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HEALTHY EATING

Crave for Energy

"Simple food for energy that lasts"
By: Jose Maria M. Villarama IICrave for Energy

One need not search far and wide to have an energy-rich food selection.  Aside from the food tips and categories mentioned above, the following are energy rich foods that are readily available in the market, require no fuss to prepare, and can sustain energy the body needs for much of the day:

● Oatmeal. A common breakfast staple that has a low glycemic index, oatmeal is broken down by the body gradually, ensuring that the body gets a steady flow of energy throughout the morning and not just a quick energy rush.

● Nuts and seeds. Rich in monounsaturated fats, these common snack foods provide essential fatty acids that provide energy for both the body and mind.

● Beans. A good source of protein and fiber, they also sustain blood sugar levels and energy as they are not broken down easily, unlike simple sugars or carbohydrates.

● Bananas. Aside from having simple sugars that can easily be utilized for energy, they are rich in potassium needed for proper cardiovascular and muscular function.

● Citrus fruits. Aside from being a good source of simple sugars that are quick energy boosters, citrus fruits such as oranges are rich in vitamin C that helps the adrenal glands produce more adrenaline or epinephrine, which is a crucial component of the fight-and-flight response, whether one is engaged in sports or heightened physical activity.

Eating for energy does not have to be a tedious chore that requires blood, sweat, and tears to sustain.  Simply being conscious of what one eats or making the right food choices, whether eating out or at home, not only guarantees that energy is kept at an optimal level but also that it eventually contributes to a healthier lifestyle.

A most oft-repeated diet rule: a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and even fat coming from unprocessed sources (and not only simple sugars) provide the body with the proper fuel.  The following are useful tips to remember when you want to have energy that lasts:

● Eat a source of protein early on in the day. Carbohydrates only sustain the body for a limited period of time and tend to make the body crave for something sugary by mid-morning.  Merely eating carbohydrates in the morning can cause lethargy. Slow-burning proteins can help address that problem.

● Eat foods with low glycemic indices. Low glycemic index foods are burned slowly.  As a result, energy is released gradually and is therefore sustained. Among food items with a low glycemic index are whole grains, milk, nuts eggs, and vegetables.

● Eat frequently. Ideally, one must eat every 2 or 3 hours. Avoid sugary foods or simple carbohydrates, as these only provide a short-lived energy boost.

● Drink plenty of water. Increasing water consumption helps boost one’s metabolism and therefore helps the body break down food for energy more easily. It also enables cells, tissues and organs to function properly, particularly in converting food into energy.

● Avoid consuming too much caffeine. Although caffeine can definitely make one alert and teeming with energy, it can also heighten one’s reaction to stress and interfere with sleep, which, aside from food, also comes hand in hand with maintaining a well-energized body. 

● Avoid eating beyond satiety. Overeating only makes the body store up more fat. Overeating may also disrupt sleep, as the body has a difficult time digesting the food. Instead of waking up refreshed, reenergized and well-rested, one who overeats at night or has the habit of taking a midnight snack ends up being more lethargic.

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