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SUPERCHARGE YOUR WORKOUTS WITH FOOD THAT BOOSTS ENERGY

SUPERCHARGE YOUR WORKOUTS WITH FOOD THAT BOOSTS ENERGY

After a hectic day, you finally get a moment to put your feet up. You’re exhausted, and you’re probably wondering ‘How can I ever start exercising?’

Finding the time is one thing, having the energy is another. But what if I told you there’s an easy way to boost your energy levels? A way to combat sugar crashes and three-thirtyitis.

Often, we blame our exhaustion on our stressful work and heavy schedules, all the while missing one major factor: nutrition. We tend to take the food we eat for granted – but your diet can dictate a day of high energy and focus, or a day of headaches, carb-crashes and fatigue.

Superfoods to the Rescue

You might be in need of food that boosts energy. Your energy can be low due to a lack of nutrients in your cells. Superfoods are nutrient rich foods that power those cells. By incorporating them into your regular diet, your cells can start working at peak performance.

With boosted energy levels, you can:

  • Wake up more easily
  • Maintain focus throughout the day (no more three-thirtyitis at work)!
  • Remembers things more clearly
  • Perform physical activities more easily
  • Sleep better

Note: energy levels can still be affected by external influences such as stress, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs.

What Makes a Superfood?

They usually contain antioxidants, healthy fats and plenty of fiber. The nutrients keep your organs functioning. The essential minerals and vitamins fights disease and produce red blood cells which circulates your oxygen. As you know, oxygen and blood circulation play a key role in exercise.

Live longer, be more active and super-protected!

Before we go further, let’s address some common questions:

What are Antioxidants?

This word is commonly used in promotions, though often it’s not clear on what it means. Put simply, it’s a chemical substance that slows down/prevents the damage to cells caused by free radicals (from foreign toxins and chemicals). Healthy foods are bursting with antioxidants.

What is Inflammation?

This refers to the body’s defences; how the immune system identifies damaged cells and attempts to heal itself. However, if this happens too regularly it can cause many issues. Chronic inflammation is linked to all sorts of diseases, stress, arthritis, diabetes, even cancer.

So, the key is to maintain a healthy balanced diet. This keeps your cells in better condition, therefore improving your energy levels and overall health.

Foods that Boost Energy

Here are some of the superfoods you should add to your diet.

1. Avocado

Avocado

This is a great way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Fat used to be something we avoided, but a lot has been discovered about its benefits. Healthy fats are good because they can be used for energy and lower bad cholesterol, among many other things.

Avocados are nice and creamy, having a similar texture to dairy foods. They’re high in fiber and vitamin B, which your body uses to transform food into energy. They have more potassium than bananas and contain important phytochemicals that support the heart and healthy aging.

Ways to have it: Guacamole dip, with eggs, mixed with cream cheese, spread on toast, in smoothies, salads, sandwiches and wraps, soups, or mixed with mashed potato.

2. Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes and more.

Avocado

These are great on their own, or a delicious way to spruce up your snacks. Blueberries are considered one of the highest in antioxidants. They lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity (a common cause of Type 2 Diabetes). Made mostly of water, they’re low in carbs and good for brain function.

Raspberries are another brain favourite, helping to improve memory and fight against ageing. They help digestion and the release of toxins. And they lower the risk of heart disease, due to the high levels of Polyphenol.

Like having clear skin? Strawberries are packed full of Vitamin C, which contributes to collagen. This helps with the elasticity of your skin. Healthier skin breathes better. Like their blue brother, the nutrients in strawberries help regulate blood pressure and inflammation. It’s also good for pre-natal health as it has Folate.

How to have them: on their own, in smoothies, sprinkled on cereal or oats, on top of pancakes, with yoghurt or ice cream, in fruit salads (even green salads), processed as jams and jellies.

3. Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Yes, chocolate makes the list! Of course, it needs to be consumed in moderation, but dark chocolate is considered to have many benefits. The high content of cocoa can alter bad cholesterol (LDL), improving heart function and reducing the risk of stroke.

The cocoa contains antioxidant flavanols, which can lower blood pressure and stimulate the brain. Unlike other sugary chocolate, your skin is more protected as the flavanols improve blood flow and hydration. It also boosts the production of endorphins, having a positive effect on moods and stress levels. Who said healthy had to be boring?

Ways to have it: on its own, with yoghurt, mixed with oats or nuts.

>>Check out Tea Chocolate and Charms for great tips on Eating Chocolate on a Diet and more info<<

4. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans, Macadamias, Hazelnuts, Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds and more.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, fat, and fiber. Protein plays a big role in your overall feeling. It’s especially important if you’re exercising regularly. This is because your body uses protein to repair torn muscle fibres from your workouts (rebuilding even stronger ones). A quick and easy source is nuts. Most are good for weight control (in moderation), maintaining blood sugar, reducing inflammation and promoting gut health.

Almonds have a higher level of vitamin E, which can reduce risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, even cancer. Walnuts are one of the most important sources of polyphenols and is said to improve brain health (they’re even shaped like a brain to help you remember)!

If you’re not a fan of fish, you can get your Omega-3 from Walnuts, Chia or Pumpkin seeds. Why’s this important? Because it’s an essential nutrient to protect your heart. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, gluten free and have barely any calories. They’re so tiny, you can mix them into to your meals and not even notice! Pumpkin seeds are great for magnesium and calcium and improve both heart and bone health.

Ways to have them: on their own, in a stir-fry, soups and casseroles, sprinkled on cereal and oats, mixed with rice, in smoothies or a salad.



5. Tumeric

Tumeric

This is at the top of the superfood list. It’s a popular spice, used widely through Asia and the Middle East for yellow rice and curries. Tumeric is highly active in removing free radicals. It combats most health issues, even helping with arthritis pain and ageing (which helps your mobility in exercise).

It containsCurcumin, often used for medicinal purposes with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components. This has been linked to positive effects on depression and anxiety too. It’s also been considered for more studies in cancer prevention. It’s a natural blood thinner, boosts the liver and digestion system. Tumeric has plenty of ways to help you stay strong on your fitness journey.

Ways to have it: in a stir-fry, casseroles, soups, curries and rice, even sprinkle it on your chicken or steak.

6. Dark Leafy Greens

Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Arugula and more.

Spinach

They mightn’t look as appetizing, but they are absolutely loaded with nutrients.

Broccoli is another highly regarded superfood. It improves heart, bone and digestive health, reduces cholesterol, allergies and prevents cancer. It’s a natural blood thinner and helps the thyroid (which can affect weight control). It’s jam-packed with anti-aging components, improving eye health and skin care.

When it comes to Spinach, don’t think of the green sludge Popeye used to eat! Baby spinach is great in salads and an excellent source of iron. This is important, because iron assists with the circulation of oxygen. Spinach prevents blood clotting and disease, high blood pressure and kidney stones. And it’s another great booster for the eyes and skin.

If you want a healthy gut, you can’t go passed Kale. It’s an excellent aide to the liver, containing nutrients that promote detox activity. It reduces inflammation and is considered an anti-cancer agent. Being so low in calories, it’s a must for your diet. The taste is bitter, but you can easily disguise this.

Ways to have them: in a stir-fry, casseroles, soups, omlettes, scrambled eggs, salads, sandwiches and wraps.

7. Garlic

Garlic

This does far more than flavor your meals. For centuries it’s been used to treat all sorts of ailments including bronchitis, high blood pressure and liver disorders.  It regulates blood sugars and the immune system overall (often considered a good cure for colds). This prevents insulin resistance and keeps your metabolism in working order. Having a good metabolism affects weight loss by burning body fat for energy.

The main ingredient is allicin which contains sulphur. This helps the body fight viruses, and garlic is considered a great cure for colds. It can also be used for all sorts of skin conditions, including rashes, cold sores and acne. Garlic helps you feel great (and let’s not forget, it keeps those vampires and creepy guys away).

Ways to have it: crush, slice or mince before cooking. You can add it to all your cooking, according to taste.



8. Legumes

Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Split peas, Canalini beans, Baked beans, Soybeans, Peanuts, Lentils and more.

Chickpeas

This is another great source of protein (which is needed for an active lifestyle). They contain plenty of fiber to keep you feeling full, which helps your metabolism, and in turn helps with weight control. Not to mention, it keeps you regular.

Legumes are rich in vitamin B, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and more. The zinc helps your nervous system, boosting your immunity and energy levels. Lentils are also good for blood sugars and heart health.  They’re low in calories with a ton of nutrition, making them a super snack. Curb your chip craving with crunchy oven-roasted chickpeas!

Ways to have it: boiled or roasted, have it on toast, add it to a stir-fry, soups, casseroles, salads, lasagna, tacos, add to a smoothie or make Hummus dip.

Extra Tips

  • Eating dark coloured vegetables can be beneficial as they’re made up of phytochemicals that protect them from disease.
  • Foods rich in folate (like spinach or legumes) can aid pregnancy and fertility. Magnesium helps with hormones progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.
  • There are more superfoods out there, such as apples, ginger, salmon, eggs, oatmeal, olive oil and carrots to name a few. You can view a more comprehensive list here.

Get Super!

There’s no time like the present to improve your health. Start simple by taking a tub of blueberries to work. If you’re not a big breakfast eater, try a vegie smoothie instead. There’s plenty of ways to make them taste like a normal shake. Check out some delicious recipes here.

Getting Healthy Infographic

By eating better, you’ll feel less drowsy → being less drowsy, you’re more likely to stick to your workouts → by exercising regularly, you’ll increase your energy. It’s a triumphant cycle!

Do you have a favourite superfood and recipe? Share your thoughts below.

 

16 thoughts on “SUPERCHARGE YOUR WORKOUTS WITH FOOD THAT BOOSTS ENERGY

  1. Hi! Thank you for this great post, I have really taken up an interest in nutrition lately, I think it may be because I am now a mom, and responsible for not only my health but my daughter’s health as well. I love that you have given examples of superfoods, and even given examples of fun ways to eat them.

    I absolutely love avocadoes! I have one every day in the morning, and I had no idea that they gave you energy, it all makes sense now! I do feel more energized when I incorporate these superfoods into my diet.

    Although nutrition can seem overwhelming at times since Im new to it, it’s really cool to see how certain food can affect and fuel your body. You have made it a breeze with how you’ve broken down the superfoods, thanks so much for this great post 🙂

    1. Hi, I’m glad you found this helpful! Yes, Avocados are a great source of energy and healthy fats. I simply love their creamy texture, it helps curb my cravings for junk! Good for you for exploring nutrition as it is extremely important. I found that changing my diet and incorporating these superfoods gave me energy before I even began my fitness regime. There are plenty of ways to eat healthy without it feeling boring (keep an eye out for my upcoming article on healthy recipes and hacks). It can get overwhelming but learning and adding superfoods bit by bit makes it easier. All the best with it! Thanks for reading 😊

  2. I have always been a fam of blueberries any berry for that matter,but blueberries are my fav! Plus since I started incorporating them even more into my diet I am starting to see why they are called superfoods. I feel fantastic. Never realized that avocados where on the list, I will have to figure out some recipes to use them more. Would you have any recipes or recommendations I don.t like eating them plain?

  3. Good Morning CJ,

    I read you stopped smoking, a great idea, I did the last week before Christmas 2015. Even better that you spend your saved cigarette money on some quality exercise equipment. Congratulations on your weight loss. Having arthritis with 40 is no good but I am convinced that your new healthy lifestyle will get rid of that.

    You have a good list of superfoods. Avocados grow on my farm. Berries I have to buy frozen. Oh, yes, dark chocolate, I eat 85% chocolate every day. I am a big fan of mixed nuts and seeds. Every morning I put Tumeric on my breakfast egg. Leafy greens grow in the vegetable garden and living in the south of Spain garlic is a must. All of this I eat together with extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil.

    I do have a problem as I have 2 websites. I now work less in the garden. I will definitely have to add to my exercise program.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Hi Taetske! Congrats to you too for quitting smoking, it was the best decision I ever made. I was lacking a lot of energy and incorporating superfoods with exercise fixed this. Yes, arthritis is a pain but weight training has helped me build up strength around my knees. I find I get the most problems when I don’t exercise! You are lucky to have home grown Avocados and leafy greens. I tried making a vegie garden but I have no green thumb. Your diet sounds fantastic, very inspiring. I need to explore coconut oil more, cheers for the tip! Thanks for reading.

  4. Oh I like how you explained benefits we can get from antioxidants and why our body needs it. All those superfoods you listed are an absolute favorite in our household. My son like avocado shake so I just poir some milk and honey on the blender with ice cubes and that’s it. I, on the other hand would incorporate turmeric and garlic in some of my dishes. Greens are usually an ingredient for veggie rolls,soup and stews ’causee don’t usually make salad at home. 

    Our backyard has a lot of watercress and sweet potato leaves. We just saute it with a bit of butter and some ouster sauce then we got a tasty side dish.If I’m out of time to cook breakfast, we always have oats,and grains with dried fruits. Again, just a splash of liquid full cream milk will complete it. 

    I have to agree that we must fuel our body with good sources of nutritious food. As parents, we should also influence our kids to eat right. I always tell them how a certain veggie is good for the skin, hair, growth, eyes ,etc. Thanks for this article. It’s helpful to know the nutritional values l, prep and cooking of these superfoods.

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful! I couldn’t agree more, understanding and eating nutritious food is an important influence for kids. It’s hard to believe that some don’t even recognise the basic vegetables. Great food tips, I will have to try the watercress and sweet potato leaves with butter and oyster sauce. And my hubby would enjoy those Avocado shakes. My breakfast is very similar, oats and grains are great for staying fuller for longer. For sure, superfoods are an excellent way to fuel the body. I think its important to understand why we need antioxidants. Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi CJ

    Really great article about superfoods, it seems the more science has progressed in the area of nutrition some of the things that we were told to avoid, like avocado’s, seem to be back on the good list. It’s amazing how much difference eating healthy food makes to training and exercise. For myself, eating well actually makes it easier to train as I more motivated and less tired.

    Thanks again for the post, make for some inspirational reading.

    1. Hi Dominic! I’m glad you found this helpful. Yes, I remember when we were told fats were bad for us. Then they discovered some good fats (like monounsaturated fat in Avocados) and realised sugar is the enemy. I know from personal experience that eating superfoods and cutting out sugar makes a difference! And it definitely improved my energy and motivation for training. It really is amazing how simple changes can make such a difference. I’m glad it’s working for you. Thanks for reading!

  6. Hello there!! 

    Great article indeed. You have shared lots of necessary informations here. Energy is much needed for a long working day. So selection of foods containing adequate energy is much needed. But literally we can’t choose a diet like that. Your article will surely help to do so. How much it will cost to make a balanced energetic diet? Can it be replaced with vegetables, pulses?

    1. Hi Zihad, I’m glad you liked it! For sure, energy is so important to get through a long day, especially to include a workout session too. Having so much food choices can be overwhelming alright. Keeping a balanced diet is not expensive, I can get a good selection of fruit and vegetables for $20. This can last me all week with salads, soups and shakes. (I’d be paying more in the supermarket for packaged food loaded with sugar). Yes, you can have pulses as they’re a great source of protein and iron, add them to your stews and soups. Thanks for reading!

  7. Hi CJ, this is really a comprehensive post, thank you! It’s exactly what I need to get my nutrition back on track starting. I’ve learnt a lot and will start to make small changes to integrate more of these in my diet starting with blueberries. My brother left some frozen blueberries so will add these to my shake tomorrow 🙂 It’s great that you share suggestions for how to have each superfood, makes it so easy to be able to try any one of them. Of course, I’m loving that dark chocolate is on the list, thanks for the mention. Here’s to enjoying chocolate in a healthy way. For you personally, do you find that you rotate through the superfoods during the year to get the various benefits of them all or you choose a few as staples and mix in the others as you can?

    1. Hi Tamika, I’m glad you found this helpful! Adding them bit by bit is the go, and I highly recommend blueberries to start! I would also recommend turmeric and broccoli to begin with. It’s good to try them in different ways to keep things interesting. People often picture healthy food as boring, but it doesn’t have to be – just as you’ve shown us with the wonderful world of dark chocolate! Most of these foods I eat on a weekly basis all year round. But I introduced them gradually into my diet to get to this point. Incorporate them in a way that works for you, and most importantly stick to the foods you like best to stay consistent. Finding new recipes always helps. Thanks for reading 😊

  8. thanks for this article.. I have no issues eating just fruit and veggies for the whole day,so I guess I will give this diet a try and see how it goes for me… 🙂

    1. Hi Lee! Good for you, a healthy diet makes all the difference doesn’t it! Enjoy these added benefits, thanks for reading 😊

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