When you wake up in the morning, do you feel rested and energized, ready to start a new day? By mid-afternoon, do you still feel alert and strong enough to do what you need to do for the rest of the day? If you’ve been shaking your head since the first sentence, thinking you can’t remember what it’s like to have sufficient energy, you’re not alone in your struggle. The good news is that, you can learn to eat for energy!
How much do you know about macronutrients and micronutrients? Your body needs both to function adequately. Food is the main source for both types of nutrients. Macronutrients supply you with proteins, fats and carbohydrates while micronutrients supply minerals and vitamins (as opposed to calories). If you lack energy, the first thing to do is analyze your diet.
America has become an anti-carb nation
In the past, I’ve shared articles like this one that question whether keto diets are good or bad for your health. To eat for energy, you need simple and complex carbohydrates. You typically find the latter in starchy foods, such as potatoes, grains or pasta. Simple carbs, on the other hand, mainly come from the natural sugars in fruit, dairy products and honey.
Carbohydrate intake helps regulate blood sugar but is also the primary means for energizing your body because your body burns the calories, which turns them into fuel. Also, carbs provide the nutrients that your good gut bacteria need to thrive. When this bacteria is functioning at optimal levels, it aids in digestion. (If your good gut bacteria is not getting the nutrients it needs, you’re likely to develop health problems.)
Eat for energy by providing your body with fats and proteins
People hear the word “fat” and they panic. When your goal is to eat for energy, you NEED fats. Fats are a primary source of calories, which convert to energy in your body. You’re no doubt aware how important vitamins are to your health. Do you know, however, that fats help your body with vitamin absorption?
Proteins, on the other hand, are sort of like taxi cabs that transport nutrients to various cells in your body. Proteins help regulate your bodily processes, and they’re also a source of calories. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Our bodies can manufacture nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids can only be gotten from food. Proteins are composed of amino acids. Grass fed beef, chicken, various types of fish and things like chick peas or peanut butter are great sources of protein.
If you eat for energy, you must drink for it, too
So many people in the United States are walking around in chronic states of dehydration. You will not have energy if you are poorly hydrated. Determine your weight. Divide that number in half, and that is approximately how many ounces of water you need to stay hydrated on a daily basis. A while back, I shared this article, which contains creative ways to flavor your water.
If you feel heavy, tired, sluggish, confused, headache-y and all around BLAH, make sure you are drinking enough water, because chances are, you’re not.
Let’s not forget about fiber when we eat for energy
Citrus fruit, prunes, oatmeal, barley, legumes and bran are high-fiber foods. Not only do you need fiber for energy, it also helps prevent constipation. You will reduce your risk for heart disease, Type II diabetes and other adverse health conditions if you consume sufficient amounts of fiber.
Energy beyond the diet
Your mental, spiritual and emotional health have a significant impact on your energy level, as well. Yes, it’s important to eat for energy. It’s also important to nurture your mental, spiritual and emotional health. If any or all of these is out of whack, you may feel it in the form of a serious lack of energy.
The United States has a serious drug problem. Many drugs are prescription medications to treat depression and similar conditions. Do you know approximately 11% of all adults in the U.S. are currently taking anti-depression drugs? Many people, however, are beginning to learn that there are often natural remedies through diet and other means that can help treat depression, increase energy levels and promote overall good health.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed physician or scientist. This article is not intended to give medical advice.