People’s busy lives take a lot out of them, and choosing the right foods is a crucial step in maintaining energy levels, but it can be difficult when those tempting sugary and salty goodies are always close by. Plus, they don’t require the time that’s needed to make and plan the kinds of meals and snacks that will help to regulate the system and refuel you throughout the day. Here are some simple tips for structuring the diet and selecting foods that will not only help fight fatigue, but also give the extra energy you need.
Ever heard that it’s important to eat a healthy breakfast? Probably so, because nutritionists have been stressing the importance of this for years, and with good reason. Eating in the morning prepares your body for the day, makes you more alert, and helps you to avoid overeating later in the day, among other things. To fully reap the benefits of your breakfast, combine carbohydrates and protein, but avoid anything with too much fat or sugar. Try fruit with yogurt, or scrambled eggs with toast.
For breakfast and all other meals, the trick is combining the right nutrients to maximize the body’s potential. Carbohydrates are the main source, but it’s important to choose the right ones. Eat complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, or even simple ones like fruits. The sugars in candy bars only provide a temporary boost that can’t be maintained. Adding proteins will help sustain the energy provided from carbohydrates, so combining them in all meals can help keep you going later in the day when you start to wind down.
Lack of iron can also contribute to feelings of fatigue, so maintain those levels by eating foods like spinach and lean red meat. Since caffeine helps to boost energy and increase vigilance, drinking a cup or two of coffee a day is okay, but too much can make you irritable and actually reduce your productivity. And fat, although the bad fats should still be consumed in moderation, are also a source of energy. Stick to the good fats like poultry, seafood and olive oil.
To stave off fatigue, consume watermelon for extra water to stay hydrated, dark chocolate for the polyphenols that boost serotonin levels, and bran cereal and other high-fiber foods to provide extra energy. It’s also important to avoid overeating – the right foods will keep us more alert and awake, but too much of any of them will have the opposite effect.