All food provides energy, but not in the same way. Some foods provide a quick burst of energy that trickles out, while others provide a slow energy release for all-day benefits. The key to meal planning is to determine which foods offer the most benefit and energy when needed.
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate, which means it is an energy source that provides a slow burn. A potential additional benefit to oatmeal is increased serotonin production, improving memory and learning function while helping to manage stress.
While oatmeal is an excellent energy source, you want to avoid most instant oat varieties. These quick, convenient foods are packed with sugar and can have the opposite effect of what you're after.
2. Beans and Lentils
All varieties of beans share a similar nutrient profile, containing antioxidants, carbs, protein, and fiber. Additionally, beans provide iron, folic acid, and magnesium, and they digest slowly, helping stabilize blood sugar and produce energy.
Lentils are also rich in carbs and fiber. They also contain higher folate, zinc, iron, and manganese levels, adding to energy production.
Bananas are another food packed with complex carbohydrates for a slow energy burn. A banana also contains potassium, protein, and vitamin B6, all contributing to its reputation as one of the best energy-producing foods.
The best part about bananas is it doesn't matter how you eat them. You can freeze them to create a smoothie, eat it by hand, or slice it into oatmeal for an energy-filled breakfast.
There is a reason most breakfast meals include an egg or two. Eggs are protein powerhouses, meaning they provide sustained energy long after breakfast is through. Additionally, eggs contain the amino acid leucine, which stimulates energy production. Finally, eggs contain various B vitamins that are necessary to specific enzymes in their role of converting food to energy.
5. Fatty Fish
There are many benefits to eating fatty fish like salmon. The food is a rich and unique source of omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients. It can also improve heart health and circulation. Additionally, eating fish twice weekly can reduce stroke risks, depression, Alzheimer's, and other chronic conditions. Finally, fish is a high protein, low saturated fat food and contributes to energy production.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Not only are sweet potatoes an excellent source of vitamin C, which is necessary for energy production, but they also provide a healthy dose of fiber or complex carbohydrates. Therefore, sweet potatoes are another food that provides a slow-burning energy source.
Avocados are commonly called a superfood because they include "good" fats. The fruit contains about 80% fiber, a complex carbohydrate, meaning sustained energy. However, it is necessary to limit avocados because of their calorie content.
If you are looking for an energy-boosting snack, look no further than hummus. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus recipes, and they are primarily a complex carb, meaning they are an excellent source of energy.
The above eight foods are not the only sources of energy, but they represent some of the most valuable foods for an energy boost. As long as you focus on maintaining a nutritious and balanced diet, you should have ample energy to get through every day, especially with adequate sleep.