By Arianne Brown, contributing blogger.
Between long days at work or at home with the kids, and often restless nights as a result, energy can be that thing that you can never fully attain.
And while the need for more energy is universal between both men and women, research has found that women seem to suffer more. In fact, a 2013 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 15.3 percent of women compared to 10.1 percent of men were more likely to often feel very tired or exhausted. And when the age gap was narrowed to adults ages 18–44 years, women were nearly twice as likely as men to feel very tired or exhausted.
Many companies have seen this low energy trend, and have created energy boosting drinks, bars and seemingly magical pills to remedy the problem, only to have exacerbated the issue, leading to higher highs and lower lows. Research has found that Between 2007 and 2011, the number of energy drink-related visits to emergency departments doubled, with 1 in 10 of these visits resulting in hospitalization.
However, all is not lost! Energy does come from a variety of natural sources that can also be extremely beneficial to your long term health. Here are some of the best:
There’s nothing like a warm bowl of oatmeal to start the day off right and keep you energized. Oatmeal contains loads of fiber that takes your body longer to digest. Because of this, you don’t metabolize through your breakfast quite as quickly as you would with, say, a toaster pastry or a bowl of sugary cereal. As you slowly digest the oatmeal, you will maintain those calories in your body for longer, leaving you with sustained energy.
What’s better? Oats contain B vitamins, iron and manganese that help the energy production process. If you want to add berries, nuts and even honey for sustained energy and nutrients, you’ll only be better for it.
Do you want a quick snack to boost your energy? Well, look no further than the delicious, citrus fruit readily available at your local grocery store: an orange.
Just like oatmeal and any plant food, oranges contain fiber that as we know, stays longer in the body, keeping the calories, aka, energy with you longer. But, what an orange also offers is all of your vitamin C needs. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that can help ward off sicknesses, that as we know, can drop our energy levels down significantly.
Nuts like walnuts, cashews and almonds are full of calories, which means energy! What’s better is that these calories are far from empty. Nuts contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, carbohydrates and fiber that will keep your energy levels up and going strong.
And while nuts are delicious, and can be eaten by the handful, it doesn’t take much to give you the energy you need. One serving of almonds is just ¼ cup, and contains 162 calories, 14 grams of healthy fat, and 6 grams of protein.
Say what? That’s right. Popcorn.
Popcorn comes from corn in its most dehydrated form. The seeds (kernels) are then heated to make a fun, delicious, low-calorie, fiber-packed, energizing snack — much more so than potato chips according to research.
As long as you stay away from additives like butter and excess salt, popcorn is a great little snack to add some energy in your step.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
A nutrition list would not be complete without those all-important leafy green vegetables —at least that’s what mom would say, right? It turns out, that not only are leafy greens like spinach and kale good sources of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K, folic acid, and antioxidants (so basically everything), they also contain that all-important, slow digesting fiber to keep those nutrients working in your body for longer.
If that’s not enough to convince you to trade in that energy drink for a green, leafy spinach and kale salad, it might be helpful to know that the iron contained in these superfoods increase the production of red blood cells so that you can get more oxygen to your cells. And we can’t think of a more perfect recipe for energy than increased blood flow and oxygen intake.