Nutritionists Suggest Cooking With These 12 Ingredients to Boost Energy
March 29, 2016
Clean, whole foods and superfood ingredients often prove to be viable energy sources
Nutritionists Suggest Cooking With These 12 Ingredients to Boost Energy
There’s no way around it: Diet is directly responsible for a large portion of your energy level. You can caffeinate and catnap as much as you want, but without making nutritious food choices, sustained energy just isn’t feasible. Mitra Shirmohammadi, MSc, RHN, and Chief Nutritionist for Nutriholist, suggests foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B for sustained energy:
“Real whole foods with high levels of magnesium and B vitamins are the best when it comes to providing an energy boost. So foods such as beans, nuts, seeds, [and] dark green leafy vegetables… are all great options.”
For more from Shirmohammadi and other nutritionists, click ahead for Nutritionists Suggest Cooking With These 12 Ingredients to Boost Energy.
“Bee pollen is made by honeybees and is considered one of nature's most nourishing foods thanks to its high levels of free amino acids, vitamins, and minerals,” says Mitra Shirmohammadi, MSc, RHN, and Chief Nutritionist for Nutriholist. “The carbohydrates, protein, and B vitamins especially help increase energy levels by enhancing stamina and fighting off fatigue.”
Sharon Brown, a clinical nutritionist, certified Gut and Psychology Syndrome practitioner (Gut and Psychology Syndrome or GAPS establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain), and cofounder of Bonafide Provisions, suggests simply replacing water in recipes with bone broth for increased energy.
“With 85 percent of your immune system residing in your gut, it is the most logical place to start when healing the body. A healthy body is an energetic body! Bone broth contains many amino acids, two notable ones being proline and glycine. Glycine supports detoxification in the body and helps the body assimilate collagen. Proline is essential to cell structures by strengthening their walls. Bone broth is also a great source of bio-available minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, silicon, and sulfur,” Brown says.
Cinnamon, Cumin, and Turmeric
iStock / Thinkstock
“Spices are great energy-boosters,” says Rene Ficek, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. “They are filled with antioxidants, can promote good circulation, and can normalize blood sugar. Curry is a traditional and delicious dish jam packed with energy-boosting spices like cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric.”
Click here for our best curry recipes.
“Another great, delicious snack that is high in protein and fiber is edamame,” says Ficek. “Edamame can be eaten several different ways. Frozen edamame bought in the shell can be steamed and eaten out of the shell for a great snack or appetizer whereas frozen shelled edamame can be thrown into pastas, soups, and even made into a delicious hummus spread. [It] can also be bought roasted for a tasty and crunchy mid-afternoon pickup.”
“Citrus fruits, like lemons and limes, are rich in vitamin C, which can boost our body's immune system,” says Ficek. “Lemon is considered a stimulating scent, and one study showed it improved subjects' moods and energy levels. The simplest way to get a boost, ever! Adding lemon to water transforms regular H2O into a natural energy drink that is packed with electrolytes, which are critical for cells to produce energy. Hydration in general is key for a mood boost; a 2012 study found that women who were mildly dehydrated reported feeling fatigued.”
“Lentils are a protein-packed, iron-rich food,” says Tory Tedrow, RD, CNSC at ContentChecked. “Iron is needed to create the oxygen-transporting protein hemoglobin. When people don’t eat enough iron, they develop iron deficiency anemia and experience symptoms such as general fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath due to the lack of oxygen in their body. Combine iron-rich foods [such as lentils] with foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, to maximize iron absorption.”
“Maca is a tuber from Peru that offers amazing energy in a non-caffeinated way due to its high level of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and all the essential amino acids,” says Mitra Shirmohammadi. “Maca is especially rich in B vitamins (including B-12), the energy vitamins, and high in bioavailable magnesium, a required component in the production of ATP. ATP is a coenzyme that is responsible for transporting energy within our cells for metabolism and is considered to be the energy currency of life.”
Dawn Lerman, MA, CHHC, LCAT, a Manhattan-based nutritionist, bestselling author of My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Family with Recipes, and a contributor to the New York Times Well blog, suggests incorporating matcha — a tea with more antioxidants than goji berries, pomegranates, wild blueberries, oranges, or broccoli, one-third the caffeine content of a cup of coffee, and nine times the beta-carotene content of spinach — into your diet for energy:
“My favorite energy-booster in addition to fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts is matcha tea," says Lerman. "Matcha [is] powdered tea made from aged green tea leaves. It is a whole food that is packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, and even amino acids that can sustain your body energetically and nutritionally for hours at a time. I use it several times throughout the day… for health, taste, and energy. I add the green powder to my morning smoothies [and] my home-baked breakfast cookies as well as sprinkling it on my yogurt or combining it with water and chia seeds for an energizing and filling drink on the go. Matcha provides sustained energy as well as a healthy boost of antioxidants because of the flavonoids. Unlike the caffeine in coffee, matcha promotes focus and calmness.”
“When eaten raw and unsalted, nuts are a good source of healthy fats and protein to balance blood sugar levels and keep energy levels up throughout the day,” says Rene Ficek, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. “Cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts are... high in magnesium, which plays a key role in converting sugar to energy. Nuts are also filled with fiber and protein to stave off hunger. Keep a bag of mixed nuts or trail mix in your purse or desk drawer to stay energetic all day.”
Tory Tedrow, RD, CNSC at ContentChecked, goes to trusty old oatmeal for energy:
“Oatmeal is a whole grain, so while it will not give you as immediate of an energy boost as a simple sugar, the energy gain will be a more sustained, gradual energy boost. Add some milk or peanut butter to your bowl to increase the protein content to sustain your energy for even longer.”
Raw Cacao Powder
Makenzie Marzluff, a certified holistic nutritionist and the founder of Delighted By Hummus, suggests looking to cacao for energy. She even says that it can be a replacement for coffee:
“Many raw foodists use raw cacao powder in their smoothies and baking because of its natural stimulating properties. I use it in place of coffee. It is considered a superfood and [is] extremely high in magnesium.
“While raw cacao powder is fantastic, sourcing whole cacao beans from Guatemala is much more powerful for boosting energy. These beans and/or paste contain the entire plant, the cacao butter and all, meaning it's high in alkaloids and gives you an intense but stable boost and buzz for about six hours… Make a soothing hot chocolate in the a.m. and you'll never need coffee again!”
Combine dark chocolate that has a high percentage of raw cacao with energy-boosting maca powder and pomegranate seeds in this powerful three-ingredient Dark Chocolate Maca Pomegranate Clusters recipe.