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Sunday, April 5, 2015
What Types of Food BOOST your ENERGY?
By Laura Harvey, Registered Holistic Nutritionist of Fresh Senses
These days we are all overworked and over scheduled. We need to eat foods that are nutrient dense, fresh and alive to make us FEEL FRESH and ALIVE and foods that will provide us with sustainable energy. Which foods Boost Your Energy and how does this work?
Simple. First and foremost you want to maintain your blood sugars and avoid constant crashes and fluctuations. To do this you want to make sure every snack and meal has fibre, healthy fats, and protein. Our focus is not on quantity so you don’t need a lot of these, just being consistent and choosing quality is our goal.
Have you heard of Hypoglycemia? This sentence explains it perfectly:
“I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry”.
Have you ever been there? Most likely, you have, and a lot of the times people are experiencing symptoms of Hypoglycemia and have no idea.
Hypoglycemia is an abnormally diminished content of glucose in the blood. The term literally means “low sugar blood”. (Wikipedia.org)
To explain it, I will explain the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index provides a measure of how quickly blood sugars rise after consumption of a particular food. Foods that measure the highest are usually foods that are refined and processed, lacking in protein, fibre, fat, and very high in carbohydrates and sugar. Foods that measure low on the glycemic index usually take longer to digest and have a slower rate of sugar absorption. There is also the Glycemic Load which is equally important and is a number that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after consumption.
One way to avoid Hypoglycemia and energy fluctuations is to make sure to avoid sugar, which suppresses our immune systems, leads to chromium deficiency which also leads to Hypoglycemia, and causes hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. By managing and balancing your blood sugars through whole, real foods you can stop the vicious cycle, stop food cravings, and boost your energy.
The purpose of fibre and protein is to slow down the release of insulin that is needed in the body which will help boost your energy. Most foods found in their whole form and paired together will have the fibre or protein needed. For example, an apple with almonds. The apple has carbohydrates, natural sugars and nutrients, as well as fibre in the skin. The almonds have fibre and protein to slow the rise in blood sugars and this complete snack will help boost your energy throughout the day.
When you have a meal that is lacking in these areas (healthy fats, nutrients, proteins, and fibre) our bodies are expecting to get all of these important nutrients and therefor send a signal saying that we are hungry again because what your body needed wasn’t fulfilled. For example: Let’s say you grab a quick bite of french fries, ketchup, and soda. These are all carbohydrates and sugar. Without the fibre and protein, your body is still hungry and craving nutrients so you end up eating more shortly after.
Tips of How to Eat To Maintain and Boost Your Energy:
•Stay Hydrated!! SO Important!! We are made up of 70% water and we use water in all of our bodily functions so you should drink 1.5-2 liters per day and more when exercising to maintain and boost your energy
• Have protein and fibre with each meal and snack (veggies with hummus or tahini, yogurt with trail mix and fruit, kale chips with cashew cream)
•Avoid Processed and Refined Sugars and Flours: WHITE bread, rice, and pasta, refined cereals, crackers, chips, waffles, pancakes, muffins, cakes, etc.
•Avoid sugar: brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, pasteurized honey, jam, chocolate, etc.
•Choose natural sweeteners such as raw, unpasteurized honey or pure maple syrup
•Eat Smaller Meals More often
•Good quality proteins: quinoa, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes, lean meats, wild fish
•Foods high in fibre: vegetables and fruit (leave the skin on them), whole grains, nuts, seeds, leafy greens
•Avoid stimulants: These cause ups and downs in your system
Specific Foods To Boost Your Energy:
Water: fresh, pure, filtered water makes it possible for your system to digest, absorb, and transport nutrients and without water, our bodies cannot generate energy. Fatigue is a symptom of dehydration.. so drink more water!!
Fresh Juices: This is an excellent way of getting FRESH, LIVE enzymes directly into your blood stream in a highly absorbable way! Adding fresh juices to your daily routine is an excellent way to add many nutrients and getting lots of vegetables and fruit into one glass. Try using more vegetables than fruit and having mostly Green Juices to boost your energy.
Fresh Smoothies: By blending ingredients together it is a perfect way to get lots of different ingredients into one meal. Making sure to include healthy fats, fibre, and good quality protein will ensure to boost your energy and keep you satisfied. This is an excellent way to add super foods and specific healthy foods for your individual needs and goals.
Ex. A trainer/ athlete might need extra electrolytes and antioxidants so this is an excellent way to replenish what your body needs through real food.
Leafy Greens: These are so chlorophyll rich it is like eating sunshine! There’s nothing quite like eating sunshine to boost your energy!! Chlorophyll is like blood to plants and reacts with sun to create glucose which is fuel for us and our bogie's preferred energy source.
Avocados: contain healthy fats and fibre to slow down blood sugar when added to a meal
Cinnamon: Rich source of Magnesium and helps in controlling blood sugar
What foods do you eat when you feel most energized? Is it a lasting energy or does it result in a crash afterwards?
We would love to hear from you and what your favourite Energy Boosting Foods are!!
Laura Harvey, RHN
Laura Harvey, R.H.N. is a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist as well as a Culinary Nutrition Expert from Meghan Telpner's Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert program.
Laura has over 14 years of experience in the food industry and really loves teaching and sharing healthy food with clients. Laura's food philosophy is to go with your senses and get inspired by fresh food that engages all of your senses. She is a firm believer in listening to your body and making the connection with what you eat to how you feel.
Most complaints and health concerns can be helped through diet and lifestyle changes and Laura is the guide to help you understand where you have imbalances, provide support, and inspire you to reach and maintain your health goals.