No matter how healthy we eat, our energy levels may dip throughout the day; that is only natural. When your energy levels are low it is essential to select the correct foods to refuel until your next meal. Foods like energy bars and caffeine dense drinks are never ideal, although in theory they may seem harmless. Energy bars are often little more than a source of calories sometimes containing as much as 300 calories and 10g of fat per bar.
Energy drinks are full of caffeine which can cause unwanted side effects such as irritability, anxiety, fatigue (especially due to withdrawal symptoms). In many cases, snacking on fruits and vegetables between meals can give you the extra energy boost you need until your next meal.
Eating a high fibre food in the morning like porridge, Weetabix® and All Bran® will offer higher levels of alertness and energy to support you until lunch time. High-fibre foods provide more than just volume to a meal or snack; they take longer to digest which keeps you fuller for longer and more energised throughout the day.
The best fibre containing foods include vegetables, fruits and whole grains; they are idea to snack on when energy levels are dipping. Popcorn is a whole grain food that is low in calories. Try to eat 25g of fibre daily to achieve your RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).
An average sized banana contains about 105 calories so compared with many foods, they are relatively low in calories. Bananas contain Vitamins B6 and C and are a great source of manganese (vital for healthy bone structure, bone metabolism, and as well as creating essential enzymes for building bones) and potassium (essential for fluid balance, nerve impulse, muscle and heart function). Bananas contain healthy carbohydrates, which break down into blood sugar for fuel. Bananas are low in fibre and are easily digested by the body this means their sugar enters your blood stream quicker giving you a rapid energy boost. As bananas break down quickly by themselves, the energy benefits obtained from them can be short lived. I recommend eating bananas with a protein food (yoghurt, nuts, and seeds) or healthy fat to extend your energy levels. Eating a banana with peanut butter (good fat) will extend your energy boost.
Spinach is a rich source of iron and can give you a boost of energy for the day if eaten in the right quantities. If you are deficient in Iron then you may become susceptible to anaemia. Anaemia occurs if the body tissues are not receiving the oxygen levels they require to function properly and iron acts as an oxygen carrier.
Constant fatigue can result of lack of iron. 30g of spinach can contain as much as 3.2g iron; this is almost 20% of your RDA of iron. Include spinach and other iron-rich foods such as poultry, bean, lentils and pumpkin seeds in your diet to enhance energy levels. If you require an iron or haemoglobin check call into Whelehans and we have a quick finger prick test that only takes 2 minutes and only costs €5; no appointment is needed.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital in aiding the absorption of iron; in return it contributes to increased energy levels. One of the first major signs of a vitamin C deficiency is fatigue. Including vitamin C – rich fruits and iron rich foods in your diet will enhance your energy levels.
Other sources of vitamin C include kiwi, strawberries and bell peppers and are ideal snack foods to boost energy in-between main meals.
Upcoming Rheumatoid Arthritis Talk
Whelehans Pharmacy in conjunction with Arthritis Ireland (Westmeath Branch) is hosting a Rheumatoid Arthritis Information evening on Tuesday April 28th at 7pm in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar. Admission is free. There will be a number of guest speakers on the night.
Call the Whelehans Pharmacy at 04493 34591 for more information or to book a place. I will be one of the speakers on the night and I will discuss foods that reduce inflammation and foods that increase energy (as low energy levels is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Whelehans Nutrition Service
Whelehans nutritional service is a private one to one advice service with our nutritionist Aisling Murray. Aisling’s areas of interest include weight loss management, nutrition education and food intolerance. Our nutrition service offers you the chance to change your life in a positive way by focusing on your overall wellbeing as well as the chance to follow up on your progress.
Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment