Raise your hands if you are guilty of downing very many cups of java in an effort to stay alert and efficient through the day. Well, here’s news for you: while coffee exaggerates the effect of natural hormones like adrenaline, the stimulated feeling wears off soon enough leading to a slump. Plus, it is a diuretic and dehydrates the body, and it interferes with sleep, which further downs the energy level. So instead of resorting to the caffeine short cut, I suggest you follow the ‘Eating Healthy Energy’ plan and eat high energy giving foods through the day.
A shot of wheat grass on empty stomach (to ensure maximum absorption) is a perfect morning fuel. It contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is an important blood builder. The chlorophyll molecules closely resemble hemin molecules, the pigment that combines with protein to form hemoglobin. Plus it is rich in protein too. It’ll give you a surge of caffeine-free energy that will last all day.
Right breakfast makes us healthier, livelier, happier, fitter and even sexier. Skipping breakfast denies the body it’s much needed refueling in the morning and you start the day in a less than optimum state – a situation that can easily be avoided. To jump-start your slugging stamina become a breakfast believer.
Eggs: Eggs deliver complete protein (all nine essential amino acids which provide steady and sustained energy throughout the day). As a bonus they deliver loads of energising B vitamins too.
Sprouts: Sprouts deliver easily accessible protein and a stockpile of B vitamins, which help keep lethargy away.
Eat beets: Beets help transport oxygen throughout your body that is important for energy production. Try a beet smoothie for breakfast.
Don’t fool yourself by munching on some junk in-between meal times. This steady flow of good-for-you-grub will keep your blood sugar level in check and also give you lasting energy.
Eat a banana: Delivers complex carbs, fibre, potassium, vitamin B6 – bananas have nearly everything you need for a shot of perk-up fuel. Making it an ideal snack for a midday pick-me-up.
Lunch is not dispensable. Long hours without food translates to no energy to function and may lead to low blood sugar, which will sooner or later lead to uncontrollable bingeing and/or food cravings. So what should one eat? The plate should have some vegetables, some grains, and a good quality protein source like lentils, fish, tofu or paneer.
Drink buttermilk: Ayurveda suggests that we should have buttermilk (and I agree) at lunchtime - it boosts good bacteria in our gut and provides extra help for digestion. And that translates into more energy.
If you're fighting afternoon fatigue, you need a dose of healthy MUFA (Mono unsaturated fatty acids).
Eat almonds: These nuts deliver B2 vitamins and multiple trace minerals too. And will perk you right up. Keep a bag in your desk drawer.
Eat oranges: Loaded with riboflavin (needed for energy production), this tangy fruit is high in vitamin C, folate, and potassium too. You'll get a steady boost through the evening and will keep you satiated till dinner time.
The rule should be to keep it light, and to eat at least 2 hours before going to sleep.
Drink soup: Make healthy soups in advance. That way, you'll have a quick dinner. All you need to do is reheat! It’ll provide much needed fibre (to keep your gut happy), and deliver all the missing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that you need for efficient working of the body functions.
Eat Salmon: loads with riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, protein and omega-3 it’s a perfect choice for a healthy energy giving dinner.
Or add a chunk of cottage cheese or tofu to your salad or stir fry; it is an excellent source B vitamins, which your body uses to convert food into energy.
Having trouble sleeping? Maybe you need to eat something to help sleep better.
Eat walnuts: Just pop in a few regularly before bedtime as research shows that walnut tends to increase melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep) in the body.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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