Processed foods and drinks that promise unbound energy are scattered on the shelves and in the refrigerators of every major retailer. Many of these products contain obscene amounts of caffeine and sugar. Sugar may make us feel good for a short time due to dopamine released when sugary foods are consumed. Caffeine can give us a euphoric feeling for a while due to the release of adrenaline. Once the short-lived effects of caffeine and sugar have passed, however, they leave us feeling tired, irritable, and craving more.
There are other options beyond caffeine and sugar to fuel our bodies and keep us going. Providing our bodies with the best fats, proteins, carbs, and vitamins will allow for peak performance. Today, we’ll look at four natural sources of energy that provide health benefits at the same time.
Healthy Fats to Boost Energy and Feel Full Longer
The idea that all fats in our food are unhealthy is a common misconception. Some studies suggest that even saturated fat, the worst type of fat, may not be as bad as we once thought. There are actually quite a few foods high in fats that are also super healthy, such as hemp seed, avocado, fatty salmon, olives and olive oil, dark chocolates, and even eggs.
Coconut oil is another great source of healthy fats to keep our energy sustained. It contains power packed compounds such as MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) that can provide a much-needed boost to get you through the mid-afternoon rut. MCTs have been found to be a very effective and nutritious source of energy; more information can be found in this guide.
Slow Burning Carbohydrates to Avoid a Sugar Crash
Carbohydrates provide our body with sugars that are immediately utilized by our brain, muscles, and organs for energy. If we provide more energy than we need at a given time, our body – originally adapted before the invention of organized society and easy to access food – will store this extra energy as fat. Too much sugar at one time can also cause a nasty crash sometime after the sugar rush has faded.
Our bodies perform at their best when fed with healthy, slow-burning carbohydrates with lots of fiber. Oats are a very cheap and easy option for long-lasting energy. Oats are packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals to keep us going. If you’re looking for a snack to bridge the gap between your meals, try a banana, sweet potato, or some sugar peas.
Power Packed Proteins
Proteins are broken down and utilized as amino acids in various processes throughout the body. To keep our bodies at their best, we need to provide it with healthy sources of protein. It is advisable to consume a wide variety of different sources of protein for a complete diet.
Meats and seafood contain a full profile of essential amino acids, along with some vegetable sources such as quinoa and soy. Almonds, peas, and chia seeds can be a good source of protein in veg. There are also protein powder mixes available for those who need a quick, on-the-go solution.
If you’re eating a diet high in all the foods and nutrients listed above, then there is a good chance that you’re already getting the majority of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to work at its fullest potential.
Iron can be found in red meats such as beef and venison. Essential for moving oxygen to the muscles that need it, iron is a staple for human beings. Magnesium is needed in the production of ATP, utilized by our cells to make energy; it can be found in abundance in spinach, black beans, or fish.
A healthy diet is a key to keeping our body strong and ready to take on any challenge. Natural energy comes from whole foods and responsible eating habits, not from a shiny can or bottle. By supplementing a combination of nutrients and fresh, healthy food, you’ll have all the natural energy you need – and plenty of health benefits as well!