5 Foods to Boost Your Energy

by in Healthy Tips, May 26, 2009

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Forget the energy drinks, supplements or packaged sports bars — get your zip from naturally energizing foods. Try these 5 to get extra oomph every day.

1) Whole-Wheat Bread
The body’s primary source of energy is carbs. I’m not referring to jelly beans and lollipops (a.k.a. simple sugars). If you load up on them, you’ll end up hitting the wall within 20 minutes. Whole grains burn off slower, giving you longer-lasting vigor. They also contain loads of B-vitamins, which work together to boost energy and your metabolism.

Other whole-grain sources: Whole-grain cereal (like raisin bran or shredded wheat), brown rice and oatmeal. Kashi makes great whole grain hot and cold cereals that we love.

2) Strawberries
Need an immediate burst of energy? Have a handful of strawberries. They’re coming into season now at your farmers’ market or produce grocer — this means they’re sweet and juicy. Strawberries also contain fiber, which helps your body more slowly absorb the carbohydrates you eat. Fresh fruits make a great mid-afternoon snack, especially for that 3pm slump.

Other energy-boosting fruit: cherries, apricots …. just about any fresh fruit will give you a lift.

3) Broccoli
Believe it or not, one cooked cup of broccoli actually contains as much vitamin C as an orange. Why is that vitamin important? Well, an Arizona State University study found that 1 in 3 women were not getting enough in their diets. After upping their intake to 500 milligrams a day, they reported feeling better and more energized. Forgo vitamin C supplements and just up your broccoli snacking or sides. (This applies to men, too).

Other vitamin C-packed veggies: cabbage, radishes and spinach

4) Pork
To keep energy levels constant, you need to get enough iron. Unfortunately, iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the US (and in the whole world). This mineral helps transport oxygen to wherever your body needs it by hooking onto red blood cells. Common iron deficiency symptoms? Low energy and fatigue.

Not only does pork contain iron, it’s also a good source of the B-vitamins like thiamine and niacin, which are both involved with your metabolism. Choose lean cuts of pork, like tenderloin and pork chops — higher fat foods can weigh you down and make you sluggish.

Other lean proteins: beef tenderloin, chicken breast and shrimp

5) Water
Our bodies are two-thirds water. Water helps control body temperature and digestion and, of course, we need it to produce energy. Even slight dehydration can make you tired. Classic recommendations say 8 cups a day, but this can vary per person. Keep a glass by your side and sip away all day. And don’t count out food — eating foods with high water content (fruits and veggies especially) count towards your daily water needs.

The Most Important Thing
Don’t skip meals! Too much time between meals causes your body to start running on fumes, and you’ll be more likely to overindulge at your next meal. Eating larger portions then makes you feel tired and sluggish, too. Stick to 3 balanced meals and 2-3 small, healthy snacks daily — this way you’ll replenish your energy at a slow and steady pace.

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Comments (89)

  1. Shirley Smits says:

    I find it hard to believe we are so iron deficient with the amount of meat americans eat…wouldn’t a handful of walnuts be a better substitute than the pork?

  2. Maryann says:

    For those who are negative on pork and tout the free range beef and chicken need to know there is also free range pork raised in Iowa. Chipotle fresh mex uses free range meats and soy oils.

  3. Ann Marie says:

    Please think beyond protien and flavor when you endorse pork products. One does not need to be a radical hippie to acknowledge the abject torture factory farmed pigs face, not to mention the disease and overuse of antibiotics this practice perpetuates. Think before you eat!

  4. Larry says:

    Eating a balanced diet coming from all the food groups WILL keep you healthy. Three square meals a day and dessert and I’m still going strong after 92 years.

  5. DJ says:

    I don’t know about the pork thing, if you have any inflammatory issues, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. then pork and wheat bread are infammatory foods. Its not just about the calories and nutrition lets cover all.

  6. jewel says:

    Moderation in what we eat is the key. If you over eat or eat the same things over and over you will have issues.

    Kamut has gluten in it so if someone is gluten intolerant they cannot eat Kamut or Spelt as both are "wheat" in differing varieties.

    The reason that pork was a no-no in the religions is because back then there was a disease issue that they could not fix. This is not the case today. Also, if you are a Christian, the ban on pork was eliminated by God when He got rid of kosher eating so I would think then that it is ok.

  7. yuri says:

    I have been eating pork since I was Born. That is the only meat my father eats. He is 61 and his health is good. All the food that we consume right now is toxic and bad for us, unless we grow it ourselves, or buy it organic. I really believe that people should do their research first before they go bashing Pork. Ever heard about mad cow disease???

    P.S. All those tablets your taking for health problems, you should research that!!

  8. MERCEDES says:

    I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD JUST EAT. WHAT/WHO DEFINES HEALTHY???? PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EATING SOME OF THE ‘WORST’ FOODS WE SO CALL TODAY AND HAVE LIVED LONGER THAN WE EVER COULD IMAGINE. BUT ONE MUST NOT FORGET HEALTHY OR UNHEALTHY, WHEN THE GOOD LORD IS READY TO TAKE YOU, HE WILL!!! SO BE HAPPY AND LIVE YOUR LIFE BECAUSE BEING ‘WORRIED’ ABOUT YOUR HEALTH CAN ALSO BE HAZARDOUS!!!

  9. Heather says:

    Pork continues to get a bad rap….just find a local farmer and buy pork that is raised the RIGHT way rather than produced by one of these big farm factories. I don’t think you have to eat meat at all if that’s your choice but if want to eat it…. try buying local … it’s an amazing difference. I never buy meat at the grocery store any longer!

  10. Steve says:

    A common misconception, the pork thing.. that’s because when we think of pork we think of bacon and sausage, which are fatty, and loaded with sodium and nitrates. Some cuts of pork are just fine, and loaded with lean protein, especially if baked (such as a pork chop).

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