Eating For Energy
During the warmer months of summer it’s easy to feel tired and depleted, especially on humid days. To keep yourself feeling energetic in warm temperatures it’s important to stay active, get good quality sleep and pay special attention to food and beverage choices. What we put into our bodies has a lot to do with our overall energy level. Here are some tips for eating for energy.
Stay Well Hydrated
Staying well hydrated is one key component to boosting overall energy. According to the CDC, dehydration can not only lead to fatigue, but can also cause foggy thinking, mood swings, heat exhaustion and other health issues such as kidney stones and constipation. Suprisingly, studies show that 75% of people are chronically dehydrated. Aim for at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day or two liters, and plan to increase that amount on days that you exercise or spend time outdoors.
Avoid Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates like donuts, pastries and sugary cereals may be delicious, but they can quickly rob you of energy. Some common simple carbs are table sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, sucrose and fructose. These simple sugars are prevalent in many packaged foods such as crackers, cookies, bread and pasta. Although carbs help create energy for the body, consuming too many simple carbohydrates can result in weight gain and a reduction in energy and also increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and other health conditions.
Eat at The Right Times
Researchers are learning that when we eat is almost as important as what we eat. Experts recommend eating every two to three hours to help maintain a healthy metabolism and body weight. Eating smaller but frequent meals can help maintain blood sugar levels, which is important for preventing several health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar swings can result in low energy, feelings of queasiness and voracious hunger which can lead to overeating and have uncomfortable side effects. Try to avoid skipping breakfast, since extra fuel is needed to start the day. Also avoid eating within two hours of bedtime, as this can lead to poor sleep and weight gain.
Select The Right Foods
Often more energy can be gained just by modifying food and beverage choices. Here are some tips:
- Opt for brown rice and whole wheat pasta in place of white rice and traditional pasta.
- Increase your protein intake. Protein will make you feel fuller compared to carbs. Also, protein can help maintain energy levels as it does not immediately go into the bloodstream like sugary foods.
- Select lean sources of protein, such as chicken or eggs, instead of reaching for carb-filled options.
- Eat more nuts, legumes, chickpeas or edamame, all of which are high in protein and fiber.
- Avoid excess caffeine - too much can cause nighttime wakefulness which can lead to daytime sleepiness.
- Avoid excess alcohol consumption as this can result in dehydration and other health issues.
- Beware of energy drinks that contain excess caffeine.
- Steer clear of high fat and fried foods. These can slow down digestion and bring on feelings of sluggishness.
- Don’t over-restrict your calorie intake. While it’s good to cut down on unhealthy eating, reducing your caloric intake by too much will leave you feeling weak and tired.
Enjoying healthy and delicious, balanced meals is an important part of maintaining overall wellness for a full and satisfying life. At Echo Lake we offer a sophisticated selection of meals built around fresh, seasonal ingredients. Contact us to learn more about the Echo Lake active adult community located in picturesque Atwater, Pennsylvania.