Monday, January 30, 2006
10 Energy-Boosting Foods
By Carolina Diaz-BordoneDiets.com Staff Writer
Fatigue is not fun. Worry, frustration, resentment, lack of sleep, anxiety, illness and poor diet are the top causes. Even mild forms of exhaustion can weigh heavy on our emotional and physical well-being. Luckily, our bodies are extremely resilient and many times we can conquer weariness by making a few dietary changes.
While most of us suffer from fatigue some of the time, there are millions who suffer from it all of the time. Exhaustion is one of the most common complaints brought to doctors. According to a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, one in five Americans say they're so sleepy during the day it interferes with their activities.
Fortunately, one of the best ways to fight fatigue is with energy-boosting foods, and eDiets.com Chief Nutritionist Susan Burke has put together a list of some of the best. Whether you’re in need of a quick energy boost or sustained, long-lasting fuel, she’s got the 4-1-1 on the foods that will do the job.
Quick Energy Boosters:
“The quickest energy is from carbohydrates. That’s the body’s first preferences for energy. Did you ever hear about carbohydrate loading? That’s what marathon runners do when they run a long race, they carb load. The reason they do that is because your body’s first preference for fuel is from stored carbohydrate, and you store carbohydrate as glycogen in your muscles and your liver." For quick energy, you want to have glycogen stored and that comes from things like:
2. Whole-grain Cereals
3. 100-percent fruit juice
4. Dried fruit
5. Fresh fruit
"If you’re really hungry and you want some quick energy, there’s no better choice than eating some fruit. Rather than drinking a sugary drink, eat a piece of fruit. You’re going to get your carbohydrates and you’re also going to get your fiber and vitamins and minerals.”
Sustained Energy Boosters:
“A balance of nutrients is really what’s going to give you sustained energy because your body digests protein, fats and carbohydrates differently. In other words, you can eat them all at the same time but they are all going to be processed differently. Carbohydrates start being digested in your mouth, protein starts in your stomach and fat doesn’t start until it reaches your intestines. That’s why foods that are combinations of nutrients give you sustained energy." Some good combinations choices include:
7. Whole-grain pasta
8. Turkey or peanut butter on whole-grain bread
"Who said you can only have a sandwich at lunch? If you eat a sandwich in the morning for breakfast made up of protein, carbohydrate and a little fat, you might make it to lunch without being hungry. But if you eat only carbohydrates in the morning without anything else (like if you eat just a sweet roll, which is mostly just sugar and white flour), chance are you’ll be hungry in a few hours.”
Drink Up and Perk Up
9. Water:“The No. 1 thing I always think about is water. When people don’t drink enough water and they aren’t hydrated all, their functions are out of choke. They might misinterpret hunger for being really thirsty. Energy is dependent on all the metabolic functions running properly and the No. 1 ingredient for that is water.”
10. Coffee:“Caffeine is natural. Skip the mocha chino with lots of cream and sugar. There is nothing bad about it, it perks you up, gets you going and keeps you more mentally alert. The secret is not drinking too much.”