Nutrition IQ: Foods to Boost Energy
Working as a health coach in NYC, I’ve found that many of my clients come to me for help to boost their energy levels. There comes a time when caffeine no longer does the trick! Having dealt with terrible fatigue myself, I thought back to what had worked for me.
While there is no substitute for restorative sleep, there are some everyday foods that can give you a boost.
1. Fruit Juicy, sweet, and convenient, fruit is a terrific energy-boosting treat. The natural sugars in fresh fruit provide energy and focus without spiking your blood sugar levels like refined sugar does. Fresh fruit is also full of water to help keep you hydrated and your cells working efficiently.
2. Lentils, Greens, and Seeds Magnesium and folate are two nutrients needed by the body for abundant energy, and both can be found in legumes, nuts, and seeds. Magnesium breaks down glucose (sugar) into energy. Examples of foods rich in this mineral are pumpkin seeds, almonds, and greens. Folate is a natural form of vitamin B6 that helps produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. When levels are low, you’ll feel fatigued. To load up on this vitamin, eat lentils, leafy greens, and beans.
3. Fiber A diet high in fiber is so important for sustained energy. For one, fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. It also keeps you feeling full for longer. Slowed absorption and longer satiety translate to energy. Fiber is also crucial for a healthy digestive and elimination system—it keeps things moving. When things aren’t moving, fatigue, headaches, and discomfort result, and your energy levels decline. Thankfully, a whole-foods, plant-based diet is full of fiber. For an extra boost, try adding chia seeds to smoothies and desserts. If you aren’t already drinking them, green smoothies provide a terrific fiber boost in addition to B vitamins (and they taste great!).
Jenné Claiborne is passionate about helping women adopt and maintain a plant-based diet so they can improve their energy, lose weight, and feel their very best. She is the founder of The Nourishing Vegan, a New York–based personal chef service. She is also the creator of Sweet Potato Soul, a vegan food blog that features recipes, tips, and cooking videos. In 2013, Jenné launched the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint, an interactive online program that takes the guess work out of becoming vegan. Follow Jenné on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.