We all know that we need food to live and to function, especially now, in these busy times that find us in such a rush. Good nutrition is the key to giving our bodies the right fuel to burn to produce natural energy.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Think of breakfast as ‘breaking- a-fast’ and make time for it. Besides fueling your body, the right breakfast food will fire up your ability to be alert and to concentrate on tasks. Having the right kind of breakfast will help control your appetite throughout the whole day. You will be less likely to overeat for the rest of the day.
The best type of food to start the day, as suggested by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a combination of carbohydrates for natural energy and proteins to make the energy last. Here are some suggestions for a quick, healthy breakfast to give you a good start for the day and increase your natural energy:
- A bagel, made from whole grains, with added cheese
- Add fruit and yogurt to a bowl of cereal
- Spread peanut butter on toast made from whole grains and add a fruit serving
- Slice a boiled egg and eat in a pita made from wheat
- Scramble 2 eggs, eat with wheat toast and a serving of fruit
- Have a bowl of oatmeal and add raisins
If you are really too rushed to make breakfast, then grab a breakfast bar or a frozen breakfast sandwich. A word of warning; check such products for the amount of fat and sugar they contain. Food with high-fat content is undesirable and sugary food leaves you hungry for more.
Simple and Complex Carbohydrates: Fuel for Natural Energy
Carbohydrates are the fuel the body burns for energy. Simple carbohydrates provide us with a quick, fast burn. They are good for an energy burst but are quickly used up, while complex carbohydrates burn slow giving us lasting energy. Our bodies need them both and the best nutritious diet contains simple and complex carbohydrates.
Common Simple Carbohydrates are:
Common complex carbohydrates are:
Complex carbohydrates can stabilize blood sugar, whereas simple carbohydrates like those in sugary snacks cause a rise then a drop in blood sugar.
Other Foods That Provide Natural Energy
Consuming fiber slows the burning of complex carbs which makes the energy gained last longer. Fats are also used by the body for energy, but you need to make good choices about the fats you eat. Polyunsaturated fats found in oils made from vegetables along with monounsaturated fats such as nuts, olive oil, and seeds are the best. Other types of fats (saturated) contribute to obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
Protein is essential for our physical functioning and well being. It can be used as fuel by the body if it is deficient in carbohydrates and fats. Most of us would not want our bodies to use our muscle mass from protein as fuel.
To have lots of natural energy stay hydrated. Many patients that complain of ‘feeling tired all the time’ are simply dehydrated. Drink lots of water during the day and get even more from eating juicy foods. Women should drink around 11 cups of water daily while men require about 16 cups each day.
To have plenty of natural energy you need to feed your body correctly. Start with a good breakfast containing complex carbohydrates for lasting natural energy and simple carbohydrates for a quick start. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and pick unsaturated fats instead of saturated ones.