Top 10 Energy Foods That You Should Eat

Modified version of original article written by Diana Steele?
Friday, 29 August 2008

Our bodies deserves the best nutrition we can give them. These foods will help you achieve that.

What is energy food?
It is food that not only provides the calories to fuel your body but also contains the nutrients to energize your body and help you reach peak potential.

Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent and treat mood disorders and depression.

1. Fish—Arctic Char
Health benefits: contains omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats that are beneficial for the heart and brain. They can help prevent and treat mood disorders and depression, reduce arthritic pain, and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Enjoy this fish as well as other fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring three times per week. Enjoy grilled and topped with a fruit salsa or chutney, in a burger or wrap, or simply with lemon.

2. Blackberries
Health benefits: contains the antioxidants vitamin C and anthocyanidins as well as fibre. These antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which makes cholesterol sticky and forms fatty streaks in blood vessels), prevent free radical damage to cells caused by extreme exercise, pollution, sun exposure, and aging. Enjoy topped on whole-grain cereal or in your favourite salads, muffins, or yogurt.

3. Green Vegetables—Gai Lan
Health benefits: gai lan is Chinese broccoli and is loaded with vitamins C, A, K, folate, and fibre. It also contains the powerful anti-cancer phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles. Sulforaphane compounds have also been found to boost liver and skin cell’s detoxifying abilities. Enjoy in stir-fries, salads, quiches, soups, or as a side dish.

4. Orange Vegetables—Pumpkin
Health benefits: pumpkin contains some vitamin A (beta carotene), C, iron, and phosphorus and is an excellent source of potassium. As with the vitamin A in carrots, the vitamin A in pumpkin is good for vision. Vitamin A also plays a roll in the maintenance of healthy skin, teeth, skeletal tissue, and mucous membranes. Enjoy mashed pumpkin as a side dish, pumpkin soup, roasted with other root vegetables, in a curry, or blended into muffins. Consider adding squash as a food for recovery after exercise, as it is a great source of carbohydrates to help replenish glycogen stores but also provides potassium for replacing electrolytes.

Quinoa is rich in nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, and fibre.

5. Whole Grains—Quinoa
Health benefits: quinoa is one of the highest protein grains. It is rich in nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, and fibre. Enjoy as a side dish cooked with currants, cold as a salad, or in a casserole.

6. Starchy Vegetables—Yams
Health benefits: yams are high in potassium, vitamin C, fibre, and vitamin B6. This tuber is low on the glycemic index scale, meaning it is turned into sugar in the body slower, which assists in more sustainable energy production and weight control. Enjoy mashed or baked, adding cumin and garlic for flavour.

7. Legumes—Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Health benefits: chickpeas are a good source of protein, iron, and folate. They are also a good source of soluble fibre known to help reduce bad cholesterol. As a vegetarian source of protein, they are an excellent alternative to meat.

8. Probiotics
Health benefits: probiotics contain live bacteria that, when consumed, will survive the transit through the gut to the large intestine where they provide a benefit to the host. Different bacteria provide different benefits. Most help to restore the gut’s natural bacterial flora by crowding out pathogenic bacteria. Some will also help improve the mucosal lining of the GI tract and improve our immune system. Others may help prevent and treat diarrhea. Enjoy probiotic cheese, yogurt, milk, and drinks as part of your daily regime.

9. Nuts—Almonds
Health benefits: this “nut” is technically the seed of a fruit. It is high in vitamin E, magnesium, and flavanoids (powerful antioxidants). Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats known to be heart healthy. They also contain calcium, which is essential for good bone health, metabolism, muscle contraction, and blood pressure. Enjoy a handful with a piece of fruit or as a spread on your toast.

10. Psyllium
Health benefits: psyllium contains soluble fibre known to lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, not to mention prevent and treat constipation. It can also help manage diabetes by slowing the rise of blood sugar levels. Enjoy breads with added psyllium, All-Bran Buds, or Guardian cereals and psyllium husk powders added to pasta sauce or casseroles.

About the Author
Diana Steele of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the owner of Eating for Energy, providing nutrition counselling and seminars to businesses, schools, and sports teams.

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