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There are many schools of thought in terms of when to eat and how often throughout the day, but most nutrition professionals agree that it’s important to maintain a steady level of blood sugar throughout the day for maximum efficiency and mental performance. When you’re feeling sluggish and in the need for a pick me up, be it in the morning or during your afternoon slump, it might be tempting to reach for a caffeine fix or a quick sugar rush, but there is a downside to each upswing if it comes too drastically. The perfect solution is to find foods that energize you in a healthy way.

Some foods are surprisingly invigorating. Because they contain Quercetin, it has been noted that apples, green tea, red wine, onions, and berries all possess the ability to protect brain cells and increase athletic performance. Eggs are also a good option because of their abundance of B-vitamins. This enables the body to convert food into energy in a more effective manner. They also contain Choline, which has a variety of benefits such as DNA synthesis and metabolism support, as well as being a natural energy boost.

Foods high in magnesium are vital because of our bodies’ constant need for large quantities of this mineral in every cell of our body. Even when not exercising, it’s important to keep replenishing it. Some good sources of magnesium are nuts, such as almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews.

Fans of chocolate will be happy to hear that it’s on the list as well, but there’s an important distinction to be made between milk and dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cacao, the darker and more bitter the taste, but it’s the healthier option because cacao is full of antioxidants, iron, and magnesium that increase energy and focus. Darker chocolate also contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, is mostly made of milk and sugar and is severely lacking in nutrients.  

Most advocates of water consumption only point out the hydration benefits. There is also a major energy benefit that comes with drinking the recommended allowance of water each day. One of the more popular formulas suggests drinking half of your body weight in ounces, so a woman weighing 150 lbs would drink 75 ounces or approximately 9 cups of water throughout the day. For males, this should be increased to about 12 cups.