Have you ever said, “I just don’t have any energy today.” Or, “I wish I had more energy.” Perhaps you have seen the many supplements and foods that claim to give you what you desire…more energy. Then there are the energy drinks, some even claim to give you wings. But what does the word “energy” really mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary it means, “The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.” As far as the body is concerned energy comes from something called ATP or Adenosine Tri Phosphate, a high energy bond. This compound comes from food. Specifically, from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In terms of food we express energy in the form of calories, even though our cells only know ATP. Carbohydrates and proteins gives us 4 calories per gram and fats give us 9 calories per gram. Yes that’s right, despite intense marketing slogans from foods and supplements, vitamins themselves do not give us energy. However, they do play a critical role in the pathways the body uses to derive ATP from the food we eat. Without vitamins like the B vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium the process would slow down for sure. In turn, if you don’t eat enough calories, all the vitamins and minerals in the world will not give you energy to keep going. As for energy drinks and coffee that make us feel like we have energy, it is usually the high levels of caffeine and sugar that gives us a brief lift only to crash us down in the end, definitely not sustainable energy. So here are a few things you can do to assure you are “full of energy” and can sustain it all day long.
Eat breakfast: Think about it, when you wake up you have potentially gone for almost 12 hours without eating anything. Your liver stores of carbohydrate are most likely empty, used to keep your blood sugar balanced through the night. Not to mention, your metabolism is in fasting mode, meaning its slow. So give it a boost and eat a healthy breakfast. If you don’t like breakfast food, don’t limit your choices, eat a salad or a wrap just fuel the tank and sustain it!
Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of whole grains, healthy fats and plant or lean proteins. The idea is to eat as many nutrient dense foods as possible. This basically means make every calorie count and eat foods that provide lots of vitamins and minerals along with the calories. Remember you need both to get that energy you crave.
Eat small frequent meals. Small meals containing no more than 500 calories every 3 to four hours is a good goal. Eating large meals can make you feel sluggish because your body focuses on digesting the big meal. Smaller meals can keep you from that post lunch desire to nap. Of course, going for many hours without eating will also slow you down as your blood sugar drops and your metabolism slows down.
Drink Plenty of Water. Dehydration can affect your body before you are even thirsty. In fact, being just 2% dehydrated can negatively affect athletic performance and cause fatigue.
Exercise. It seems like the last thin