Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes some starchy foods, at least five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, some protein and dairy foods will help counteract tiredness and keep your energy levels normal.
By Lamberts Española, Technical Department.
Meanwhile, try one or more of these energy-boosting foods:
Nuts are good energy foods, especially almonds, as they contain nutrients such as manganese, cooper, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin and biotin-all of which play an important role in the production of ATP. Technically a seed rather than a nut, almonds also contain the antioxidant vitamin E and are a good source of protein. Almonds also have low IG, along with other nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and pecan nuts.
Almonds are energy foods for their manganese, cooper, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin and biotin content.
Blood sugar problems are among the main causes of low energy levels, but foods that have a low glycaemic index (GI) can help. That’s because the sugar in low-GI foods breaks down slowly to deliver a steady supply of energy. One of the lowest-GI fruits is cherries- though you could also try apples, pears, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or peaches.
Anaemia can also cause tiredness, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet. As well as boosting your haemoglobin, iron is required for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is where your cells store energy after it’s been broken down from food. Red meat is a good source of iron, but nori seaweed is a good alternative. Other iron-rich foods include green leafy veg, sesame seeds, shellfish and eggs.
Because lentils are a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrate they are a good source of sustained energy. The soluble fibre in lentils also slows down the release of sugars, while an amino acid called tyrosine-found in proteins foods- produces brain chemicals that help keep you feeling alert. Lentils also have a low GI. Other legumes that may help to keep you going include beans and chickpeas.
Dairy foods are a good source of protein too. As well as containing tyrosine, protein increases the production of a hormone called glucagon, which helps keep your blood sugar levels steady. Milk cheese and yoghurt also have a low GI and contain B vitamins, which are thought to play a role in converting food into ATP. Choose dairy foods that are low in fat, such as cottage cheese and skimmed milk.
(ii) Carter JR, Schwartz CE et al. Fisch Oil and Neurovascular reactivity to mental stress in humans. Am J PhysiolRegullntegr Comp Physiol 2013 Apr 1;304(7): R523-30
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