5 Delicious Energy Boosting Foods
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5 Delicious Energy Boosting FoodsEasy To Find Superfoods That Beat The Blues
This is the last blast of winter across much of the North, leaving many people wondering who shut off their body’s energy supply and replaced it with the urge to carb load? This winter has felt like it’s been the hardest in over 10 years. Studies indicate that about 9 out of 10 people suffer from dwindling energy levels during the winter months. Furthermore, about 12 million North Americans are susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which means they can experience low energy and sadness as a result of decreased sun exposure.
Low energy in the winter is caused by a lack of sunlight. When your optic nerve senses sunlight, your body secretes serotonin — a mood boosting neurotransmitter. In low light, the production of melatonin, a hormone that lowers body temperature and prompts drowsiness increases. Simply put, when you're not exposed to enough sunlight, you're likely to feel low energy. Thankfully, there are some easy-to-find superfoods that you can eat to battle back the winter blues!
1. Pumpkin seeds are packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein. Essential fats in seeds provide long-lasting energy particularly for longer runs or swims over an hour. They also contain manganese, magnesium and zinc, which provide additional energy support to maximize exercise time. To avoid excess sugars and oils that can be added to many popular trail mixes, why not have some fun and make your own? Combine pumpkin seeds, almonds or hazelnuts with hemp hearts and sugar free dried fruit for a quick mix, or make my famous Anti-Inflammatory Trail Mix found in my book, Meals That Heal Inflammation.
2. Energy boosting goji berries (rich in Vitamin A, B, C, E and potassium)have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to help increase energy and enhance the release of hormones. Goji increases the body’s ability to handle stress and support healthy mood, mind and memory—all while giving you the get-up-and-go energy needed to get your workout to the next level. Goji is also beneficial for increasing blood flow, which helps to oxygenate all of the cells and tissues of the body, including the sex organs, which increases libido—that’s why they call goji the 'Happy Berry of Tibet'.
3. Coconut is the ultimate energizer because it contains MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides) that your body burns easily as fuel. Look for low sugar macaroons with honey, not sugar, to reduce their glycemic index (for more information on the Glycemic Index, see page 91 in my book). Using coconut water instead of water or juice in your smoothies can give you an instant lift as they are full of electrolytes, minerals that carry an electrical charge in your body.
4. While winter can tempt us to justify our love of high fat, high carb snacks, you will feel much better when you choose Vitamin D rich foods such as healthy fish (i.e. salmon, black cod, and sardines). Don’t like fish? Molecularly-distilled fish oil with added Vitamin D works just as well! Vitamin D reduces Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
5. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that contains more protein than any other grain. In fact, it is so rich in amino acids that it is a rare vegan source of a complete protein. It is also high in lysine, methionine and cysteine, important nutrients for post-workout meals to help build muscle. It is high in folate, magnesium and manganese, making it a nutrient-packed source of carbohydrates for long-lasting energy levels. Quinoa is a great replacement for wheat or refined carbohydrates, and it can help support a healthy cardiovascular system, blood pressure levels and bowel health. Simply switch out a grain, such as bread, rice or pasta, for quinoa and feel those energy levels soar!
As nutritionist and co-host of reality cooking show Healthy Gourmet (on The Oprah Winfrey Network), Julie Daniluk negotiates the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Check out her amazing recipes and nutrition tips at www.juliedaniluk.com and connect with Julie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @juliedaniluk.