How and What to Eat for All-Day Energy
Posted: September 16, 2015
Stress from any source can have detrimental effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Tension, whether it’s caused by your job, financial situation, family, or a traumatic event such as a death, triggers a surge in hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
A rise in these hormones can ultimately lead to fatigue and some common physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, and knots or cramps in the shoulders or neck. Lifestyle stressors may also leave you with little time to adequately focus on your nutrition, or to prepare healthy and energizing meals. Stress and poor diet together can lead anyone on a downward spiral of less energy, lowered productivity, reduced satisfaction, and ultimately more stress.
Although we cannot control all aspects of our lives, we can control our diet. Eating well starts with education — knowing what foods can deliver the sustainable energy we want, and how and when to eat them.
Add Complex Carbohydrates
One of our main sources of energy is carbohydrates. So if stress is sapping yours, bolster the supply by incorporating more complex carbohydrates into your diet: fruits, whole-grain bread or English muffins, whole-grain pastas, brown or wild rice, and dark chocolate. Research has shown dark chocolate contains mood and energy boosters, so a few squares in moderation may be beneficial.
Note that refined sugar — found in sodas, candy bars, white bread, and other sweet snacks — is not a complex carbohydrate; it is what’s known as a simple carbohydrate. You can get energy from simple carbohydrate foods, but it comes in a short spike, with a quick decline or crash to follow. That formula only further enhances your stress.
Use Food to Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is one of the simplest ways to keep energized and focused. Drinking plenty of water (aim for 50-60 ounces per day) helps maintain your mind and body systems, but your food choices can also help or hinder your water intake.
“Food accounts for about 20 percent of our daily fluid intake,” says Samuel N. Cheuvront, Ph.D., R.D., with the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
To eat for energy, avoid dry packaged snacks such as pretzels or chips, which lack sufficient fluid to aid hydration. Instead, opt for water-rich snacks, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurt, or boiled eggs. Foods that swell up during cooking, such as oatmeal or pasta (which is nearly 65 percent water), are also smart choices.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.