7 Top Energy-Boosting 'Super Foods'
The term "Superfoods" is often misused as a marketing term to describe rare foods with miraculous powers found in far and away places like the Himalayan mountains.
But the truth is every plant whole food has superfood qualities.
Every single whole fruit, vegetable, nut, seed and grain is designed by nature for us for the express purpose of optimum human nutrition.
And when you understand the Doctrine of Signatures - the ancient observational wisdom that highlights the resemblance between whole plant foods and how each one targets a particular part of the human anatomy, you realise just how magical the relationship between mother nature and human health really is.
All whole plant foods delivers your body and cells a plethora of phytonutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants) as well as varying amounts of the macro nutrients of carbohydrates, fats and protein, depending on the food.
But when it comes to foods that give you energy and support to power through your day, there are a specific range of foods that are an absolute must for you to include in your diet regularly.
Read on to discover our favourite, top 7 energy-boosting super foods...
Top Superfoods to Boost Your Energy Levels
There's a reason why monkeys can munch on bananas and swing from tree to tree all day with seemingly boundless energy.
Bananas pack a serious nutritional punch and are one of nature's most potent energy-boosting foods. Rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates, bananas have every thing you need for both fast fuel energy production and sustained energy.
While bananas are a good source of natural sugar, they are also rich in fibres that help slow the release of these sugars, balancing out the delivery of energy so that you don't crash and burn. The fibres in bananas also satisfy hunger almost instantly, knocking out cravings and helping you to avoid nutrient-deficient, sugary snack foods.
Many endurance athletes choose to eat bananas prior to exercise and even during long events, because of the known sustainable energy benefits.
Learn more about energy conservation in 5 Clear Signs of Burnout & How to Avoid It.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes are another incredible super food with energy boosting powers. Sweet potatoes are praised for being a low-glycemic index carbohydrate, which provides your body with slow releasing energy that is vital to for long-lasting fuel and that won't result in unhealthy weight gain. But the benefits of this root vegetable don't end there.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of manganese as well fibre and an impressive 438% of daily recommended vitamin A—a nutrient that helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
To enjoy sweet potatoes, steam them and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt or organic grass-fed butter. Alternatively, chop into wedges, drizzle with coconut oil or olive oil and bake until crisp. Sweet Potatoes can also be cooked in advance, cooled and chopped and stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container - for you to enjoy as a wholesome snack or to add to a raw green salad the next day. One medium sweet potato is all you need to enjoy the energy-boosting properties of this superfood.
We all know that an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but it can also keep the energy crash at bay!
Among an apple's superpowers is its notable ability to provide your body with long-lasting fuel. In addition to being an amazing detoxifier, Apples are also an excellent source of slow-energy release fibres and rich in antioxidants, which has been shown to steady the release of sugars into the blood stream, sustaining you for longer.
To reap the full rewards of this energy boosting staple fruit, eat your apples whole whenever you can. There is a time and a place for juicing your apples, however just realise this method carried much less fibre, meaning the nutrients are quickly absorbed and therefore, are a less sustainable energy source.
Shop for apples at your local farmer's markets and look for varieties that are organic or at least spray-free wherever possible.
Learn more in 7 Good Reasons to Eat An Apple a Day
Certain types of berries are regarded as superfoods in their own right, but all berries have special qualities when it comes to sustainable energy production.
Berries are an abundant source of antioxidants and are full of fibre, as well as the crucial nutrient, manganese, that helps convert nutrients to energy.
There are many varieties of berries including:
Eat them regularly when in season, and as they go out of season, freeze them in a container to add to nourishing smoothies, deserts and granola when they're not readily available.
Enjoy your berries straight out of the punnet fresh, or add them to salads, oatmeal or your favourite wholegrain muesli.
Berries are also a feature of two of our favourite Pulse raw snack varieties; Blueberry or Cranberry Pulse Sacred Meal. Perfect for convenience or whenever you're on the go.
5. Brown Rice
Wholegrain brown rice is one of nature's true miracle foods when it comes to sustainable energy production.
Brown rice is loaded with fibres and boasts a very low glycemic index, which means it will regulate blood sugar levels to keep you going steady for many, many hours. This is why brown rice has been a favourite of high performance endurance athletes for decades.
Brown rice leaves white rice for dead when it comes to energy production and performance because it is an unrefined, unprocessed whole food, providing you with a clean source of energy.
Unlike white rice, brown rice is also packed with Manganese, a vital nutrient for sustained energy production. Just one cup of cooked brown rice contains a whopping 88% of your recommended daily intake of manganese, an essential mineral that helps enzymes breakdown carbohydrates and proteins and turn them into energy.
You'll find organically grown brown rice at good health food stores and whole food markets. Rinse it thoroughly before cooking. Once cooked, add it as an accompaniment to hot meals or allow it to cool and store in the refrigerator for preparing a delicious, nutritious rice salad the next day.
Delicious Cooking Tip: Once cooked, add olive oil, chopped fresh herbs, chilli flakes, sea salt and toasted raw almonds to add wonderful flavour to brown rice.
Learn more about other super grains in 5 Healthy Super Grains & How to Best Prepare Them.
6. Raw Dark Chocolate
While dark chocolate is not strictly a whole food, what it lacks in conformity to this definition it makes up for with an incredible influx of energising properties.
Raw organic dark chocolate is prepared from raw cacao which contains a stimulating, natural compound called, Theobromine. Theobromine is an alkaloid responsible for stimulating the heart, dilating blood vessels and reducing blood pressure. Compared to caffeine, theobromine gives a longer and softer energy without the peak and dip that many people experience when consuming caffeine, particularly heavily varieties.
Raw dark chocolate is also a wonderful mood balancer and even helps to reduce mental exhaustion by increasing blood flow throughout the body.
Tip: Look for high quality raw organic dark chocolate. You can also add powdered raw powdered cacao to smoothies, home made hot chocolate and raw food deserts. We use the finest quality raw organic cacao in our handcrafted Chocolate Pulse.
Finally, let's give credit to one of the most obvious energy lifting superfoods on the planet. Coffee has earned its reputation as a morning "pick-me-up" because it works.
The magic ingredient in coffee of course is caffeine, which is a mild stimulant that activates messages between your body and brain.
The important thing to realise is that not all coffee is created equal.
In its untreated natural state, coffee is a bean that provides many benefits for human health, particularly when enjoyed as a morning drink the way it's supposed to be enjoyed.
However, coffee is one of the most over commoditised and over harvested crops on earth, in many cases, subjected to questionable farming practices and lots of pesticides. That's why you should also look for organic, fair-trade sources of coffee and have it ground for you by a local barrister or grind your own at home.
The other problem with coffee consumption is what people ADD to the coffee rather than the coffee itself i.e. heavily processed creamers, sweeteners, commercial dairy milk etc. This is not the way coffee was intended to be consumed.
Instead, it's best to enjoy your coffee black if you can, or add raw almond or coconut milk to your daily fix. For extra energy-boosting and performance benefits, add a splash of MCT oil and a teaspoon of Raw Organic Coconut Butter for a delightful beverage and amazing energy fuel source.
Natural caffeine as is found in real coffee, is known to improve physical performance, increase sustained energy, elevate mental focus and even suppress appetite. And the polyphenols in coffee are loaded with antioxidants, assist weight management, support healthy digestion and boost cardio vascular health.
Just don't over do your coffee. Try to stick with 1-2 cups per day and try not to drink coffee after noon as it can give you afternoon jitters and interfere with your sleep wake cycle. Also by sticking with coffee in the morning, you'll be supporting your body's natural elimination/detoxification cycle.
Learn more in Coffee: The Healthy Way to Enjoy Your Daily Cup
The Importance Of Water
For energy, the importance of water intake cannot be underestimated.
Your body is made up of around 70% water and failure to replenish this vital fluid particularly, during before and after exercise can leave you feeling depleted, dehydrated and run down.
Additionally, the weight of the brain is approximately equal to 2 litres of water, which must be replaced every 24 hours.
Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of clean fresh water every day in order to help your body function and perform at its best which in turn will help boost your energy levels. And if you engage in rigorous physical activity or sweat a lot, aim for 1 litre per 22 kilos of your body weight as a healthy guide.
Learn more in Water: Nature's Best & Why It's Critical To Life
Ready to power up?
Infuse your diet with these top superfoods to boost your energy levels and enjoy a more vital, nourished and more joyful life.
Learn more in 5 Daily "Musts" To Boost Your Energy Naturally
Tolman Self Care.