Diet is an essential part of maintaining your energy. Your food provides the fuel you need to stay active and alert throughout the day. But not all food is created equal. In fact, some foods can sap your energy! Here are nine energy vampire foods that you should avoid.
Processed foods are full of lab-made ingredients to keep them edible and visually appealing. On top of that, most of the nutrition found in their fresh-made versions is eliminated in the process. As a result, processed food is hard to digest and low in nutrients. This makes ‘convenience food’ incredibly inconvenient for the body.
Stick to whole foods and freshly cooked meals to get the full nutritional value without all the harsh chemicals and preservatives.
While coffee, soda, and energy drinks can give quick bursts of energy from stimulating different parts of your brain, the caffeine in them is also masking how tired you are. It is not removing the source. As a result, you feel a ‘crash’ and increased tiredness once the caffeine wears off. Worse, if you drink them too late in the day, it will hurt your sleep quality and leave you tired the next day.
Swap to water and herbals teas instead. Water treats any fatigue and head fog caused by low-grade dehydration. Some teas have great health befits like antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and immune-boosting vitamin C.
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Most cereals are made up of a lot of sugar and very little fiber. In fact, refined sugars make up over 50% of the total carbs in most popular cereal brands. The high sugar and low fiber send your blood sugar and a roller coaster that saps your energy before the day even starts. Worse, studies show they make you crave more sugary foods, turning it into a vicious cycle of brief sugar highs and hard crashes.
If you eat cereal, make sure it is high in fiber to slow down your sugar absorption. Otherwise, stick with other breakfast foods like a green smoothie, whole-grain toast with an egg and avocado, or whole oats.
While doughnuts seem like a quick and delicious breakfast, they wreck havoc on your energy. 96% of the calories found in doughnuts are from carbs (mostly sugar) and fats. The high sugar content throws your blood sugar into sharp spikes and dips. There is no fiber to help regulate how to turn it into energy. There are no nutrients in the refined flour to fuel your body.
White bread is made by removing the hulls and husks, bleaching the flour, and finely grinding it. By the time the process is complete, it is left with no nutrition and almost no fiber. The empty carbs send your blood sugar into an exhausting spike and crash, while the chemicals used to preserve the look and taste of the bread increase issues.
Stick to high-fiber whole-grain bread and more nutritious alternatives like rye, pumpernickel, and nuts and seed bread.
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Too Many Low-Calorie Foods
While it is important not to eat more calories than your body needs, you can do a lot of damage to your health and energy if you eat too few calories as well. When you are on a low-calorie diet, your body goes into a hibernation mode that slows your metabolism and changes your hormones. In extreme cases, it even starts to affect your organs, brain, and other parts of your body.
While low-calorie foods can be good for you, it is important not to make them your primary food source. Replacing your lunch with a 100 calorie granola bar will not help fuel you for the afternoon.
A low-calorie snack can be good, especially if it is something like blueberries or a handful of almonds. However, overdoing it can lead to fatigue, brain fog, and lethargy. Make sure you get regular high-nutrition meals with the calories to fuel your body as well.
Sweetened Juices and Yogurts
While juice, granola bars, and yogurt are considered healthy, most popular brands are filled with sugar to try to be more desirable than their competition. Sugar leads to erratic and exhausting spikes in energy and interrupted sleep patterns, and studies show sugar can be addictive. For steady, long-lasting energy, check the labels of your food and avoid their high sugar versions.
A small amount of red wine can be good for your heart. However, if you drink alcohol right before bed, your body will try to metabolize the simple sugars as you sleep. Drinking alcohol before bed can lead to wakefulness, poor sleep quality, and the inability to stay asleep.
For a more restful night’s sleep, stop drinking alcoholic beverages about 4 hours before you go to sleep.
Like processed foods, fatty foods are low in nutrition and hard for our bodies to digest. It also takes longer to get energy from this food, keeping you from feeling energized for a longer period of time. Frequent high-fat food consumption can also lead to health complications.
Opt for fresher versions of favorite foods, like baked chicken with rosemary or lemongrass. You’ll get more flavor, nutrients, and energy from them than from their fried versions.
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