If you have ever felt sluggish, tired and burned out, the lack of balanced food could be a reason for this condition. For humans, food and molecular oxygen is the richest source of energy.
While oxygen is available through respiration, energy from food is available through a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, alcohol, water, vitamins and minerals. They mainly derive energy through consumption of fat, carbohydrates and proteins along with organic acid, polyols and ethanol usually present in the diet.
It is important to remember that one must consume fat, carbohydrates and proteins according to their need and lifestyle. For example, a daily wage labourer might need high quantity of carbohydrates as they are constantly on the move and need energy to keep them moving. An athlete might need high quantity of proteins to increase their energy.
But a person leading a sedentary lifestyle will not require high intake of fat, carbohydrates or proteins. All of this needs to be at optimum level. Thus, it is important to consume these components according to the lifestyle and age. Now let us look at some of the Dos and Don’ts that a person must follow to keep them energetic.
#1 – Eat the right combination of food
Indians eat a combination called Dal, rice and vegetable for lunch. Dal is a rich source of protein, while rice is rich in carbohydrates. Vegetables mostly provide vitamins in the body, thus balancing your diet. A person can follow different food combinations to ensure adequate intake of fat, carbohydrate, proteins and vitamins in the body.
# 2 – Eat wholesome breakfast
As there is a long gap after having dinner, your body needs food to revive itself the next day. So make sure that you eat a wholesome breakfast, as that will keep you energized until lunch. A wholesome breakfast does not imply the quantity of food; by wholesome we mean the breakfast should be a rich source of protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
# 3 – Consume fat
Contrary to popular belief, a small amount of fat is required to fight free radicals and keep your cells healthy. Sometimes it takes fat to absorb antioxidants from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood. So do not forget to add a small portion of butter, cheese and ghee to your meals.
#1 – Avoid Caffeine
Surprised? Yes, a cup of black coffee or tea might make you feel energetic. But in reality, caffeine is just a stimulant that gives your body the wrong signal of being energetic.
It provides temporary energy to your body. You will be surprised to notice that you are consuming more cups of tea and coffee without your own knowledge to keep yourself awake. When you reduce the quantity, you feel lethargic and drowsy. So try to avoid caffeine, as it does not provide real energy to your body.
# 2 – Avoid processed food
Processed food or packed juices are stripped of nutrients due to artificial agents and preservatives. Hence, it is advisable to avoid processed food and eat raw vegetables and fruits that are still full of natural nutrients. This will provide energy to your cells and keep you healthy.
# 3 – Avoid large quantity meals
According to research studies, people who eat large quantity meals feel sluggish because the blood flow is more towards the stomach to assimilate food, than to the brain. Another reason is the spike in blood sugar in the body, which causes your body to feel sluggish.
Hence, it is advisable to eat small portions of food at regular intervals. This will give your brain a steady flow of nutrients at regular intervals. Therefore, a cup of fruits or nuts at regular intervals will make you feel energetic throughout the day.
Now that you are aware of the fact that a balanced diet is needed to keep you energized throughout the day, let us look at the type of food to be included in your diet to keep you energized.Before, we get into the details; here is a quick overview on what your diet must ideally comprise:
Our body receives energy from macronutrients, and we get them from food rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Macronutrients are chemical compounds that humans consume in large quantities to get energy. So remember to include food rich in protein, carbohydrates and fat in your daily diet.
To help you understand the kind of food that you can consume regularly, we are enlisting the levels of macronutrient-bearing food. Level 1 to Level 2 represents food that is rich in macronutrients and can be consumed more than 5 days a week for energy.
Level 3 to Level 5 may not really be good sources of macronutrients, but are essential in terms of getting micronutrients. Foods that belong from Level 6 to Level 7 should be avoided if possible as they usually have a high content of natural toxins.
While animal sources are considered to be rich in macronutrients, there are also plant sources and fats and oils which are good source of proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Let us look at each of these sources and their respective levels in the below table.
|Level||Animal Source||Plant Source||Fat Source||Oil Source|
|1||Fish, Shellfish, beef, lamb and goat||Safe starches i.e. food that contain no fructose: potatoes, white rice, taro, tapioca, sago, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash||beef tallow, mutton, fat, butter||High-medium-chain, low-omega-6 oils: coconut milk or oil, palm kernel oil, low-omega-6 plant oils such as macadamia nut oil|
|2||Wild birds or game animals||Low omega-6 nuts: macadamia, coconut||–||–|
|3||Organic eggs; farm-raised duck or goose||Moderate-omega-6 nuts; avocados||–||–|
|4||Pork muscle meats and bellies or bacon; full-fat dairy products; organic heritage chickens||Buckwheat; yucca/manioc/cassava||Moderate-omega-6 tree nut butters: almond butter, cashew butter, pistachio butter, and Moderate-omega-6 animal fats: duck fat, lard from naturally raised pigs||Moderate-omega-6 plant oils: olive oil, avocado oil, palm oil|
|5||Industrially raised chickens and their eggs||High-omega-6 nuts and seeds||Higher-omega-6 animal fats: pork lard, chicken schmaltz||Higher-omega-6 tree nut oils: walnut oil|
|6||Pork liver, blood, intestines, or processed pork meats such as sausage or hot dogs||Beans; rye, oats; quinoa||–||–|
|7||–||Wheat, corn, and other grains; peanuts||High-omega-6 seed oils: soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil, corn oil, peanut butter|
Now that we are aware of the type of food to be consumed and avoided, let us look at few healthy ways of consuming them.
If you are expecting a guest and you are in no mood to cook an exhaustive lunch or dinner, this simple recipe can save your day. It is also a rich source of protein, and Zucchini adds the cool element to this sultry weather. Try it out today!
Portion: Serves 4
Cooking Time: 70 minutes (35 minutes to prepare + 35 minutes to cook)
Coconut and Tapioca are known to be rich source of macronutrients. And nothing can make it better than when it’s topped with mango – the king of the season.
Portion: Serves 4
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (1 hour preparation + 20 minutes cooking / chilling)
It is summer and we know that you are in no mood to make a breakfast, so here’s a quick recipe that you can try to make your breakfast interesting and healthy.
Portion: Serves 4
Cooking Time: 15 minutes (5 minutes preparation time + 10 minutes cooking time)
We hope you find these recipes useful. Please try them at home and remember to eat healthy and stay energetic!