Health & Wellness: Essential foods and beverages to provide long-lasting energy
Do you often feel like you need a 2 p.m. pick-me-up snack? Well, you’re not alone: Over 90% of people in the U.S. eat at least one snack a day, which equates to almost 25% of their energy intake.
Get the most out of your beverages and meals by ensuring that the food you are eating promotes energy. Let’s discuss what beverages and foods are better left out of your diet and which ones you should prioritize in your meals.
Beverages and foods that are better left out of your diet
Take your energy levels into your own hands by avoiding foods that weigh you down and make you feel groggy. Surprisingly, coffee, energy drinks, sugary cereals and bread can all have a negative effect on your energy levels.
Coffee and energy drinks
As many know, coffee and energy drinks are intended to make you feel more alert and energetic. So when they have the opposite effect, it raises red flags. Coffee and energy drinks use caffeine, which is “a drug that stimulates (increases the activity of) your brain and nervous system,” according to Better Health. Ultimately, this keeps us awake. So, when it is taken anytime within six hours of going to bed, it can interfere with your sleep schedule.
Many of us grab cereal to eat for a yummy breakfast when we are in a rush. Unfortunately for the majority of us, it can cause tiredness by mid-day. Eating a high amount of sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike, which means it will eventually crash. Since our body’s primary source of energy comes from the glucose in our blood, the body will experience fatigue when it’s low.
Bread is a comfort food, but what you may not realize when you are eating it is it can be the reason why you want to take a nap. Refined carbohydrates are found in bread, which makes our bodies produce the hormone melatonin, which triggers our bodies to go to sleep.
Beverages and foods that you should prioritize in your diet
Are you looking for exciting beverages and foods that can bring more energy into your life? Fresh bananas, oats and beet juice are perfect when it comes to maintaining your energy levels throughout the day.
Who doesn’t love eating a fresh banana with peanut butter and chocolate? Luckily, bananas are packed with nutrients that come with a lot of benefits, including providing energy. They are a great source of potassium, which helps the brain receive more oxygen, lowers blood sugar and regulates the heart. In addition, bananas have vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium that will keep you feeling healthy.
Oats are a powerhouse when it comes to complex carbohydrates, which can make you feel awake and vibrant for extended periods of time. Since they contain longer chains, they “take longer to break down and provide more lasting energy in the body than simple carbohydrates,” says Medical News Today. If you’re looking for ways to include more oats into your recipes, take a look at 25 appetizing meals Food Network recommends with oats.
Beet juice is a fast and sweet way to preserve your energy levels. “Beets are rich in natural chemicals called nitrates,” says Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH. “Through a chain reaction, your body changes nitrates into nitric oxide, which helps with blood flow and blood pressure.” She recommends drinking two cups a day to notice a difference in blood pressure.
Now that you’re more of an expert on what to avoid and what to include in your diet, you can rest assured you will have the energy to keep you going throughout the day. Just remember that bodies crave foods with rich nutrients like bananas, oats and beet juice to thrive.
Lindsey Certonio is a project manager at Stage Marketing, a full-service content marketing agency based in Provo.