8 Foods and Activities for More Energy Now!
Sometimes, when we feel down, we comfort ourselves with junk food and inactivity, which further drain us of the energy we need. Jump-start your physical and mental energy with these eight ideas.
1. Exercise your right to happiness.
According to Dr. Robert Thayer, Ph.D., author of "Calm Energy" (Oxford University Press, 2001), light exercise can serve as an alternative to food when you are feeling sluggish. "Low energy and increased tension can result in overeating and lack of motivation," says Dr. Thayer. "Exercise can elevate our mood and reduce tension. Even a short midday walk can eliminate the urge to snack."
2. Hydrate your plate.
Most fruits are low in calories but still filling, due to their high water content. For example, one grapefruit contains about 90 percent water and just 39 calories. Whole fruits will fill you up and help you hydrate from head to toe. Half of a grapefruit will keep your mind off of dense, high-calorie sweets that provide only short bursts of energy. Use the natural sugar of fruit for a tasty and satisfying pick-me-up anytime.
3. Eat your spinach.
Have you added any leafy greens to your meals lately? If you are making diet changes, remember to take note of these new additions. "When trying different diets, it's extremely important for individuals to self-study how their bodies react to different foods," says Dr. Thayer. Calorie for calorie, spinach packs more nutrients than any other food. Set your sights on the green to maximize your energy efficiency. This super vegetable has long been known to be high in vitamins, nutrients and iron, and it also contains an enzyme known as coenzyme 10, which is a surefire energy booster.
4. Breathe easy.
Breathing exercises can regulate tension and increase energy. To lower tension, try inhaling through your nose quietly and exhaling through your mouth noisily as you force air around your tongue. For a quick surge of energy, try inhaling and exhaling in short, rapid breaths through your nose with your mouth lightly shut.
5. Reenergize with oats.
Add oatmeal to your routine to bypass the "mid-morning slump." Oats contain fibre, which is believed to help stabilize blood sugar, allowing you to avoid the rises and falls that leave you longing for food and sleep. Try dipping your spoon into a bowl of oatmeal every morning. Loaded with complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, oats provide a slow release of energy to get you through until lunchtime.
6. Get in the group loop.
As human beings, we feed off each other's energy. By staying active with your closest friends, you can block out the negative vibes that keep you from being energetic. Try participating in group exercise to keep you focused on the goal at hand. Join an after-hours running group or start a walking group with friends.
7. Eat mean beans.
Beans are loaded with B vitamins that help utilize fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Beans also contain antioxidants and potassium -- an important electrolyte that boosts the nervous system. Try adding a side of black beans to your lunch to load up on low glycemic index carbs -- the best carbohydrates for sustained energy release. Even canned beans pack a protein punch. Try seasoning navy beans with olive oil, cilantro and sea salt for a quick and easy snack.
8. Be berry smart.
The acai berry (ah-sah-ee) has been recognized for having the highest nutritional value of any fruit in the world. In fact, acai has been shown to kill leukemia cells and improve heart health. This native Amazon fruit contains a near-perfect mix of the amino acids and minerals necessary to improve endurance, strength and vitality. Additionally, acai berries have 10 times more age-defying antioxidants than grapes. Pick up some pure acai juice at your nearest health-food store to transform your favorite smoothie blends.