Juggling the responsibilities of work and family can cause too little sleep, too much stress, and too little time. Yet even when you're at your busiest, you should never cut corners when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. Your body needs food to function at its best and to fight the daily stress and fatigue of life.
Energy and Diet: How The Body Turns Food Into Fuel
Energy comes from the foods we eat and the liquids we drink. The three main nutrients used for energy are carbohydrates, proteins and fats, with carbohydrates being the most important source.
Your body can also use protein and fats for energy when carbs have been depleted. When you eat, your body breaks down nutrients into smaller components and absorbs them to use as fuel. This process is known as metabolism.
Carbohydrates are of two types - simple and complex, and both are converted to sugar (glucose). The body breaks the sugar down in the blood and the blood cells use the glucose to provide energy.
Energy and Diet: Best Foods for Sustained Energy
Complex carbohydrates such as high-fiber cereals like wheat bran flakes,muesli,oats, whole-grain breads and pastas, legumes like rajma,channa,soyabean, and starchy vegetables like sweet potato,yam,tapioca are the best type of foods for prolonged energy because they are digested at a slow, consistent rate. Complex carbohydrates contain fiber, which take a longer time to digest in the body as it is absorbed slowly. Complex carbs also stabilize your body's sugar level, which in turn causes the pancreas to produce less insulin. This gives you a feeling of satiety and you are less hungry.
In a healthy, energy-producing diet, protein (preferably chicken, eggs, and fish), legumes (lentils and beans), and a moderate amount of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (Til seeds,flax seeds, almonds,walnuts,pistachios and certain oils like olive oil,ricebran oil) are also very important.
Adequate fluids are also essential for sustaining energy. Water is necessary for digestion, absorption, and the transport of nutrients for energy. Dehydration can cause a lack of energy. The average person needs to drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
Energy and Diet: Foods to Avoid
Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, should be limited. Ranging from candy and cookies to sugary beverages and juices, simple carbs are broken down and absorbed quickly by the body. They provide an initial burst of energy for 30 to 60 minutes, but are digested so quickly they can result in a slump afterward.
You should also avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol is a depressant and can reduce your energy levels, while caffeine usually provides an initial two-hour energy burst, followed by a crash.
Energy and Diet: Scheduling Meals for Sustained Energy
It is best recommended to have three meals and three snacks a day and to never go over three to four hours without eating something.
Also, try to include something from each food group for every meal, remembering that foods high in fiber, protein, and fat take a longer time to digest.
It's very important to make wise food choices that provide energy throughout the day. Our dietitians will help you make healthy food choices. Consult Best Dietitians and Nutritionists online for customized diet plans at Doctor Insta.