Eating for Energy

Does what we eat really matter in regards to our energy levels?Energy

You bet it matters.  A lot.

Really there are two parts to this one, because not just what we eat, but what we don’t eat can affect how much energy we have.

What should we avoid?

  • Caffeine.  Sure it seems like caffeine will give us energy, but depending upon it will disrupt our bodies’ natural rhythms.  Not good.  As someone who loves coffee, I can’t tell you to never drink it – I still enjoy a cup every morning, but I don’t drink it all day long.
  • Sugar.  Another food that appears to give us a strong energy rush is sugar.  Although it may bring us up quickly, the downside is that we will soon crash and feel worse than we did before we indulged.
  • Processed foods.  Processed foods are full of sugar, chemicals and other ingredients we often can’t pronounce.  If it’s not real food, why would we assume it will give us energy?  Our bodies need nutrients, not chemicals to run efficiently.
  • Alcohol.  Like caffeine, a drink or two once in a while isn’t a bad thing, but alcohol can interrupt sleep patterns.   If you aren’t sleeping well, you are going to be tired the next day.

What should we add?

  • Water.  So many of us run around every day dehydrated.  Simply drinking more water can resolve that.  If we are hydrated we feel better.
  • Greens.  Dark leafy greens are FULL of nutrients.  Most people don’t eat enough of them.   Try adding them to your salads, soups or enjoying as a side to dinner.  A mid-afternoon green smoothie is the perfect substitute for candy or soda.
  • Fiber.  Fiber helps us feel full, which helps us avoid the sugary and processed foods we gravitate towards when we are hungry and want to munch.  Add more fiber to your diet and it’s easier to avoid those energy sucking foods.  Oatmeal, whole grains, quinoa, fruits like apples and pears are all good sources of fiber.

Make it a goal this week to pick one food to avoid and one to add each day.  Consider it an experiment and see how you feel throughout the day.  Try it for a week and see if your energy levels don’t increase.  You should start feeling healthier and possibly lighter as an extra bonus!

What is the toughest food for you to avoid or add to your diet?  How could you make it a little easier?

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