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Which foods give our energy levels the right kind of boost?

Are you physically active and eating healthily but still feeling sluggish? Here we look at some nutrition tips to help boost your energy levels

Eating a balanced diet and being physically active is so important for our health, especially as we get older.  But do you sometimes feel you lack energy?

This could be a sign that you are not eating the right kind of food for your body.  The good news is that your metabolism can be increased and your energy levels boosted by simply making a few small changes to your diet.

Here Georgina Camfield, AXA PPP physiologist, gives us her nutrition tips on how to do just that:

Whole grains are important – switch to whole grain foods which release energy slowly, such as whole wheat bread and brown rice. Refined carbohydrates like pastry, white bread and sugary drinks should be avoided as these will only give your body a temporary boost of energy.

Choose lean meats – skinless chicken, turkey, pork and beef contain a variety of energy boosting nutrients.

Fibre rich foods – choose beans, whole fruits and vegetables as these fibre rich foods will slow digestion and give your body a steady supply of energy.

Magnesium rich nuts – such as cashews, almonds and hazelnuts will all help regulate your body’s energy level.

Eat Iron rich foods – such as lean red meat, whole grain breads, green vegetables, legumes and nuts.

Don’t skip breakfast – breakfast gives you energy for the rest of the morning so choose eggs, oatmeal, fruit and whole wheat toast in place of sugary cereals or white bread.

It’s good to snack – small, frequent snacks will help stabilise your blood sugar and energy levels. Choose oatcakes, vegetable sticks with hummus, fruit, nuts, yoghurt and unsweetened cereal.

Drink more water – it’s recommended to drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate. But it doesn’t have to be all water – other drinks will count along with fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content such as cucumber, tomatoes, apples and melons.

 

The ultimate energy boosting foods

These are all good for a quick energy boost along with improving your overall health:

Antioxidant rich – blueberries, broccoli, beetroot, lettuce and salad greens

Nutrient rich – nuts such as brazil nuts (you only need 2 or 3 a day)

Fight dehydration – try melons with a high water content such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon

Immune boosting – carrots, grapefruit, ginger and honey (also a great natural source of carbohydrates)

Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral – garlic (to strengthen the heart and blood and believed to help lower blood pressure), cranberries (to help prevent and treat cystitis)

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough fluids (particularly water) is so important for staying fit and healthy but it is especially important to remember to keep hydrated when you exercise.  If your body lacks fluids you will be unable to perform as well, you will get tired and may even start to get cramps or suffer heat exhaustion.

Read more here on symptoms of dehydration

How to prevent getting dehydrated during exercise:

  • 2 hours before you exercise drink 2 glasses of water
  • Keep sipping water throughout your exercise
  • If the weather is extremely hot and you exercise for more than an hour then a sports drink (not an energy drink) may help to maintain your energy levels
  • It is important to drink water after your exercise to replace any lost fluids so it might be helpful to weigh yourself before and after. The rule of thumb is 2 cups of water for every pound.

To find out more visit AXA PPP healthcare’s Diet and nutrition centre or Fitness and exercise centre

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