Skip the caffeine-filled options and select these healthy foods that will kick-start that energy rush. By Shweta Gandhi
This superfood is among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Member of the cabbage family, this green or purple leaf is high in vitamins A, K, C, B6, calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium—all wrapped up in 33 calories, six grams of carbs (out of which two are fibre) and three grams are protein. Also, it’s high in antioxidants and helps lower cholesterol, fight cancer and keeps your weight in check.
One of the known health benefits of this fish is its inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids—necessary for producing energy, increasing brain activity and blood circulation. But less commonly known benefits include its protein and amino acid content. Salmon also contains small bioactive protein molecules called bioactive peptides. These help in supporting joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness and controlling inflammation in the digestive tract.
#3 Greek yogurt
Yogurt is packed with probiotics—good microorganisms like bacteria and yeast—that live in your intestines and ensure healthy digestion, boost energy levels and strengthen your immune system. Greek yogurt also contains protein (makes cells grow, repairs tissues and builds muscle), vitamin B12, iodine (important for proper thyroid function) and calcium (aids in weight loss). The best part is its multipurpose use—eat as is, make a flavoured shake or add berries for some added antioxidants.
Lentils are a high fibre, high protein member of the legume family, found in red, brown and green varieties. They counter the risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease (through the presence of folic acid and potassium). Legumes also stabilise blood glucose levels, help fight fatigue (as they’re a great source of iron) and reduce appetite by making you feel fuller. One cup of cooked lentils contains 230 calories, 18 g of protein, 1 g of fat and 40 g of carbohydrates.
#5 Bran flakes
Full of energy producing B-vitamins, iron and magnesium, bran flakes are a healthy replacement for sugar-coated cereals. Since bran fibre requires a bit of chewing, it gives your body time to realise that you’re full. The wallop of insoluble fibre keeps you full for longer, reduces the chances of constipation, stabilises blood sugar levels and also fights fat.
A species of the goosefoot genus, quinoa is a highly nutritious grain rich in complex carbohydrates and protein. It is also high in healthy fats like mono unsaturated fat, small amounts of omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which reduce the risk of inflammation and obesity. Three-fourth cup of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories and is enriched with manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, fibre, folate and zinc.
#7 Dark chocolate
This one is quite commonly known to have a good amount of antioxidants, which help in improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, provided you pick a bar with more than 70 per cent cocoa. A 100 g bar with 70-85 per cent cocoa contains fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium, all under 600 calories. A great alternative to a cup of coffee.
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium and vitamin E, which can lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and hunger, and promote weight loss. A small handful or 28 g contains 2.5 g of digestible carbohydrates and only 161 calories.
#9 Whole grains
Whole grains constitute wheat, kamut, oats and brown rice, which contain complex carbohydrates, fibre, B-vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and antioxidants. These give you enough energy to carry to till your next meal. A diet rich in whole grains lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.