June 25, 2013

Tired? These 10 Foods Will Help Improve Your Energy and Keep You Running All Day Long!

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Picture yourself at work. Its 3pm and you have been working non-stop since 8am.  At this point you are exhausted, hungry, and need a snack. Taking all this into consideration, it comes as no surprise that most individuals will reach for a snack that gives them a quick sugar rush or a jolt of caffeine. While this solution seems to work it is very short lived and can set you up for a crash. Choosing healthy foods that are rich in protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and other nutrients will give you that energy boost but unlike sugar and caffeine it will contribute to overall good health. I have created a list of 10 healthy snacks that will rev your engine and keep your motor running. Some of these items are go anywhere snacks and others are smart choices for a lunchtime meal that will power you through the afternoon and keep you satisfied until dinner. 

1) Almonds

These nuts are wonderful. They include monounsaturated fats that provide essential fatty acids (omega-3s and omega-6s) which help create an alert mental state. Almonds are also great sources of fiber, bone building calcium, and many other important nutrients that the human body requires in order to work properly and have sufficient amounts of energy. Just 1 oz.of almonds (roughly 20) contains more than 40 percent of your Daily Value of vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports the immune system by neutralizing free radicals.  Along with sustaining your energy levels, almonds can also help you loose weight. "Incorporating limited portions of almonds -- an energy-dense food -- into a behavioral weight-loss program still resulted in significant weight reduction," the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study.

2) Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is high in calories and each bite packs a bunch of nutrition. It contains both protein and healthy monosaturated fats, which will give you the energy pick-me-up that you are looking for. Additionally, peanut butter has other nutrients including vitamin B3, tryptophan, and manganese.
The monounsaturated fat in peanut butter has been linked with a decrease in the risk of heart disease. Also, peanuts contain fiber, and a diet high in fiber will reduce bad (LDL)cholesterol levels. Peanut butter also contains vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with lower levels of heart disease.
Peanut butter is a great source of iron, which helps to maintain good circulation. Other minerals in peanut butter include calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium.
The protein and fiber in peanut butter are both beneficial for blood sugar control. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or you are at risk of diabetes, including peanut butter in your diet may be beneficial because it will stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Peanut butter contains resveratrol , an antioxidant that has been linked with lower levels of heart disease and cancer. Some studies suggest that resveratrol may reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

3) Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is full of calcium, phosphorus, protein, tryptophan, molybdenum, and zinc. It's also a great source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Thanks to its liquid-like state, the nutrients in yogurt are assimilated quickly and easily during digestion, which means you get an immediate boost of energy. Yogurt's high protein content means that energy also has staying power. Yogurt also supplies the brain with tyrosine, an amino acid that boosts blood levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in a mood and mental boost. In a number of studies, tyrosine has also been effective at fighting fatigue.

4) Pistachios 

Pistachios are a source of two of the B vitamins essential for human health: thiamin or vitamin B1 and vitamin B6, according to ELook.org. A 1-oz. portion of dry-roasted pistachios provides 0.24 mg of vitamin B1, or 15 percent of the recommended daily value, and 0.36 mg of vitamin B6, or 17 percent of the DV. Vitamin B1 promotes a healthy nervous system and, in conjunction with other B-vitamins, helps releases energy from the foods you eat. Vitamin B6 is essential for protein metabolism, making red blood cells and is used to break down glycogen, or stored energy in the liver and muscles, into glucose or energy your cells can use as well as keeping your blood sugar levels steady. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in manufacturing brain chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin and dopamine.
Pistachios provide a healthy dose of the major mineral phosphorus, as well as the trace minerals manganese and copper. A 1-oz. serving of dry roasted pistachios provides 135.8 mg of phosphorus or 13 percent of the DV; 0.36 mg of manganese or 17 percent of the DV; and 0.37 mg of copper or 18 percent of the DV. Phosphorus is necessary for maintaining strong bones and teeth, is part of your cellular genetic material or DNA and is needed for growth and development. Manganese helps form bone and plays a role in energy metabolism. Copper works with iron, another trace mineral to form hemoglobin, aids in the synthesis of collagen and participates in energy metabolism.
A 1-oz. serving of dry roasted pistachios provides 6 g of protein. Protein is a macronutrient, or one needed in larger quantities. The building blocks of protein, amino acids, are important for building cells and body tissues; as well as manufacturing hormones, some enzymes and all antibodies -- necessary for optimum immune system function according to the McKinley Health Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Like many nuts, pistachios are high in fat, providing 12.8 g per 1-oz. serving but just over half of the fat is in the form of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, the same type of fat found in avocados. According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats help maintain your body's cells; can help reduce bad or "LDL" cholesterol levels; and may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke when consumed in moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet.
Another benefit of this green nut is that it is a source of dietary fiber, providing 3.2 g per 1-oz. serving and meeting over 12 percent of your daily requirement. The cholesterol-lowering benefits of pistachios appear to be due, at least in part, to their dietary fiber and monounsaturated fat content. According to a research study published in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" in April 2007, 15 individuals with mildly elevated blood cholesterol levels, who ate a diet consisting of 15 percent of calories from pistachio nuts, or 2 to 3 oz., over a four-week period favorably improved blood cholesterol levels.

5) Air popped popcorn

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, half of the grains you consume daily, or at least 3 oz., should be in the form of whole grains for optimum health. Whole grains are rich in carbohydrates; popcorn provides 6 g per cup. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy. In fact, the nervous system can use only glucose, broken down from carbohydrates, as fuel. Some of the benefits of including whole grains in the diet are that they improve overall diet quality and are rich in many nutrients. Whole grains are less processed than refined grains. The whole corn kernel includes the endosperm, germ and the pericarp, or hull, versus a whole grain kernel, which contains the endosperm, germ and bran.
Popcorn is a fiber-rich food. Two types of dietary fibers, essential for human health, are found in plant foods: soluble and insoluble. Each type of fiber offers slightly different health benefits. On average, men need 38 g daily and women require 25 g daily, ideally 2/3 of which should be in the form of insoluble fiber, according to MayoClinic.com. Most of the dietary fiber in popcorn is in the form of insoluble fiber, or "roughage." Dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, promotes a healthy digestive system by increasing the size and weight of your stool, and softening it, which eases or prevents constipation. A fiber-rich diet may also lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and diverticulosis, which is characterized by the formation of small pouches in your colon. These pouches can become inflamed and swollen, causing a painful and possibly dangerous condition known as diverticulitis.

6)Bananas 

Because they are composed mostly of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and fiber, bananas are a foolproof energy food. Top them with peanut or almond butter for a well-rounded snack, or slice one into your morning cereal for an extra boost that will keep you going until lunchtime.

7) Kale

The beneficial effects of cruciferous vegetables like kales over cancer have been known for a long time. The vegetable is very effective in reducing the risk of lung, breast, bladder, colon and ovarian cancer. Indole-3-carbinol, a phytonutrient present in cruciferous vegetables like kales, helps to reduce the secretion of apolipoproteinB-100 (a cholesterol transporter) by the liver cells. This transporter is the prime carrier of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) to tissues and increased levels of this cholesterol lead to plaque formation in the blood vessels. Thus, by lowering the secretion of the transporter, the vegetable helps to prevent a number of ailments related to the cardio-vascular system. There is a direct connection between vitamin A, lung inflammation and emphysema. Studies have proved that a particular carcinogen present in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, causes vitamin A deficiency in the body. Thus, to counteract this effect; the daily diet of a person should have high contents of vitamin A.

  • Research has also indicated that intake of vitamin C rich foods such as kales acts against inflammatory polyarthritis, a type of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) that involves two or more joints.
  • The high fiber content in kales helps to reduce high cholesterol levels and thus helps to prevent atherosclerosis. It is estimated that a single cup of kale supplies around 10.4% of the daily fiber requirement.
  • Apart from this, kale also helps to maintain the normal blood sugar level and hence, is very advantageous for people suffering from diabetes.
  • Kale contains high calcium content. Calcium is vital for the development and maintenance of healthy bones. A cup of kale provides approximately 9.4% of the daily calcium requirement.
  • The vegetable is also a very good source of the trace element, manganese. This mineral takes part in a number of chemical processes in the body and helps in the production of energy from carbohydrates and proteins. Also, it is involved in the synthesis of certain fatty acids that are essential for the proper functioning of a healthy nervous system.
  • Manganese is a critical component of an antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD) which is exclusively found inside the body mitochondria. Here, it provides defence against the harmful effects of certain free radicals that are produced during the process of energy production.
  • The presence of certain organosulfur phytonutrients in kale helps to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer in humans like bladder cancer and colon cancer and helps in the general strengthening of the immune system of the body. 


8) Salmon

Salmon's nutritional benefits have been much touted for good reason. Fresh or canned, salmon delivers two powerful healing nutrients: protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein does more than rebuild muscles; it also repairs bones, ligaments, and tendons.  We tend to forget that healing really means building new cells, and your body needs protein to make those new cells. 


9) Oatmeal



Benefits of Oatmeal: Source of nutrients that can provide proven health benefits, including benefits on blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose metabolism, satiety, and gastrointestinal health. Oatmeal in any form is a good way to meet part of the recommendation to eat three servings of whole grains each day. (Glycemic Index Number = 49 for old fashioned oatmeal vs. 66 for quick oats.)



10) Hummus
Chickpeas are legumes that are also called garbanzo beans. Beans such as chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, which can help you keep cholesterol levels low and promote better heart health. Fiber-rich chickpeas also help diabetics regulate blood sugar levels, making hummus a particularly diabetes-friendly snack as well. The high fiber in chickpeas also helps promote a healthier
Chickpeas also boast a variety of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. They're a good source of folic acid, which is particularly important for women of childbearing age to help prevent the risk of birth defects in babies. Chickpeas also contain manganese, zinc, magnesium, copper and iron and are rich in protein, says Everynutrient.com.

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