Feeling sluggish and lacking in energy? Sitting at your desk with heavy eyelids and blurred vision?
If the mid-morning craving cycle or 3pm slump has got you beat and you need to fight your fatigue fast here are ten smart foods to help boost your energy and rev you back up to speed.
Keep these foods in the fridge at work and mix them up when you’re in need of a helping hand to recharge your batteries and avoid the energy roller-coaster.
Without water there would be no life. Sorry to sound so gloomy! But water is undeniably the most essential substance on earth and is essential for human to function on a daily basis. Water is needed to help carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, both of which if are in low supply can lead to fatigue and nausea. On average its recommended adult women have about eight cups of water per day and men approximately ten cups per day. Some great ways to ensure you are getting enough water into your diet is having a glass regularly or carrying around a water bottle.
Salmon is jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to help lower cholesterol, potentially reducing your risk of heart disease. Not only is it great for the heart, salmon is high in protein, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clue what these last few are but basically they help to convert food into energy- giving you a healthy wake up call when you think you are going to fall asleep at your desk. Keep some in your top drawer at work or a home-cooked piece in the fridge. My Salmon Chowder is easily transportable in a thermos.
- FRESH, SEASONAL PRODUCE
I could happily talk for days and days about why people should eat seasonally — sustainability, cost, health, environment, nutrient value, flavour, colour… the list goes on. But when it comes to fighting fatigue, seasonal produce is at its maximum nutrient potential that it could possibly be. This refers to the total amount of nutrients that a vegetable could ever have. As the product is stored and transported — which happens when it is not in season — the nutrient potential rapidly decreases. By eating in season you are getting the biggest reward from the produce and should feel more alert and awake after eating seasonal produce. If you work indoors, bring a big salad, chopped up veggies and fruit and nibble on them for an injection of energy. Try my Over the Rainbow Salad with Tahini Dressing for colour and crunch.
Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium. Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function. Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast. If you think you have enough spinach, think again! Just keep adding it! Try making my foolproof spinach loaf and bring a couple of slices to work with you. To boost iron absorption add some vitamin C, you might like my Kale, Spinach, Avocado, Pine Nut and Strawberry Salad.
One cup of mushrooms provides almost 50 per cent of your daily serving of iron! Iron is essential in transporting oxygen within the bloodstream. Without an efficient oxygen supply to our major organs, we can often feel fatigued and lethargic. Consuming mushrooms will boost the level of iron in your body, boosting the cells within the bloods ability to transport oxygen around our body and fuel our organs to function effectively. In my book Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian there’s a delicious recipe for coconut mushrooms with cauliflower rice. You can use any type of mushrooms for this iron filled dish, flavoured with coconut and zesty limes and pack it up in a lunch box for work.
- PUMPKIN AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS
Snack on a quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds and you will get about half the daily-recommended amount of magnesium. Like spinach, magnesium helps in bone, protein and fatty acid formation, helps to relax muscles and maintain adequate calcium levels. Simple to make Sunflower Seed Falafel Balls are a desktop favourite. Try these and serve in a lettuce cup or simply with the tahini dipping sauce.
By eating raw, unsalted nuts your body is provided with a high-energy boost packed with nutrients and free from any form of processing. If possible, try and soak your nuts overnight in water to activate them. Activated nuts starts the germination or sprouting process, increasing the nutrient value of the nuts and allowing the body to more easily digest them. Try my amazing Sweet Spiced Nuts from Eat Yourself Beautiful or moorish Sea Nuts, made with lime and sardines!.
Add a dollop of natural goat’s milk yoghurt to your breakfast, favourite salad or on top of the next curry you make to get a great boost of calcium and huge dose of probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in yoghurt with can help to facilitate changes in the micro flora of the gut and enhance the body’s immune system. Probiotics help to keep your gut healthy, assisting in digestion, which in turn leads to you getting the most of the food you consume and helping to fight fatigue. If you’re not keen on goats then opt for full fat yoghurt. Add a healthy muffin to it and make it a trifle like the muffin trifle from my Renewable Table eBook.
- SWEET POTATOES
My favourite source of carbohydrate, sweet potatoes, contain iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D — all of which help to increase energy levels and stop your from feeling tired. Sweet potatoes are hugely versatile and you can enjoy them mashed, grilled, steamed, roasted, in a salad, by themselves or in a curry. My favourite source of carbohydrate, sweet potatoes, contain iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D. Hello sweet potato chips!
Gone are the days of limiting your intake to six eggs per week — I say eat eggs until the cows come home! Eggs are the highest source of complete protein with eggs providing an impressive 30 per cent of your daily requirements of protein. They’re great to help after exercise to ensure your muscles can recover properly and your body feels fresh for the day ahead. Boil up some eggs and take them to work to eat as a snack or include them with a salad. My favourite? Curried egg and walnut salad.
Including foods that promote enduring energy will give you a fatigue-fighting boost and keep you alert and focused.