How to eat to boost energy levels


Sagging energy levels can affect performance. Energy levels can be boosted through disciplined practices. Follow this seven-pronged approach and see your energy levels shoot up. Make simple changes in your day to day activities for enhanced energy levels.

We lead extremely fast-paced lives, rushing to keep appointments, whether at work or in our personal lives. We are always on the run, juggling things and multi-tasking – it's quite a stressful life that we live. Along with stress we also have to deal with constant fatigue. These patterns have become a kind of a norm and we have learned to take them in our stride. But do you know that continual exhaustion combined with high-stress levels can affect not just performance, but lower energy levels and be detrimental to health?

Address the issue; make healthy changes, before your crazy lifestyle causes a slowdown. Get enough rest and fuel your body with the right foods, so your energy levels remain at an optimum and you are ready for the long haul that the each day throws at you.



What is the source of energy?


The main constituents of all that we eat, mainly carbohydrates, protein and fats, are the nutrients that provide us calories that get converted into energy.

The carbohydrates in our food get converted into glucose (blood sugar), which is the most vital source of energy. The rise in blood sugar levels activates the pancreas which releases insulin, a hormone that is essential for the glucose to enter the body's cells. Once glucose enters the cells it provides energy that is needed to fuel the body.

A certain amount of the excess glucose gets stored in the liver and the muscles, and it is called glycogen. Glycogen is like a reserve and the body draws on it when there is a drop in the blood sugar levels. The liver and muscles can store only so much glycogen, the extra glucose gets converted into fat.

Proteins are a source of energy too, but they are not as good a source as carbohydrates. Though fats have the highest concentration of calories they do not serve as good energy sources, for they are slower to digest and metabolise.

Vitamins are not a source of energy but are nonetheless essential nutrients for they play a significant role in the metabolic processes that take place, during the production of energy. A wholesome diet that packs a bit of all food types provides adequate amounts of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that the body needs. Additionally, most fruits provide copious amounts of sugars that are get converted into energy real quick.

The best approach for high-energy eating


If you want to get the most from your food, in terms of energy, you'll have to ignore a number of rules that seem to hold true. Such as –

  • You need to eat fewer carbs
  • Snacking between meals is a big No
  • Sugary foodstuffs are great energisers

You'll need to chuck these rules, and devise your own set of rules and the steps mentioned below will show you how.

#Rule no: 1 – Don't skip breakfast


Never say no to breakfast. Eating a hearty breakfast will give your day a good kick start and keep you going through the day. The night long fast makes the energy levels drop and this can impact your mental and physical alertness. Eating breakfast boosts performance. It enables you to think and work better. Skipping breakfast means depriving the body of energy – and making it run on empty.

Studies conducted on children indicate that kids who eat breakfast exhibit better concentration, creativity and behaviour. It has absolutely the same impact on adults too. Eat wholesome breakfasts and see how they perk you up.

#Rule no: 2 – Include iron rich foods


Iron deficiency is the most common cause for anaemia. Iron is fundamental in the production of haemoglobin, which is the central element of red blood cells. It is haemoglobin that transfers oxygen to the body's cells. Oxygen is essential for the production of energy and for various metabolic functions. A drop in the iron reserves adversely affects the supply of oxygen, which means a whole lot of functions slow down, resulting in dropped energy levels, weakness and trouble with concentration.

Boost haemoglobin levels by eating iron-rich foods, such as –

  • Red meat
  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Dried fruits
  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy veggies
  • Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

You can also get an iron boost by eating foodstuff fortified with iron, such as cereals and breads. Include vitamin C rich foods in your diet for better absorption of iron.

#Rule no: 3 – Focus on complex carbs


Whole grain products, starchy vegetables, legumes and lentils are good sources of complex carbohydrates. They are slow to digest and therefore provide a balanced fuel supply for the brain and the body. They are also packed with healthy nutrients that keep you well nourished.

#Rule no: 4 - Simple sugars are a bad choice


Confectionary items such as cakes and sweets and candies and chocolates can give you an instant energy boost, which is generally short-lived. The energy level drops as quickly as it shoots up, leaving you more worn-out than you were before.

#Rule no: 5 – Eat small meals more often


Eating five to six small meals or three smallish meals interspaced with healthy snacks in between is a better way of fuelling yourself. This way of eating keeps the blood sugar levels regulated and there is no sudden drop or peak of the levels. The main cause for midday fatigue is a drop in blood sugar levels. Eating something between breakfast and lunch can address this problem.

Don't hesitate to have small healthy bites between main meals. It is fine to have a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit, or a whole grain sandwich or a salad or soup. Yoghurt is good too as are vegetable crudités, with a mint chutney or a nice healthy dip. Don't opt for junk meals, instead look for foodstuff that can provide nutrition and be filling at the same time. Also, ensure that your main meal sizes are reduced. You will need to watch your calorie intake too.

#Rule no: 6 - Don't forget to hydrate


I cannot emphasise enough the significance of water. Water is vital, not just for those who want to boost energy levels, but for everyone. You should look at drinking two to three litres of fluids a day. Plain water, fresh juices, buttermilk, coconut water, herbal and green tea, fresh lime soda, vegetable juice, milk and clear soup etcetera all count. Vegetables and fruits with a high water content also count. So, munch on cucumbers and lettuce, or have juicy fruits such as melons. What don't count are alcoholic drinks, tea and coffee, carbonated drinks, cola, artificially sweetened and flavoured drinks. Drink stuff that is healthy and it'll keep you hydrated and make you bubble with energy.

Drink more water, if you lose water. This means you need to hydrate yourself if you are out in the sun and perspiring or if you're exercising or playing a sport or if the weather is hot and humid. Loss of water can cause dehydration that can soon turn into fatigue.



Thirst is an indicator that your body needs water, but unfortunately, by the time the body sends a message that it needs water, it is already dehydrated. The ideal thing to do is to keep sipping liquids throughout the day, and not wait for the body to signal that it needs water.

#Rule no: 7 - Limit caffeine intake


Caffeine can drive away sleep - and many people need their daily dose of caffeine. They cannot function without this stimulant. Caffeine surreptitiously impedes energy levels, even though it appears to do the opposite. Caffeine counters the effects of adenosine, a chemical in the brain that induces sleep. The more caffeine that goes into your system the more it restricts the sleep inducing chemical. Though sleep vanishes, the body suffers, because sleep is required for the body to rest and recoup. The lack of sleep brings down the energy levels.

These simple techniques will help you regain lost energy levels. It is all about discipline.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Comments

Author: K Mohan10 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

The author gave good tips as to how to get energy out of what we take regularly in a day and of course having so much of water drinking habit too. But many people are not having time to eat breakfast and they normally skip citing being late to office and do not bother about health as skipping breakfast means giving room for gas formation inside the stomach. Eating frequently is recommended. But some feel that others would mind eating frequently and hence the altogether skip eating. So what I mean to say that instead of eating for others, we must eat for our survival no matter how many times we eat and drink fresh water.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao13 May 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

A very informative article about food for energy. Thanks to Ms.Juana. She is a good writer with an easy to understand language with more information.
We should avoid oily foods. Foods with more spice are also not advisable. It is better to avoid them. Heavy breakfast is suggested by almost all doctors. Lunch should be normal and dinner should be as low as possible and as early as possible. One should make a point to eat at least 2 hours before you sleep. Water in between the food is not advisable as per the doctors. But water should be taken as much as possible.

Author: Juana16 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

Mohan,

The tips are for those interested in boosting energy levels. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I have explained the reason for it. Skipping breakfast is not a good idea. And giving the excuse of 'no time' shows poor time management and a lack of discipline. It takes 10 minutes to grab a bite.

Eating a fruit and a handful of nuts could be a way to deal with the morning rush hour. Keeping breakfast simple and healthy is another way of combating the morning rush. People must make time for themselves.

Eating frequent, but small meals is a healthy practice. Individuals can have two small snacks between meals. By snacks, I mean healthy stuff - a bowl of raw vegetables or fruits. A cup of curd, a handful of nuts or roasted soy or seeds. A whole grain sandwich with nutritious stuffing and spreads can also make a healthy snack.

Author: Juana21 Jun 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

I agree with Srinivasa Rao, oily foods are bad because they make us sluggish. I do not quite know what a heavy breakfast would be, but a healthy one is definitely a must. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day because it gives you a quick start, and it should be packed with the right nutrients.

Here are a few facts about breakfast that everyone must know –

1. Skipping breakfast can slow down metabolism, hamper the digestive system
2. Breakfast provides energy to go through the day
3. Going without breakfast results in craving for unhealthy foods, as the energy levels dip as do the blood sugar levels
4. Skipping breakfast means you would eat more during lunch and dinner
5. Those who skip breakfast often battle with their weight
6. No breakfast means you would lose muscle as the body looks for energy to meet its requirement

All meals should be a combination of fibre, protein and carbs, and of course minerals and vitamins which are vital nutrients.

Water must be had throughout the day - at least, 2-3 litres of fluids per day, and more if you lose water through perspiration, due to physical exertion or the weather.



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