12 Foods That Increase Your Energy

Being tired is no fun at all. You can't concentrate at work, you exercise less, and getting out of bed takes a lot of effort. It's a miserable way to trudge through life. But did you know that having more energy may be as simple as choosing the right foods?

Overall, the key is to focus on low-glycemic foods (because they release energy slowly) that are high in complex carbohydrates and low in excess fats. Iron is also very important because it produces red blood cells that carry blood to exercising muscles. A first step is to eliminate "quick-fix" foods that contain simple carbohydrate foods, like candy bars and soda, which spike your energy level before it plunges quickly. Next, start incorporating these 12 foods into your diet.

Pop a handful of blueberries in your mouth and enjoy an energy boost, along with a ton of nutrients. Blueberries contain anthocyanins and other pigments high in antioxidant properties possibly having a role in reducing risks of inflammatory diseases and certain cancers. 

Blueberries are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, fiber, and vitamin E , and are low in calories. Many studies have found that blueberry consumption lowers cholesterol and total blood lipid levels, possibly reducing the risks of heart disease and high blood pressure. Even more studies have found that a diet rich in blueberries may enhance short-term memory in older adults while reducing symptoms of depression.

Almonds are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a major role in energy production in body cells. Studies indicate that low levels of magnesium or magnesium deficiency can result to energy loss. Considered a superfood by some, almonds have lots of nutritional value.  A serving contains as much protein as many meats. Almonds also provide potassium and iron, which are essential in maintaining energy levels. A perfect energy food.

Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper restores the natural rhythm of the viscera of glandular, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive systems. This energizes and balances the whole body, improving moods and energy levels. Cayenne is even used to cure infertility due to it’s ability to restore health and circulation to the organs and balance to the glandular system.You will notice your energy greatly increase when you use cayenne pepper.

Capsaicin may also increase your endurance capacity, according to an April 2003 "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology" study. This substance appears to increase fatty acid utilization and have a glycogen-sparing effect, according to study authors T.W. Oh and F. Ohta. Glycogen is the primary source of energy for your muscles. Delaying depletion of muscle glycogen prolongs your ability to perform endurance exercise. 

This substance responsible for cayenne's hot and spicy taste, capsaicin, also appears to stimulate the hormones epinephrine, or adrenaline, and norepinephrine, according to the "Sports Supplement Buyer's Guide," by Stephen Adel. These hormones stimulate your heart muscle, accelerate your heart rate and raise your body temperature. The excitation of adrenaline secretion occurs via your vanilloid receptors, which also are involved in pain perception, notes a November 2001 "Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry" study.

The chromium, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, Q10 coenzyme, among other components of broccoli, can boost your energy.

Broccoli is packed with disease fighting agents known as phytochemicals and antioxidants. To be specific, broccoli contains indoles, sulforaphane, beta carotene, isothiocyanates, quercetin, folate, vitamin C, lutein and glutathione. 

Two of the agents, sulforaphane and indoles, are known to help suppress tumor growth by helping the body to deactivate cancer causing metabolites. Beta carotene is also another well known cancer fighter. Numerous studies have concluded that people who eat broccoli on a daily basis have fewer cancers of the lungs, breast, esophagus, bladder, cervix, prostate and colon. Broccoli is great for detoxing because it helps speed up the removal of estrogen from the body.

Foods with vitamin C
Believe it or not, perhaps one out of three women isn't getting enough vitamin C, says Carol Johnston, PhD, assistant professor of food and nutrition in the family resources department at Arizona State University in Tempe. A shame, since women she studied who were low in vitamin C did much better on treadmill tests after they were given extra C daily. "They felt better and they had more energy," she says.

Johnston suspects that the connection between vitamin C and how energetic you feel has to do with its role in producing carnitine, a molecule that helps your body burn fat for energy. "People likely have up to a 50 percent drop in muscle carnitine levels when they're vitamin C-depleted," she says.
Two recent studies revealed that vitamin C supports adrenal health by speeding up recovery following emotional and physical stress. The first study followed marathon runners and found that their cortisol levels dropped back to normal faster if they consumed vitamin C before, during and after a race. A second study, published in Psychopharmacology, found that people taking vitamin C felt more relaxed in high-stress situations, and their cortisol levels returned to normal more quickly. Because the overproduction of cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue, and eventually exhaustion if allowed to continue, it’s helpful to nourish your adrenal glands by eating foods high in vitamin C such as broccoli.  

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are known as the "Indian Running Food".  Also, the ancient Aztec warriors used chia seed during their conquests.

The health pioneer Paul Bragg did an experiment an endurance hike with friends.  They divided up into a chia-eating group and another group, who ate whatever they wanted.  The group eating only chia seeds finished the hike four hours, twenty seven minutes before the others, most of whom didn't even finish at all. Talk about obvious energy increase!

Bananas are one of the world's finest foods for supplying fuel energy. They supply a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates that foster a quick and efficient conversion to usable fuel. Whether you need quick energy release or long lasting energy, bananas supply the fuel for the occasion.

Bananas are famous as a good source of potassium, a mineral involved in proper muscle contraction. Insufficient potassium is one of the main causes of fatigue, muscle cramping and dehydration. 
Bananas supply the dense and ready carbohydrates necessary to replace the muscle glycogen (muscle sugar) used during exercise. It is wise to eat bananas before, during, and after long bouts of activity, and after shorter, more intense sessions.

Spirulina, literally the most nutritious food known, is an edible blue-green algae used all over the world for its nutritional and medicinal qualities. It is very common for people consuming Spirulina to experience a jump in energy and vitality. The reason is simple: Spirulina is a powerhouse of nutrition. This conclusion is supported by well over 400 studies conducted in various scientific institutions around the world.

NASA has chosen to use it for astronaut's food in space, and even plans to grow and harvest it in space stations in the near future. They have been studying Spirulina algae as a complete food source for astronauts. In fact, NASA found that 1 kilogram of Spirulina contains about the same nutrients as 1,000 kilograms of ordinary vegetables! 

A fiber-packed whole grain cereal, oatmeal is your best breakfast choice for long-lasting energy, says William Evans, PhD, director of the nutrition, metabolism, and exercise laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Little Rock.

Evans fed a group of volunteers oatmeal and others another type of high-carbohydrate cereal and then put everybody on exercise bikes. "There's no doubt that eating oatmeal allowed both men and women to exercise for a significantly longer time," he says.

Evans gives the credit for oatmeal's energy boost to its soluble fiber content. Much more than the insoluble fiber in, say, wheat bran, the soluble fiber in oatmeal slows down carbohydrate absorption, thus keeping your blood sugar levels more constant. They also contain B vitamins, which are energizing, stress-lowering, and help to convert carbs into energy.

Wheatgrass Juice
One of the best things about wheatgrass juice is that it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream and gives you immediate energy.

Bursting with nutrients, wheatgrass is an energizer. The vitality obtained from wheatgrass juice is remarkable. It has been said that two ounces of fresh juice equals 3 pounds of organic vegetables in vitamins and minerals, or the equivalent of two cups of coffee.

Though hardly used in Western diets, lentils are perfect for high nutritional yields on a budget. They are so high in protein and energy producing nutrients that a Canadian firm is working on putting a lentil sports energy bar together.

Canadian studies on athletes proved they performed better with more endurance after eating lentil dishes than pasta.

Beyond being very nutritious, garlic may also give you more energy and reduce the time you spend rundown and sluggish. Eating garlic on a daily basis can help keep your energy levels stable and also reduce how much time you spend tired. This is particularly true if you feel a cold coming on. Eating two or three garlic cloves when you start to feel rundown can help you retain more energy and stay more active.

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