Top 10: High-Energy Foods
Top 10: High-Energy Foods
Top 10: High-Energy Foods
Of all natural food sources, coffee has the largest caffeine content. Caffeine has been shown to improve performance and decrease your perception of effort, allowing you to work harder longer. Coffee also contains large amounts of antioxidants, and may supply up to 70% of the total daily antioxidant intake of the average American. If you use coffee to give you a quick energy boost, be conscious of the time of day. Drinking coffee within eight hours of when you go to bed can cause some men to have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart racing, you may have to find a less intense alternative, such as tea.
When proper nutrition and hydration fails you (or when you fail it), sometimes a quick caffeine boost can help get you through a training session. Different teas such as white, green, oolong, and black can give you a small amount of caffeine, but they also contain the calming amino acid theanine, which has been shown to prevent the anxiety that large caffeine consumption can cause. This will ultimately help you create better attention and focus. The amount of caffeine per serving depends on the type of tea: white gives about 20 milligrams; green gives about 30 milligrams; oolong gives about 40 milligrams; and black gives about 50 milligrams.
Water is the most overlooked “performance enhancing” supplement out there. As many as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration can limit your physical and mental capacity. Because water is paramount in cooling your body during times of increased heat/stress, as you attempt to ramp up your exercise intensity dehydration will cause limitations in thermal regulation, circulation and, ultimately, force production.
The common recommendation is that the average, inactive person (not you) should consume at least six to eight ounces of water per day. In reality, you should probably be taking in about double that (on top of the water you take in from other foods). Start carrying a 16- to 20-ounce water bottle around with you during the day. Aim to refill it every three to four hours. You’ll be amazed at how much energy you get just from staying adequately hydrated. If you notice you’re making more frequent trips to the bathroom, don’t worry; as your body adapts to getting a constant supply of fluid, you’re lavatory frequency will return to more socially acceptable rates.
Fruits (especially apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, and kiwi) are high in potassium (an electrolyte that maintains normal nerve and muscle function), fructose for liver glycogen, ready-to-use sugars, fiber, and tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you’re looking for a healthy, natural energy boost, consuming fruits throughout the day and within about an hour before you train will give you just that. You can also blend a banana, frozen berries, some nuts/seeds (from above), and Greek yogurt together for a great post-workout drink.
Quinoa, although technically a seed, is a super-grain that everyone should have as part of their diet. It is a complete protein, which is very rare for a plant food. It is also a high-quality complex carbohydrate high in fiber and iron, as well as calcium (necessary for proper muscle contraction), potassium and magnesium (necessary for proper hydration).
No.5 Old-fashioned oats
Old-fashioned oats are a quality source of complex carbohydrates, high in fiber, low on the glycemic index, and are also high in energy-boosting B-vitamins. This is not your instant oatmeal; old-fashioned oats are a more natural, unprocessed form of oat. Because they aren’t broken down to the extent that instant oats are, it takes longer for these oats to be processed within your body, providing a slower release of energy.
Seeds from sources like flax, chia and hemp provide a great supply of fiber, healthy fats (including omega-3s), vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Chia is an especially great choice, since it has a large amount of soluble fiber, which creates a viscous gel in your gastrointestinal tract. This keeps you full/satisfied for a long time and provides an energy time-release effect, stabilizing your blood sugar and keeping your energy levels even during intense training.
No.3 Tree nuts
Tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews are loaded with healthy fats (monounsaturates like in olive oil, as well as some omega 3s), fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can also consume these as nut butters, which are delicious and offer lots of variety as they can be spread over other fruits/vegetables or included in a smoothie for a perfect energy-boosting snack.
No.2 Omega-3 eggs
Omega-3 eggs are full of healthy fats, energy-boosting B-vitamins and some vitamin D. They also provide a rich supply of brain-boosting choline, the precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and are considered the ”perfect” protein because of their amino acid profile and high biological value. They are one of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods.
No.1 Cold-water fatty fish
Cold-water fatty fish include wild salmon, mackerel and herring. These fish are an excellent source of omega-3s, which provide a number of health benefits including decreased risk of heart disease and various cancers, decreased inflammation, and decreased body fat. They’re also rich in complete protein, energy-boosting B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and are one of the few food sources of vitamin D.