We love the outdoors and remember when we couldn’t wait to throw on some shorts and go shoot some hoops or ride a bike around the neighborhood but now, we just don’t have the energy. Long work days, stress and the daily grind just seem to sap all of our resources and we just want to drop on the couch and grab the remote.
While we will never be as young as we used to be, we may be able to get back some of that energy that used to seem abundant and now feels non-existent. The secret may be as simple as increasing our intake of high energy foods. When we deprive our bodies of the nutrients required to convert food to fuel, we jeopardize more than just our ability to play in the sun. We also put stress on our immune systems which can lead to a lower resistance to viruses and allergens. Feeling sick all the time will definitely reduce our desire and ability to enjoy those sunny days.
So where do you find high energy foods? It’s simple, really. The best source of energy comes from the carbohydrate food group, but the complex carbohydrates like whole grains. We also get energy from fat, but need to be conscious of the types of fat we consume. Lean meats and dairy contain fats that are unsaturated and better for cardiovascular health. Lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, chicken, dairy products, and whole grains all pack a high energy punch.
You don’t have to make major changes to your daily routine to add high energy foods to your diet. Replace a bag of chips with a bag of sunflower seeds at lunch time. Order the grilled, not the batter fried, chicken at the drive through. Even purchasing a bottle of chocolate milk instead of flavored coffee at the local convenience store will get you on your way. Yogurt is considered a high energy food but yogurt labels can be deceiving. If eating yogurt for weight loss, look for the low fat version. If you are eating yogurt for energy, you want to keep the fat content. Why not eat yogurt instead of ice cream after dinner? Combining fruits and vegetables with high energy foods will elicit the best result.
The science is quite simple, foods high in Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and Niacin help convert food to energy and minerals like phosphorous, zinc, iodine, copper and chromium are also essential. A meal consisting of tuna or chicken, spinach, and whole grain pasta with yogurt and bananas and walnuts for desert would provide the body with all of these vitamins and minerals.