Different foods supply your body with short-term or long -lasting energy. The nutrients found in particular foods are also vital to the process of energy production
CARBOHYDRATES FOR LONG-TERM ENERGY
To achieve long-term vitality, you must include carbohydrates as the staple of your diet. These provide the primary source of glycogen stores in your muscles and liver – and therefore, energy.
The advantage of a carbohydrate-rich diet is that it consists of easily digestible plant-based foods – in the form of starches and sugars – that are quickly converted into glycogen. This is released as glucose in the bloodstream.
Starches provide a slow, steady release of glucose and are found in cereals, potatoes, pulses, pasta and rice
Sugars provide a fast release of glucose and can be found in fruit, vegetables, honey and milk
NUTRIENTS FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION
Carbohydrates provide the body with its most ready to use source of fuel, but other foods are key to the breakdown and production of energy. For sustainable energy levels, try to consume these nutrients on a daily basis:
B Vitamins help maintain the metabolism and convert digested food into energy. Foods rich in vitamin B include yeast, meat, dairy products, nut and fish
Selenium regulates the efficient conversion of energy throughout your body. Brazil nuts are rich in this important trace minerals
Carnitine is an amino acid that helps to release energy from your body’s reserves of fatty acids. It can be found in fish, milk, poultry and avocados
For the times when you need a quick fix of energy, don’t reach for the chocolate – try the food types below:
Super-energy foods – Bananas and honey are fantastic sources of energy, because they provide simple sugars for an instant boost, and complex carbohydrates for sustained stamina. Bananas are also rich in vitamins, minerals and protein, which make them a high powered snack to eat before an exercise class
High GI foods – The rate at which fast foods supply the bloodstream with sugar is measured against the glycaemic index. High GI foods provide a faster rise in blood sugar levels. If you are planning a night out, try to include high GI foods in your dinner such as baked potatoes and rice
The caffeine debate – too much caffeine can have a yo-yo effect on your energy levels, but sensible quantities (three of four cups a day) can actually improve physical performance, increase energy and delay fatigue
WHEN TO REFUEL
Your body needs regular refuelling throughout the day to keep energy levels high:
Kick start your day with a carbohydrate and protein based breakfast, to avoid a mid morning energy dip
Recharge at mid day no matter how busy you are. You can’t expect to perform well in the afternoon if you skip lunch
Snack Smart to maintain a steady blood glucose level. Sensible snacks include fruit, nuts, seeds and yoghurt
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