Quite a few of us know what it feels like to have a midday energy crash. Of course, we would all like to keep our energy high all day long so we can check off all the tasks we set for ourselves when we wake up in the morning.
Since we haven’t yet found a miracle cure, we’ll have to use some common sense to stay balanced in various areas of our lives. In terms of food, there are a few things that can help us maintain our energy level all day long. If you’re ready for more energy, here are five things to help give you a boost:
1. Breakfast: the (In)Famous “Most Important Meal of the Day”
Yes, it’s true. Breakfast is still one of the best ways to build up your energy after several hours of fasting and it has a big nutritional impact all throughout the day. According to numerous studies, taking time to eat in the morning enables our bodies to better manage energy levels for the rest of the day, and also helps keep us filling full.1
A good breakfast includes complex carbohydrates like whole-grain toast, whole grain cereals (like oat bran, wheat, barley, quinoa and buckwheat) and/or legumes. Why complex carbohydrates? The complex carbohydrates mentioned above have a lower glycemic index2, meaning they provide the energy our bodies need (especially our brain), but more slowly over time, rather than being released and burned quickly. In addition, the ideal breakfast also includes a source of protein. Proteins help you stay full and maintain the energy provided by carbohydrates for several hours.3
Here’s an example of an energy boosting breakfast to help you manage your energy levels:
- 1 bowl of oatmeal (click here for a delicious recipe!)
- 1 handful of nuts
- 1 fruit
2. Healthy Snacks: Foods that Give you Energy Throughout the Day
Of course, we need to pay attention to signals from our bodies that we’re full, but we also shouldn’t go more than three hours without eating. Adding some small nutritious energy giving snacks between meals can help us keep our blood sugar levels stable to avoid energy drops. What should a healthy snack include? It’s the same principle as breakfast: a healthy snack should have sources of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates give us energy and proteins sustain us by keeping our stomachs full longer and helping slow down absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
Here’s one idea for a healthy snack: Hummus with whole-grain pita
3. Best Bet: a Varied Diet with Many Vitamins and Minerals
By choosing a healthy, balanced diet, you’ll be eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. All vitamins and minerals are important for overall health, but three in particular are crucial for energy metabolism: iron, magnesium and vitamin B1 (thiamine).
Iron is a trace element in the red blood cells found in hemoglobin that participates in transporting oxygen to the body’s cells. It’s also in myoglobin, which helps muscles bind oxygen. Iron also plays an important role in metabolizing energy for the body.4 It’s important to eat a varied, balanced diet to have the right level of iron in the body. Our diet can include iron from animal sources (beef, poultry and seafood) and from plant sources (green vegetables, cereals and legumes). In addition, adding a source of vitamin C to each meal improves the body’s ability to absorb iron. Some options include peppers, kiwis, strawberries or citrus.
Signs of fatigue and weakness can indicate a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is important for many metabolic functions, including neurotransmission. It also helps muscles relax after contracting and is essential for maintaining regular cardiac rhythm and regulating blood sugar levels. Magnesium is mainly found in whole grain cereals, vegetables, nuts and legumes.5
Vitamin B1 is directly involved in energy metabolism. It’s essential for transforming carbohydrates into energy in the body. Vitamin B1 is found in many animal- and plant-based foods, particularly grains, nuts and certain meats.
4. Hydration: Critical for Optimal Energy Levels
Staying hydrated all day long is very important to avoid feeling tired. Hydration eases digestion and helps transport nutrients to the cells. This helps our bodies get the essential nutrients for energy metabolism all throughout the day in an optimal manner. Of course, drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, but all liquids count as sources of hydration. Women need around 2.7L of liquids per day on average, while men need around 3.7L on average.6
5. Gut Microbiota: A Unique Role to Play
More and more studies are showing that gut microbiota have a significant impact on many factors related to overall human health. The gut microbiota’s most important role is to digest materials that would otherwise be indigestible to humans, like dietary fiber. The digestion completed by microorganisms in our digestive system provides 10% of a human being’s energy needs!7. Keep our gut microbiota balanced promotes absorption of nutrients like vitamins and minerals and synthesis of important vitamins like the B vitamins.
So, it’s important to take care of our gut flora to optimize our daily energy. There’s nothing better than a clinically-proven probiotic like Bio-K+ to improve your gut microbiota. Drinkable Bio-K+ products can be an important part of a healthy diet. They’re easy to include in your breakfasts and snacks!
Do you have any other questions concerning the health of your gut microbiota? Ask them in the comments below! If you’re now looking to stock up on Bio-K+ products, head to our store locator. For more information about Bio-K+, probiotics and digestive health, get in touch, follow us on Facebook and Instagram or join our community.
- Layman et al. 2015. Defining meal requirements for proteins to optimize metabolic roles of amino acids. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 101. 1330S-1338S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25926513
- Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc, 2000.