Energy Foods—Are You Eating Them?

There are many links between what we eat and how we feel. It is scientifically proven that changing your diet can alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood.

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Foods can boost energy in three ways: by providing sufficient calories, by delivering stimulants like caffeine, and by pushing the metabolism to burn fuel more efficiently. As for mood, the best foods are those that stabilize blood sugar and trigger feel-good brain chemicals, such as serotonin. Keep clicking to learn which foods and drinks can do the job.

Smart Carbs

Carbs may be the foe of fad diets, but they’re vital for boosting energy and mood. They are the body’s preferred source of fuel, plus they raise serotonin levels. The key is to avoid sweets, which cause blood sugar to spike and plummet, leading to fatigue and moodiness. Instead, turn to whole grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and cereal. The body absorbs whole grains more slowly, keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable.

Cashews, Almonds, and Hazelnuts

These nuts are not only rich in protein, but they also contain magnesium, a mineral that plays a vital role in converting sugar into energy. Research suggests magnesium deficiency can drain your energy. Magnesium is also found in whole grains, particularly bran cereals, and in some types of fish, including halibut.

Salmon

Fatty fish, such as salmon, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest this substance may protect against depression. While the extent of the link is uncertain, omega-3 fatty acids offer a wide range of other benefits, including heart health. Besides fish, sources of omega-3 include nuts and leafy, dark green vegetables.

Leafy Greens

Another nutrient that may reduce the risk of depression is folate. Like omega-3 fatty acids, folate is found in leafy green vegetables, including spinach and romaine lettuce. Legumes, nuts, and citrus fruits are also good sources of folate.

Fresh Produce

Another way to stay hydrated and energized is to eat fluid-filled foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Skip dry packaged snacks like pretzels in favor of apple wedges or celery. Other hydrating foods include oatmeal and pasta, which swell up with water when cooked.