Healthy Eating: 5 energy-boosting foods

Feeling drowsy? In need a of a quick “pick me up” snack? Check out these quick and easy, yet healthy energy-enhancing foods.

coffee with milk 300 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
coffee with milk 300
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Feeling fatigued is one of the most common complaints that people have, and sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you have slept five hours or the perfect eight, you just feel drowsy. Most people’s response is to reach for another cup of coffee. Or perhaps a sugar loaded snack such as a chocolate bar as that instant sugar rush would certainly give you a quick and much needed jolt. But what if you reached for neither? And instead tried perhaps a healthier but less thought of option?
Wake up with water
We all know that drinking water throughout the day is not only healthy for us, but is extremely important. Water not only helps to regulate our internal body temperature and keeps our organs functioning properly, but it is also revitalizes our skin and repairs our muscles. Not drinking enough fluids throughout the day can lead to dehydration, which can causes dizziness, headaches and can even land you in the hospital.
Now these side effects occur only when you are severely dehydrated, but what about mild dehydration, which is when our body has lost 2% of its fluids? Even losing a small amount of fluids without replacing it can affect our mood and our ability to concentrate as well as cause drowsiness. Many of us will remember to have our morning coffee, but how many of us will remember to have a glass or two of water as soon as we wake up? Remember that by the time you wake you’ve already gone a few hours without water or any liquids, and are most likely already dehydrated. So to prevent afternoon fatigue remember to sip on H2O in the morning. 
Pop some berries
It’s 4 o’clock – the day is starting to dwindle down, but you still have a few more hours to go. But to power through those few remaining hours of work or school, you obviously need a quick pick me up. Most people think that a sweet treat will get them through the last part of the day. Unfortunately this logic is wrong. And no matter how delicious your candy or chocolate may be, these snacks can actually make you feel more fatigued.
When high amounts of sugar enter the blood stream, they send it soaring. However, the higher it goes, the quicker it falls, and while you may have felt revitalized for a while, you will soon go back to feeling drowsy.
So why berries? Berries are not only loaded with healthy vitamins and antioxidants, but they are also packed with fiber. Why is this important? Aside from being extremely good for us, high-fiber foods release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly, thus preventing those peaks and crashes.
Get uplifted lentils
One of the main causes of fatigue is anemia. Low iron, especially amongst woman, is extremely common and in western countries is caused directly by not getting enough of this essential mineral on a daily basis.
So how will lentils help? These legumes are packed full of the nutrients, offering nearly 80% of the daily recommended intake per cup. What’s more, lentils are packed with fiber, making them a slow burning fuel that will keep you going all day long.
Cut drowsiness with nuts (and seeds)
While (most) nuts have a reputation for being healthy – they unfortunately are also known for being high in fat. However, when it comes to boosting your energy, this high amount of fat is actually beneficial.
First things first. The fat in most nuts, especially almonds, is good unsaturated fat, and so it provides a long list of health benefits to your body. The high amounts of fat and protein, will also cause your body to use up the energy slower and so you will feel re-energized without crashing later.
Another great option is pumpkin seeds. Just a handful of pumpkin seeds can give you energy to power through anything from long, boring meetings to an intense workout in the gym. These seeds are not only loaded with an ideal combination of healthy fat, fiber and protein – which will keep you feeling energized longer – but they are also an excellent source of energy boosting nutrients including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. 
Get alert with plain Greek yogurt
Yogurt has always been regarded as a healthy treat, but lately all everyone is talking about is Greek yogurt. What is all the fuss about? Thicker and creamier, Greek yogurt on average contains double the amount of protein and half the amount of sugar as regular yogurt. As a result, you will not only feel full longer, but its nutritional content makes it an ideal afternoon pick me up treat, as it will raise your blood sugar levels slowly and efficiently. What’s more, Greek yogurt is loaded with magnesium – an essential mineral needed to process adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule used for transporting chemical energy within cells. ATP is used for both cell metabolism, and for quick bursts of energy.