Energy-Boosting Foods

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Energy-Boosting-Foods_avaFoods containing carbohydrates are the main providers of energy in the diet. There are two types of carbohydrates: sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates), each of which can be found in two forms; natural or refined.

 

 

  • Natural sugars are found in fruits and fruit juices.
  • Refined sugars, including white and brown sugar and honey, are found in cakes, biscuits, felly and soft drinks.
  • Natural starches are found in wholegrain and wholemeal breakfast cereals, wholemeal flour and bread, brown rice, potatoes, porridge oats, lentils, bananas and root vegetables.
  • Refined starches are found in white flour and white bread, sugary processed breakfast cereals, white rice, white pasta, biscuits and cakes.

All carbohydrates taken in by the body have to be digested and converted into glucose - a type of sugar. Of these, the natural carbohydrates provide the best source of energy as they keep blood sugar levels constant because they release their sugar content into the bloodstream slowly, thus giving long-lasting energy. They also retain their vitamins, minerals and fibre, so try to include some wholegrain versions like brown rice and wholemeal bread in the diet.

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Starchy foods like potato, rice, pasta or bread provide energy at a slower rate than sugary foods. Refined sugars are quickly absorbed by the body, so energy levels rise dramatically for a short while. However, the problem is that the pancreas then produces lots of insulin in a bid to break down the sugar, which can lead to a rapid decline in energy. Fruit sugars provide quick energy but do not cause such a rapid rise and fall in energy because the fibre slows the absorption of the sugars.

The consumption of high-sugar foods and drinks like biscuits, cakes and soft drinks causes a rapid rise in blood sugar that can result in the body over compensating, which leads to a dip in blood sugar levels, resulting in low levels of physical and mental energy. Instead, for sustained energy it is much better to choose fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, rice cakes or nutritious sandwiches made with wholemeal bread. With these foods in your diet, your energy levels will remain far more consistent and your concentration on a more even keel.

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