High Energy Foods: Paddle Healthy Presented by SPZ
We all know the feeling of fatigue and dragging ourselfs through the day, despite consuming inordinate amounts of coffee. If you're tired of feeling tired, you may need to reassess your diet. Try to eat with the intention of fueling your body. No, we're not talking about adding more caffeine or energy drinks to your daily caloric intake. We're talking about eating more of the good stuff: whole foods that actually sustain energy levels naturally, are yummy to munch on, and have additional nutritional perks. —Shari Coble
They're a favorite among athletes, and there's good reason for that. They pack carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium—all of which are essential to athletic performance, and a healthily-functioning body. A study from 2012 shows that bananas are as effective as sports drinks during physical activity and provide a healthier combination of sugars too. Bananas are one of the more calorie-dense fruits, and they contain vitamin B6 and fiber, too.
Oranges, grapefruit and tangerines all help boost energy levels with their soluble fiber and higher natural sugar content. Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, which supports the immune system and aids in treating stress. They also contain folate and are beneficial in helping to prevent heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Add a serving of citrus fruit to your breakfast or carry a piece of fruit in your drybag for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Delicious and nutritious, sweet potatoes are full of complex carbohydrates, which are key for sustaining energy because they take longer to digest. In effect, they supply the body with a steady stream of energy over an extended period of time. Sweet potatoes are also a rich source for vitamin A—responsible for helping to combat chronic fatigue–as well as iron, which helps with muscle and brain function. One other benefit: sweet potatoes pack α-carotene, a carotenoid that helps to prevent tumor growth.
A winning combination of carbohydrates, omega-3 fats, iron, protein and even fiber—the tiny chia seed packs a ton of nutrients and energy. The legendary Tarahumara or, "running people" of Mexico, have used chia to fuel their ultra-marathon runs, and studies prove what they've known for centuries: Chia augments physical endurance.
A little goes a long way here. Nuts are a calorie-dense food, though still considered healthy because of their monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein content. The combination of fiber and protein keeps you feeling full, while also helping to prevent blood sugar crashes, which naturally cause us to feel drained. Grab a handful or slather a tablespoon of natural peanut butter (without additives like salt or sugar) on a banana and you'll be sure to feel fueled.
According to the Institute of Medicine, about 20 percent of people's water intake is derived from food. Dehydration is a huge factor in feeling tired or fatigued, and leads to a lengthy list of other health issues. When the body is dehydrated it ceases to function properly because nutrients don't get transported to the blood stream as effectively. Dehydration also results in the body’s inability to rid toxins or waste build-up efficiently, which results in feeling less energized. Boost your energy and hydration at once by consuming water-rich whole foods like cucumber, celery, eggplant, or jicama.