Monday, January 12, 2009

10 Foods That Give You Energy

Feeling sluggish? These good eats will give you the perfect pick-me-up. Being tired is no fun at all. You can't concentrate at work, you exercise less, and getting out of bed takes a lot of effort. It's a miserable way to trudge through life. But did you know that having more energy may be as simple as choosing the right foods? Overall, the key is to focus on low-glycemic foods (because they release energy slowly) that are high in complex carbohydrates and low in excess fats. Iron is also very important because it produces red blood cells that carry blood to exercising muscles. A first step is to eliminate "quick-fix" foods that contain simplex carbohydrate foods, like candy bars and soft drinks, which spike your energy level before it plunges quickly. Next, start incorporating these 10 foods into your diet. Daily 1. Whole grains. They're high in fiber (which can help slow the breakdown and absorption of sugar) and complex carbohydrates. They also contain antioxidants similar to those in fruits and vegetables. Additionally, they reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Adults should eat 6 to 11 servings of whole grains per day. Examples include whole grain breads, pastas, and rice. Breakfast 2. Oatmeal. According to the American Dietetic Association, oat products are some of the best sources of soluble fiber. You can combine oatmeal with raisins, honey, and yogurt for extra flavor and energy. 3. Bananas. This fruit is packed with potassium, which helps your muscles contract. One per day prevents stiffness that comes from sitting at a desk. 4. Orange Juice. This drink is ideal for the morning and is extremely high in vitamin C, which helps you get the most iron out of other foods. Meals 5. Pasta. When athletes "carbo-load" before a game, they usually eat a big plate of spaghetti. It's extremely high in complex carbohydrates and low in calories, fat, and sodium. 6. Salmon. This fish is high in protein, and its high concentration of omega-3 fats and B vitamins can boost your cardiovascular health. 7. Beans. A small, powerful vegetable packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, beans can be used in creative ways. Add them to soups, burritos, pastas, and dip spreads. In 2005 the Department of Agriculture recommended that Americans eat three cups of beans per week. Snack 8. Dried fruit. These high-energy, low-fat snacks are easy to pack and almost never go bad. Try a medley of apricots, figs, and raisins. However, be aware that some commercially packaged dried fruits contain sulfur dioxide, which has been shown to increase your risk of asthma. 9. Almonds. Ounce-for-ounce, this is the most nutrient-dense nut. Research has shown that adding two ounces of almonds to your daily diet increases your intake of vitamin-E and magnesium. 10. Yogurt. Quick, easy, and delicious, yogurt is available in a variety flavors. One cup of low-fat yogurt contains almost 13 grams of protein and 17 grams of carbohydrates-just what you need for great energy. By Nathan Schiller, QualityHealth News

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