Your body needs fuel to function, just like a car engine. This fuel comes in the form of carbohydrates, fats and protein which your body sources from food. These are broken down into glucose (sugars) in your digestive system and transported through the bloodstream to every cell in your body where it is used as energy.
Low glucose levels could leave you feeling fatigued, dizzy and irritable, as well as cause headaches and nausea. To help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day, include these energy boosting foods in your diet:
1. Brown Rice
Brown rice is rich in manganese, a mineral which supports your metabolism and helps your body breakdown carbohydrates. It also aids in gluconeogenesis, a chemical process in the liver which produces glucose.
2. Sweet Potato
The complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes gradually breakdown and release energy over a longer of period of time, helping you maintain a steady blood glucose level. Sweet potatoes also have high levels of vitamin C, which aids the absorption of manganese.
As well as being an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, oats are high in energy boosting B-vitamins. These water soluble nutrients help cells absorb glucose efficiently from the bloodstream to use as energy.
This quick, light snack could help replenish your glycogen levels. This is extra glucose which the body stores in the liver as well as in muscle cells. It is then released when your blood glucose levels drop to give you a boost.
Fruits offer a significant dose of glucose which is easily metabolized into energy. Most fruits are digested in under half an hour, providing a quick energy release. The fructose they contain can also be converted into liver glycogen.
Kale is a great source of many nutrients including iron, a key component of energy production which supports the chemical reactions needed to source energy from carbohydrates and fats. It also aids circulation and supplies cells with the oxygen they need to breakdown food into energy.
Almonds are packed with protein and manganese as well as riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2. Like other B vitamins, it aids in the breakdown of carbohydrates. It also helps metabolise proteins and fats to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Oily fish such as salmon are a rich source of essential omega 3 fatty acids which could help boost your metabolism. Like carbohydrates, the body easily stores these fatty acids and uses them for slow-burn energy.
Eggs contain the highest complete form of protein in any food and provide 30% of your recommended daily amount. The small molecules, known as amino acids, produced when protein is broken down can be turned into glucose or fatty acids to be used as energy.
Water is essential for all your organ functions and dehydration can limit your physical and mental ability, making you feel tired and fatigued. The Department of Health recommend you drink 1.2 litres of water per day; however, if you do a lot of exercise or are pregnant you should increase your intake.
You could also boost your energy levels further by taking a supplement which contains energy producing nutrients.