7 Strategies For High-Energy Eating

May 06, 2011 No Comments by

Eating for optimal energy breaks many of the “rules” people commonly believe—for instance, that carbohydrates are bad, that snacking is a no-no, and that sugar is a good pick-me-up. These seven simple steps will put you on the right path.

  1. Eat breakfast. This is the meal that sets you up for the day. It replenishes your bodies energy supplies after a night’s fast and provides energy needed to stay physically and mentally alert. Breakfast enhances learning and physical performance. It is a critical meal for adults and children alike. Without breakfast your body is running on empty. Studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast concentrate better, are more creative, and behave better; this applies to adults as well.
  2. Get enough iron-rich foods. Iron-deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in North America. Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to your body’s cells where it is used to produce energy and perform essential metabolic functions.If your iron stores are low, your red blood cells can’t supply much oxygen to the cells. The consequences of iron deficiency are fatigue, low energy, and difficulty in concentrating. The best food sources are red meats, organ meats, iron-fortified cereal products and whole-grain or enriched breads, dried-fruits, green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and blackstrap molasses.
  3. Focus on complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates found in breads, grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and sweets are digested and end up as the simple sugar glucose. It is this glucose that provides fuel for your brain, muscles, and other body tissues. Complex carbohydrates in whole-grain breads and cereals, lentils, legumes, and other starchy vegetables are the fuel of choice since they are digested gradually and serve as a steady fuel supply for body and brain. In addition, they provide many important vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals to keep your body well nourished.
  4. Go easy on the simple sugars. Candy and sweets, for example, might give you a quick rise in energy but this is generally followed by a “crash” that leaves you even more tired than you were before.
  5. Eat small amounts of food throughout the day. Eating small meals and/or snacks throughout the day keeps your blood sugar steady. A low blood sugar is one of the common causes of afternoon fatigue. Smaller meals can also help stave off feelings of hunger. Eating a midday lunch will refuel you for the afternoon. Snacks can be the same as small meals, so a sandwich, soup, cheese and crackers, mini pizzas, yogurt with fruit, or a bean dip and vegetables all make the nutritional grade. Just be sure to eat less at mealtime if you’re snacking between meals.
  6. Stay hydrated. Everyone needs at least 6-8 glasses of fluid per day to be properly hydrated. If you exercise, you need more. Water regulates your body temperature, transports nutrients to your body, and carries waste away. Fatigue is one symptom of mild dehydration. Unfortunately, you cannot depend on thirst as an indicator of your fluid needs and you could be mildly dehydrated without knowing. You should get in the habit of consuming fluids regularly, even if you are not active.
  7. Go easy on caffeine. The proper amount of sleep is vital for feeling energetic. Caffeine is a stimulant that competes with adenosine, a chemical that helps induce slumber. The more caffeine you drink, the less adenosine is available for making you drowsy—and your sleep may suffer.

Health And Nutrition
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