We all require energy to function and have the stamina to go about daily activities. Without it, productivity levels fall drastically as fatigue sets in. Consequently, many people like to eat or drink energizing foods and beverages to remain at their best throughout the day. But, too often than not, we reach for candy bars and soft drinks like Red Bull to keep our energy levels up. However, processed foods and beverages are only rich in sugar or fast metabolizing glucose. Soon after consuming them, a quick drop in energy follows, leaving you feeling sluggish or even in a bad mood.

The good news is that energizing foods can sustain vitality for extended periods and prevent a drastic drop in blood sugar. Such foods often contain complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and provide lasting energy. The list of healthy, energizing foods is long. However, if you want a few quick suggestions, here are the top 5 foods for natural energy.

1. Oats

Dubbed the breakfast of champions, oatmeal is a great dish to energize your body in the morning and prepare yourself for the busy day ahead. This energy-rich food is also packed with plenty of dietary fiber. One ounce of dried oats yields about 177g in weight and contains 120 calories. Additionally, oats are low on the glycemic index, making them suitable for people with diabetes.

2. Yogurt

One way to induce the slow release of glucose is by combining carbs with another nutrient. For instance, protein will slow down the digestion of carbohydrates for more sustained energy release. You can achieve this effect by eating yogurt for dessert after meals. Greek yogurt, in particular, has the highest amounts of protein. For example, one container with 170g of Greek yogurt will provide about 17g of protein, 100 calories and 6g of carbohydrate content.

3. Legumes

Legumes are revered for being some of the best low-fat plant-based protein sources. But did you know that they are also energizing foods? For example, one tablespoon (11g) of cooked beans contains about 14 calories (58.6 kJ of energy). To put this into perspective, if one eats one cup serving (containing 177g) of cooked beans, one will get 924kJ (equivalent to 225 calories). Other energizing legumes include lentils, soy and chickpeas, to name a few.

4. Nuts

Ever wondered why a single peanut butter sandwich is enough to push you through mid-afternoon doldrums? Nuts like pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts and walnuts contain plenty of dietary fiber. This means they break down slowly in the digestive tract, leading to sustained glucose release. So snacking on nuts throughout the day gives you an energy boost and a consistent supply of healthy fats and protein.

5. Fruits

If you want to gratify your sweet tooth cravings and still get an instant energy boost, fruits are much healthier than candy bars, energy drinks and coffee. The simple sugars in fresh fruit juice and smoothies include varying proportions of fructose, sucrose and glucose, which can be quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. In addition, if you eat whole fruits, fiber will slow digestion and bring about sustained energy release. What is good about fruits is that they are rich in vitamins and other trace minerals that promote good health.

Other than learning about healthy, energizing foods to include in your diet, knowing how to eat them right can make a difference. For example, nutrition experts recommend eating multiple small meals throughout the day rather than one extensive main course. Refueling the body every few hours boosts metabolism and often contributes to a feeling of vitality.

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Jeff Moji

Hi there. I'm Jeff Moji, an engineer, information technologist, and health enthusiast. I have set up this website to explore the best ways to keep fit and healthy as I grow older during this pandemic-prone time. Please keep in touch so we can exchange information and spur one another on.

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