I hope you found my last post on 13 ways to snap out of the end of year slump valuable. Since we are what we eat, I’ve jotted down some food items that can help keep your energy up and focus sharp.
- Sorghum (also know as Mabele): Sorghum is gluten-free, low-GI (which means it’s good for diabetics and keeps us fuller for longer) and has high levels of anti-oxidants, protein, fibre, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron. Whether cooked, popped, or baked, this will keep your energy levels all the way up.
Personally, I grew up on sorghum products, Morvite and Mabele porridge, and still consume these today. They are readily available at supermarkets countrywide.
2. An apple a day does really keep the doctor away! The same applies for avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas.
3. Reduce intake of (refined) sugars. It’s no secret that consuming too much sugar during the day can lead to an energy crash. Eating lots of sugar reduces the activity of what are called orexin cells: as a result, you find yourself wanting to take an afternoon nap. Honey, xylitol, coco palm and maple syrup are all much better replacements. At the same time, it’s always best to reduce sugar intake completely: reduce two teaspoons to one, replace chocolate with a health energy bar or very dark chocolate; substitute sweets with nuts and berries.
4. Coconut oil promotes ketosis, a state in which the body burns fat for energy. Use it for cooking and baking; and add small amounts to your drinks (coffee, tea, smoothies).
5. Beetroot. This ‘Seven Colours’ favourite is amazing for you! Don’t wait until Sunday lunch or Christmas lunch to indulge.
6. Green veggies. To make it easier to include more vegetables into your diet, add a blender to your Christmas wish list. Then you can throw in all the greens (kale, ginger, Swiss chard, etc.) you can find, add nuts, bananas and berries. You will be getting a super amount of fibre each day without even noticing.
7. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and tackle inflammation and fatigue.
8. Popcorn is high in carbs and fibre, which makes it very satisfying and a good option for an energy-boosting snack.
9. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a very strong antioxidant. It boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is linked to improved brain function. Add turmeric to your orange juice or smoothie; your salad dressing; to your hummus spread. Use turmeric to spice up your meals including your pizza!
10. Prunes are a great source of potassium, iron, vitamins A, K and B, and boron which builds bones and muscles.
11. Sardines have loads of omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent heart disease. If they are too fishy for you, try salmon, tuna, or mackerel.
12. Water is life! When you’re out, choose sparkling or mineral water over a sugary drink. If you do choose to have a nice summertime drink, dilute drinks with water and ice.
Also eat more water-rich foods like cucumber (96% water), zucchini (95% water), watermelon (92% water), and grapefruit (91% water). Another hack is to drink a glass of water each time you’re waiting for the office coffee machine to brew/fill up your cup.
13. Black beans and black-eyed peas are among the most famous kinds of beans. These beans are good sources of folic acid, iron, manganese and magnesium.
14. Coffee is a very popular stimulant, and is best consumed in moderation. However, too much caffeine in your diet can be like pouring fuel to an already roaring fire when it comes to stress.
15. Substitute coffee with green tea, ginseng tea, peppermint tea, ginger tea, and licorice root tea. Believe it or not, adding 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your (hot or cold) water is another way to energize.
16. Read my post on superfoods which help build immune system, treat pain and other symptoms of illness.
17. Follow the food therapy blog. The blogger profiles super easy to prepare, healthy gluten-free and yummy recipes you can try out over the weekend/holidays.
This list is not exhaustive, but includes food items that are easily accessible and simple to incorporate into a super busy lifestyle. So next time you’re at a restaurant or end of year function, look out for these foods on the menu.
Food is fuel. Let’s eat well to stay well. Cheers to ending the year full of energy 🙂