By: Jennifer Cho Salaff
Being exhausted may be one of the worst feelings. But the great news is you can do something about it with what you eat. 1374080635-shutterstock_107919119The right foods can boost energy by supplying calories, pushing your body to burn those calories and triggering feel-good brain chemicals. For an afternoon pick-me-up, consider the following foods.

Cashews, almonds, hazelnuts: These nuts are rich in protein, fiber and good-for-you-fat to fill you up and sustain energy. They also contain magnesium, a mineral playing a key role in converting sugar into energy.

Smart carbs: They get a bad rap, but research shows carbohydrates are vital to boosting energy and mood. The key is to avoid sweets, which cause blood sugar levels to spike and then plummet (making you feel tired and cranky). Pick complex carbs like whole grains (whole wheat bread and brown rice, for example) since your body absorbs them more slowly, keeping your blood sugar and energy levels stable.

Green tea: Loaded with antioxidants and catechins, green tea has been used as a “natural” medicine for thousands of years. Originating in China, this beverage can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes and is believed to help enhance your mood. Drink up!

Lean meats: Lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey and chicken are excellent sources of protein that include the amino acid tyrosine, which can help you feel more alert and focused.

Salmon: This succulent fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which may protect against depression and be good for the heart. Research has also shown that salmon can improve overall brain health.

Supplements: Vitamin supplements may help to increase energy levels and are a great way to boost an already balanced, nutritious diet. Supplements including omega-3s, vitamin D, CoQ10, vitamin C and B-vitamins can aid in fighting fatigue.

Dark, leafy greens: There’s a reason why your mother always told you to eat your greens! Experts say they are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to improve your health. That’s because they’re chock full of fiber, vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from heart disease, diabetes and, in some cases, cancer. Pick from kale, spinach, collards and Swiss chard – all of which are also good sources of omega 3s.

Avocado: The good-for-you-fat, also known as oleic acid, in avocados can help lower cholesterol and keep insulin levels steady, helping you concentrate better.

Dark berries: Not only are they delicious, dark berries (like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) are also loaded with cell-protective antioxidants and fiber, which can control your blood sugar levels to avoid a dip in energy.



Fried Foods
Yes, everything in moderation. But keep in mind that it’s harder for your body to process foods like French fries or beer-battered fish and chips. That’s because your internal organs pull blood away from your extremities to digest these fatty foods, resulting in lower energy levels overall.

A glass of red wine can actually slow down your body’s central nervous system, causing you to feel drained and depleted.

Energy Drinks
They may help in the short term with a boost of sugar and caffeine, but energy drinks will ultimately leave you in the dust. Your blood sugar levels will drop lower than before, making you feel pooped. If you need to wet your whistle, opt instead for water.

Eating too much pasta can zap your energy levels and leave you feeling sluggish. That’s because this starchy food can cause a sudden drop in your blood sugar levels.

Fatty Red Meat
It takes your body a lot longer to digest red meat than almost any other food, which means that prime rib dinner may leave you feeling less than spry. MS&F

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