for the immune system, gut health, disease prevention, and more.
Energy Boost: Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which provide you with a slow-digesting fuel to get you through any workout or dip in energy.
How/When to Eat: Prepare it the same way you would a regular potato – baked sweet potato, sweet potato fries, mashed, etc.
2) NUTS and NUT BUTTERS
Nuts are a great source of heart-healthy (unsaturated) fats, while also being low in carbs and providing a decent amount of protein. You have many nuts to choose from, including almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and cashews. Nut butters are another option if you’re looking to add nuts to smoothies or use as “dips” for celery or carrots. Peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter are the most common ones. Rather than reaching for a handful of chips or crackers as a quick afternoon pick-me-up, scoop up some clean energy with a handful of almonds!
Energy Boost: Most nuts are energy dense, meaning they pack a ton of benefits into a small package. For example, a handful of plain peanuts can power you for an afternoon with 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of healthy fats.
How/When to Eat: When shopping for nuts, try to avoid flavors like “honey roasted” that contain extra sugar. Stick with raw or plain version of your favorite nuts. With nut butters, look for products with no added sugars or hydrogenated oils (including palm oil). Ideally, the ingredients list on the label should only include the nut itself and salt.
In general, traditional grains like pastas, breads, or cereals would not be on a list of high energy foods because of their added sugars, processing and heavy carbohydrate loads. However, oats are a unique case. Not only are they beneficial for preventing heart disease and lowering cholesterol levels, as well as aiding digestion and providing satiety, but they are an excellent source of energy.
Energy Boost: The fiber-rich carbs in oats, coupled with their simple ingredient list (oats) makes them an efficient, perfect source of fuel for breakfast, lunch or even as a mid-day snack.
How/When to Eat: Choose old fashioned, rolled, or steel-cut oats, which are less processed than “quick” oats, and avoid sugary instant oat packets (ie, brown sugar and apple cinnamon flavors). Essentially, the only ingredient should be “oats”.
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