The Six Best Natural Foods to give you Energy
1. Whole grain cereals such as oats and bran are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates so, unlike corn flakes and puffed rice, a bowl of porridge takes some time to release its carbohydrate content. This means the body is supplied with a steady supply of energy-providing glucose that should prevent between meals energy burnouts.
Breakfasting on a bowl of cornflakes will also provide plenty of energy, but corn flakes provide energy in the form of simple carbohydrates which are quicker and easier to digest. Because simple carbohydrates are digested so easily they push up glucose levels much faster than complex carbohydrates. This means simple carbohydrates can be used to supply some quick energy, but if the blood glucose level becomes too high or is raised too quickly the liver will respond by producing extra insulin to lower the glucose level and, in some cases, the glucose level may become low enough to cause feelings of lethargy.
So for some energy on the go, go for whole grain cereals every time—preferably with little or no sugar.
2. Fresh fruit Like whole grains, fruit is a good source of natural fiber. It also provides numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is surefire way of getting some carbohydrates into the body, but a little care is needed in choosing the right fruit to nibble on or blend into a smoothie.
Some fruits, including raisons, melons and pineapple deliver energy very quickly. This makes them a great choice when the blood sugar level has dropped considerably and needs bringing back up again, but when this is not the case all that extra energy will have nowhere to go and will invariably be converted to fat unless eaten in strict moderation.
Fortunately the majority of fruits, including grapefruits, cherries and apples are a source of complex carbohydrate and will deliver energy more slowly.
3.Trail mix is a popular snack option with backpacker and hikers. There’s a reason for that—trail mix is a very good energy provider.
Trail mix contains a mixture of nuts, dried fruits and grains that make it a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It also provides both simple and complex carbohydrates. This makes trail mix useful for providing some quick energy when over exertion has lowered the blood sugar, but it is equally useful for proving an ongoing supply of energy. Although the dried fruit used in the mix contains complex carbohydrates, it also contains fructose and other fruit sugars that can get to work fast. The other ingredients provide a generous dose of complex carbohydrates (for ongoing energy), and the mono- and polyunsaturated fats in nuts provide a further source of energy.
4. Bananas – thought you knew all about bananas? Think again—there is more to this fruit than meets the eye. When they are still a little green, bananas contain a form of starch that is a little difficult for the body to digest, but it’s loaded with energy. Because it takes the digestive system so long to extract the energy it is released nice and slowly. This makes green bananas a good choice for eating before commencing a long hike or prolonged sporting activity. It also means a green banana breakfast shake can keep you going until lunchtime.
As the green banana ripens, however, the starch is gradually converted to simple sugars—ever noticed how disgustingly sweet a spotty, ripe banana can be? Now you know the reason why. The more ripe the banana becomes the faster it releases its energy; so if you toss a ripe banana in your early morning shake it may provide a nice banana buzz of energy, but it will have buzzed off and gone long before the next meal.
5. Quinoa contains high amounts of complex carbohydrates and boasts a higher protein content than any other grain. It is also a gluten-free grain so it is a good option for people who are gluton intolerant. Statistics show that although many people pursue a gluton-free lifestyle, very few of them are actually gluton intolerant. In fact, statistics compiled in 2004 by the National Institute of Health suggest just 1% of the population of the United states of America is affected by glucose intolerance. But, whether by choice or by necessity, for those attempting to live a life without gluton, Quinoa is not only an excellent energy provider, it is a super-nutritious food.
6. Sauerkraut is basically just cabbage that has been slightly “soured” by the process of fermentation. Although fermented cabbage may sound a little unusual, it’s quite a tasty dish—very nutritious too.
Like the cabbage it is made from sauerkraut is a good source of complex carbohydrates, but the fermentation process gives the cabbage a little something extra that it didn’t have before—probiotics.
Often referred to as good bacteria, probiotics are known to improve the digestive system and enable the body to extract more nutrients for its food. Energy wise this provides two benefits. Firstly, less carbohydrate is wasted, so the same amount of food can then provide increased amount of energy. Secondly, because the body is not working so hard to digest its food, less energy is wasted.