Due to modern day's busy lifestyle, many of us are prone to overwhelming stress from long hours of work and lack of proper rest. Adding superfoods to your balanced diet is one way to control fatigue and provide the body with enough energy for your overall well-being.
A lack of energy can lead to one or more conditions:
Abnormal conditions of the skin
Increased or decreased cardiovascular activity
Low immunity levels
Inflammation of muscles and joints
Psychological effects such as insomnia and depression
Infertility or erectile dysfunction
Instead of looking to fad diets or energy drinks, focus on good eating habits to increase your energy levels. By including superfoods into your diet, you give your body energy-releasing nutrients, minerals and vitamins that can help reduce fatigue and provide the body with everything it needs.
Superfoods are super because they are chock-full of nutrients that even consuming just a little each day can make you feel, well, super!
There are many superfoods out there, but here is a list of the most popular ones that easy to spot in your local grocery store:
Native to the Peruvian Andes, maca is a rich source of iron, iodine, manganese and zinc which are great nutrients that strengthen cells and increase energy levels. The Peruvians began cultivating this plant for consumption after they saw an increase in stamina and fertility from their llamas. Maca is also an adaptogen, which means that it can adapt to what the body needs by maintaining equilibrium and balancing stress levels.
Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron. It is also high in magnesium, which helps turn glucose into energy. The antioxidants present in cacao powder trigger the secretion of peptides which give you an energy boost. No wonder so many of us feel happy after eating chocolate!
The world’s richest and oldest superfood is actually an algae. One of the first living organisms to ever be found on Earth, spirulina is literally jampacked with almost every vitamin and mineral under the sun. To top it off, it is a natural plant protein, which is more easily absorbed into the body.
This little berry from Brazil can have a huge impact on your health. It’s loaded with amino acids, dietary fibre, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. The phytonutrients give you stamina and act as energy boosters.
The flavonoids in blueberries help to protect cells and blood vessels from the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation. Research suggests that these nutrients, along with phytochemicals, may help the body and mind recover from stress and cellular injury more quickly. The high water content also promotes skin hydration.
This ancient supergrain once valued by the Incas is very low in saturated fat and high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc. Quinoa, a healthier version of rice, is considered a complete protein as it contains nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce by themselves. These amino acids promote muscle performance, boost energy and give strength.
A superfood indeed, oats are not only great for energy, but are also great for weight loss because of their high fiber content that keeps you full for longer. They can also lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease.
Almonds aid in converting food into energy. The high levels of magnesium also help to lower blood sugar and slow digestion. This improves the function of insulin and regulates energy.
9. Bee Pollen
You wouldn't guess that bee pollen is actually 40% protein. Half of that is in the form of amino acids. This natural gift also contains carbohydrates, B vitamins and a wide variety of enzymes all perfect for giving you an energy boost.
10. Hemp Seeds
This nutty seed can be sprinkled on a salad, and is a great source of vitamin E, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and other minerals. They also have more protein and fiber than chia or flax seeds. Another benefit is their high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential for heart and brain health, immune system support, energy production and more.
11. Flax seeds
These heart healthy seeds have the highest omega-3 fatty acid content than any other seed. They are also high in fiber, protein, omega-6 and the antioxidants called lignans.
12. Chia seeds
They may be tiny, but boy are they mighty! Also high in omega-3 and fiber, chia seeds can help you stay regular and increase satiety. As a plant-based protein, they may help in supporting blood sugar balance, blood pressure and inflammation.
Rich in chlorophyll and high in fiber, wheatgrass helps to alkalize the body and flush out toxins. Drinking shots of wheatgrass juice not only boosts your energy, it also aids to build stamina, improve metabolism and acts as a natural hunger suppressant.
The energy-boosting effects from salmon come from an improved metabolism, including the more efficient use of oxygen in the body during exercise. Loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart health, salmon is also an amazing source of protein. Eating fatty fish twice a week may also help with depressive symptoms and improve cognitive function.
Another good source of healthy omega-3 fats, avocados are full of fiber, potassium, vitamins A and E, and folate. These healthy fats improve the metabolic aspects of heart health, including a reduction in the levels of oxidative risk factors, blood fat levels and inflammatory markers. These are often elevated in fatigue-causing conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
16. Goji Berries
Used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to stimulate energy and lower stress, goji berries can increase blood flow, and help oxygen to flow more freely throughout the body. They are concentrated sources of antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, and polysaccharides. Containing more iron than spinach and more vitamin C than any other fruit in the world, these red orange berries also have carbohydrates for energy and 18 amino acids to help meet the body's protein needs - making it another complete plant protein!
These low-fat protein legumes are rich in selenium, a mineral that may be a natural mood enhancer. Research has shown that low selenium levels may lead to poorer moods and lower energy levels. A great source of meatless protein, the fiber in these petite legumes also help stabilize blood sugar.
It’s ok to have two eggs a day. Not just for breakfast, eggs can also be tossed on a salad or in a sandwich. A simple egg offers a convenient, complete source of protein and energy. It is this high protein concentration that you need before or after a workout to give you more endurance.
19. Kale and Spinach
Don’t forget your greens. Loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, flavonoids, phytochemicals, antioxidant and inflammatory properties, it's no wonder these leafy no-brainers have the highest ranking amongst vegetables. Throw them in pestos or smoothies and feel the energy.
20. Coconut Water
The water from green coconuts is high in potassium and other electrolytes that help the body replenish those lost during moderate exercise. Coconut water contains significantly more potassium than popular sports drinks and this all-natural alternative is lower in sugar.
21. Green Tea
Matcha, or ground green tea, has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation caused by exercise. Due to its concentration of L-theanine (an amino acid) and caffeine content, green tea can enhance energy, endurance and reduce muscle damage.
Ginseng is an ancient alternative herb that promotes regeneration from stress and fatigue with a natural, caffeine-free boost of energy. It’s also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other essential components.
One of the world’s oldest known spices cinnamon has been known to give people energy as it stabilizes blood sugar levels and improves insulin action in the brain.
Packed with micronutrients and antioxidants that help to boost energy levels, honey also helps fight inflammation and reduce the signs of aging. The low-glycemic boost helps to fuel your body, whether you need a pick-me-up or when you’re trying to get through a workout.
25. Pumpkin Seeds
Also known as “pepitas,” pumpkin seeds are nutritious, flavourful and provide a healthy dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein and fiber, both of which can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream to promote better blood sugar control. Why is this important? Because sustaining high levels of blood sugar can cause diabetic symptoms, such as increased thirst, fatigue, frequent urination and nausea.
Your energy is controlled on a cellular level. In order for the cells to work properly they need to be charged through proper nutrition. An overload of processed food and toxins can affect the absorption of these nutrients, causing you to feel less energized as you should be through your food.
Of course these aren't the only superfoods on the market. The ones mentioned here have the most energy and mood-enhancing powers to help you make the most of your day, every day.