Foods that boost energy and mood are an interesting possibility that includes not only foods, but also energy beverages, drinks, and supplements. Similarly, healthy lifestyles that embrace a nutritious breakfast and mini-meals are definite energy and mood enhancers.
Several pieces of research found links between what we eat and how we feel. The evidence available shows that changing our diet can alter our metabolism and brain functioning. And ultimately affect our energy level and feel-good mood.
You can start to eat foods that boost energy and mood in three ways. The first is through stimulants like caffeine. The second is by pushing your metabolism to burn more fuel efficiently. The third is to eat foods that stabilise your blood sugar and trigger feel-good brain chemicals, such as serotonin.
Energy Foods That Are Good For You
Wholesome Good Carbs
Carbs are essential for boosting energy and mood. They are the body’s preferred source of fuel, plus they raise serotonin levels. The secret to good carbs is to avoid sweets. This is because sweets cause blood sugar to spike and drop. And this leads to fatigue and moodiness. Therefore, instead of sugary foods, turn to whole grains like wholemeal bread, rice, and cereal. Since the body absorbs whole grains slowly, keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable.
Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cashews are not only rich in protein, but also contain magnesium. A mineral that plays an important role in converting sugar into energy. Magnesium is also present in whole grains, particularly bran cereals, and in some types of fish. And research found that magnesium deficiency can deplete your energy.
Another nutritious nuts are Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts have selenium, which may be a natural mood booster. Studies have shown a link between low selenium and poorer moods. Therefore, for a helpful dose of selenium, add Brazil nuts to your nut mix. Selenium is also present in smaller amounts in meats, seafood, beans, and whole grains.
Lean beef, pork, skinless chicken, and turkey are healthy sources of protein and the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine boosts levels of good brain chemicals that can help you feel more alert and focused. In addition, meats also contain vitamin B12, which may fight insomnia and depression.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest this substance may protect against depression. While the extent of the link is uncertain, omega-3 fatty acids offer a wide range of other benefits, including heart health. Aside from fatty fish, sources of omega-3 include nuts and leafy, dark green vegetables.
Another nutrient that may reduce the risk of depression is folate. Like omega-3 fatty acids, folate is found in leafy green vegetables, including spinach and romaine lettuce. Legumes, nuts, and citrus fruits are also good sources of folate.
Fruits and vegetables
Another way to stay hydrated and energised is to eat water-filled foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Skip dry packaged snacks crackers in favour of apple wedges or cucumber. Other hydrating foods include oatmeal and pasta, which swell up with water when cooked.
Fiber is an energy stabiliser. It slows digestion, providing a more steady supply of energy throughout the day. Boost your fibre intake by eating beans, whole fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, and whole-grain cereals.
If you love chocolates, you probably know that a few squares of dark chocolate can boost your energy and mood. This energy boost is attributed to caffeine along with another stimulant called theobromine.
Energy Boosters: Beverages, Drinks, Supplements
Dehydration and fatigue go hand in hand. Some studies suggest even mild dehydration can slow the metabolism and sap your energy. The solution is simple. Drink plenty of water or other unsweetened beverages at regular intervals.
Coffee may be one of the world’s most popular pick-me-ups. And evidence suggests it works, at least in the short term. Caffeine steps up the body’s metabolism, temporarily improving mental focus and energy. Frequent mini-servings will keep you alert and focused than a single large cup. Just beware of drinking so much coffee that you can’t sleep at night. Lack of sleep is an obvious energy buster.
An alternative source of caffeine is, of course, tea. Research suggests that tea’s combination of caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine can improve alertness, reaction time, and memory. Black tea has also been shown to relax you more and fight the effects of stress.
Energy supplements are often advertised as an alternative to coffee or other stimulants. However many of these supplements actually contain caffeine or similar chemical substances. Examples include kola nut, ginseng, green tea extract, and guarana. These supplements may give you a temporary boost. But experts say the effects are probably not much different than drinking ordinary coffee.
Drinks and Gels
Most energy drinks and gels infuse the body with simple carbohydrates. In other words, these are the sugars that the body can quickly convert into energy. Although this might be a suitable way for high-intensity athletes to keep going. Contrarily, the benefits to you are not much if you are sedentary. Moreover, energy drinks are usually high in calories and low in nutrients. So better to avoid.
Skipping breakfast is not an option if you are hoping for a morning energy boost and mood. Research says that people who eat breakfast every morning enjoy more energy and a better mood throughout the day. So the best breakfast should deliver plenty of fibre and nutrients through whole grain carbs, good fats, and lean protein.
Another strategy for stabilising your blood sugar, energy, and mood is to eat mini-meals and snacks every three to four hours, instead of three large meals. Energy-sustaining snacks include peanut butter, or low-fat cream cheese, on whole-grain crackers. Or a half turkey sandwich with salad or whole-grain cereal with reduced-fat milk.
Besides foods that boost energy and mood, exercise is a natural energy booster. So while focusing on foods that will enhance your feel-good moments, top it up with a 30-minute walk. And if you can’t handle 30 minutes of work out, even a single 15-minute walk can be energising. You can be sure the benefits of exercising will increase with more frequent physical activity. On the whole, regular exercise can relieve depression and encourage bodily changes that make more energy available throughout the day.
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