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Top 5: How to eat yourself to energy


Eat lots of good-quality protein

Protein is required for the production of energy and keeps you going for longer than carbohydrate foods. It is beneficial to eat protein before exercise and it doesn’t cause the blood sugar highs and lows that you can get from refined carbohydrates found in sweet foods and white flour products. That’s why it’s far better to have a boiled egg as a mid-morning snack than a Danish pastry.

 Eat plenty of fish

Fish is a low-fat, concentrated source of protein, full of omega-3 oils which are essential for energy production and also help to balance blood sugar levels. All types of fish are hugely nutritious.

 Choose the right carbs

Choose carbohydrates that are low in the Glycaemic Index, a list that rates foods according to their effect on blood sugar levels. High-GI carbohydrates (such as sugar and sweet-tasting foods, white bread, potatoes) will make blood sugar levels rise rapidly then fall again, causing energy dips. Low-GI carbohydrates (wholegrains, vegetables and pulses) give steadier energy levels.

Choose wholemeal bread, rice, pasta and cereals, as well as a variety of pulses (which also happen to be rich in protein). These are all good sources of B vitamins, which help to support the nervous system in times of stress, as well as fibre to keep the digestive system functioning smoothly and your blood sugar levels stable.

 Support your liver

It’s important to support the liver so it can perform its multiple roles of removing toxins from the blood, balancing hormone levels and assisting the digestion of food. Choose plenty of leafy green vegetables, berries, onions and probiotic live yogurt. Tobacco, caffeine and alcohol challenge the liver and deplete energy, so when you are struggling with fatigue it’s best to avoid them altogether.

 Get enough iron

Iron (found in oysters, beef, turkey, dried fruit and leafy green vegetables) should be eaten in combination with vitamin C to improve uptake by the body. It boosts the levels of haemoglobin cells in the blood, which carry the oxygen to muscles and organs, allowing them to convert nutrients into energy.

Extract taken from Eat Yourself to Energy by Gill Paul. Available here