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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Are there “Energy” foods?



In the middle of the afternoon, do you feel tired and need an energy boost?   Are you full of energy in the morning and then by late afternoon, a nap sounds good?  Are there foods you can eat to help you maintain your energy throughout the day?   Or is there a food that will give you an afternoon pick up of energy when you need it?
Men’s Health had a great article on Foods That Fight Off an Afternoon Slump.  Their suggestions:

  • Green Tea – yes, skip the energy drink and have a cup of tea?  How can that energize you?  Tea offers not only caffeine but also theanine.  These will improve your reaction time; help your creativity and even your ability to multitask.  Rather than the caffeine jitters, cups of coffee might give you, green tea has a more calming effect.  (See more about the health effects of green tea in my blog post, Boost Your Health with Green Tea, 2-2-14).
  • Almonds – I’ve written about the health benefits of a handful of nuts before.  Try a handful of almonds for an afternoon energy boost.  So many people have avoided nuts because of their higher fat content.  But studies have shown nuts don’t really pile on the pounds and may actually aid you in your weight loss efforts.  Almonds offer protein, a healthy fat and fiber.  Eating a handful won’t spike your blood sugar but give you more lasting energy.
  • Greek Yogurt – all the rage today.  Any yogurt will do as long as it is a low fat, low sugar variety.  Many prefer Greek yogurt because of its taste and higher protein content per serving.  Like almonds, yogurt won’t spike your blood sugar but provides a  more steady energy boost. 
  • Dark Chocolate – yes, chocolate.  Not the whole box of chocolates but 1-2 ounces can provide just the energy boost you need to get through the afternoon.  Chocolate does have some caffeine but it also contains phenylethylamine.  This compound helps boost the neurotransmitter, dopamine, a feel good chemical in your body.  Even the smell of chocolate might increase your attention span.  (Read more about the health benefits of chocolate in my post, Can Chocolate Be Good for Your Heart?  1-26-2014).



So rather than reach for a donut or cake in the break room, choose something that will boost, not sap your energy.




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