Revive your get-up-and-go
Do you feel in need of a long-term energy boost to get through the festivities? It may be time to give your diet an overhaul to ensure your body gets all the energy-giving nutrients it needs.
Each meal should contain all three of the major food groups – carbohydrates, protein and fats – as each are important energy-givers. But what else should you include and avoid? Here are our top tips…
Top energy-boosting foods are high in:
These help release energy from what we eat and are important for proper red blood cell formation – essential for carrying energy-giving oxygen to all the organs that need it. Find it in pork, beef, oily fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, lentils and wholegrains.
The mineral you need to transport oxygen around the body – lack of iron frequently causes fatigue. Find it in red meat, dark poultry meat, dark leafy greens, pulses, seeds, wholegrains, eggs and dried fruits.
Vital for the body to absorb that important iron. Excellent sources are berries, citrus fruits, peppers, kiwi fruit, raw salad items and leafy greens.
Helps to balance blood sugar levels, preventing fluctuations that can cause energy dips. Find it in shellfish, liver, beef, lamb, nuts and seeds.
Enhances energy release from foods, helps nutrient absorption and helps muscles work to optimal efficiency. Cocoa powder, nuts, seeds, soya beans, leafy greens and wholegrains are good sources.
These stimulate the secretion of the hormone leptin that in turn helps boost the metabolic rate at which you convert food to energy. Eat plenty of oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, plus flaxseeds and walnuts.
An antioxidant that helps cells generate and carry energy. Fish, liver and wholegrains are good sources, and supplements are widely available.
High-sugar snacks or drinks
These may give an immediate energy boost but it’s short-lived and will create a rollercoaster blood sugar level-effect that will leave you lethargic in a short space of time. And if your snack contains little or no protein or fat, the effect will be even worse as both protein and fat help to minimise the highs and lows of blood sugars.
High carb levels at lunchtime
White bread and white pasta will deplete your levels by mid-afternoon, as these carbs help to produce sleep-inducing hormones including serotonin.
Too much caffeine causes those fatigue-inducing blood sugar fluctuations.
Regular consumption of alcohol depresses your nervous system and energy levels, as well as robbing the body’s essential vitamin B and C supply, creating a double-whammy energy sapper.
The perfect diet to increase your energy levels
Unlimited: Fresh salad and vegetable items, herbs and spices, water.
Breakfast: Dried fruit and nuts, oat-based muesli, fresh berries or citrus fruit, soya milk.
Snack: Small piece Cheddar cheese, one oatcake, one apple.
Lunch: Vegetable and lentil soup or canned mackerel and salad, a slice of rye or wholegrain bread, two plums.
Snack: Handful of almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
Evening meal: Lean roast beef, pork or chicken leg, brown rice, large selection of steamed green vegetables.