Long workdays paired with unhealthy eating patterns leave most of us feeling like we could use more energy. Many times we look for quick fixes like coffee or soda for an instant afternoon caffeine buzz. While the immediate boost feels good, soon enough we’re struggling again with fatigue — and unfortunately an afternoon nap is no longer an option for most of us! Especially with summer plans in full swing, it’s easy to feel run down this time of the year when our social calendars fill up with multiple meals out and not enough restorative sleep. Keep this list of energizing foods handy when you start to feel the afternoon slump.
- Iron– Nearly 10% of women between the ages of 20 and 49 are iron-deficient, which can cause fatigue and impair physical and mental endurance. Iron is needed to deliver oxygen to cells, and too little has also been shown to decrease immunity.
- Sweet Potato: High in carbohydrates and loaded with beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C, these will help fight off midday fatigue. Try them baked, mashed or cut into strips, tossed with a little oil and and broiled for a healthier alternative to French fries.
- Honey: A spoonful of honey is nature’s equivalent of an energy drink. Low on the glycemic index, this natural sweetener acts as a time-released muscle fuel during exercise and helps replenish post-workout. Drizzle some on your oatmeal, yogurt or in a cup of tea.
- Almonds: Packed with protein, manganese, copper and riboflavin, almonds are a handy snack to keep at your desk or in your bag. Copper and manganese play an essential role in keeping energy flowing throughout the body by neutralizing toxins within cells. Riboflavin aids oxygen-based energy production.
- Oatmeal– Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber, so it slows the absorption of glucose from food in your stomach keeping your blood sugar levels steady and providing all-day energy.
- Tropical Fruits: High in vitamin C, potassium and folate, citrus fruit releases energy slowly and steadily over time instead of giving you a quick sugar rush. Plus, fruits and vegetables are natural hydrators since they’re 60 to 95 percent water. Melons, papaya, and mangos are especially good because they also contain potassium, which helps regulate your body’s balance of fluids and minerals. They are one of the most energizing foods you choose.
- Yogurt – Yogurt is a energizing breakfast or snack option when you’re on the go. Rich in magnesium, which is crucial for the release of energy, yogurt also adds a dose of calcium to your diet. Enjoy it post-workout to help replenish your glycogen sources.
- Beans –Fiber takes longer to digest and helps extend the energy boost you get from carbs for long-lasting energy. Beans are chocker block full of fiber. Fiber keeps energy levels on an even keel without dips because it helps stabilize blood sugar. Beans also contain magnesium, which helps your body relax so it can rest and restore energy.