How to Eat For Energy: 7 Powerful Superfood
By: Brandi Black, RHN
1 May, 2011 by
How to Eat For Energy: 7 Powerful Superfood
Sun Chlorella USA

There are obvious reasons for feeling tired, such as a lack of quality sleep. But on the days you feel fatigued and can't understand why, one or more of these culprits could be stealing your energy. 

You Drink Coffee 
Espresso may seem like a godsend for when your energy levels fade, especially if you have an important meeting or spin class to catch. But coffee could be the exact reason why your energy levels are zapped in the first place. 

You see, caffeine gives you a "buzz" (which is perceived as energy) because it blocks the adenosine receptors in your brain that tell your body you're tired. This tricks your body into thinking you feel energized. That is, until the caffeine wears off and you're tired again. Caffeine can also spike and crash your blood sugar levels, especially if you add sugar or syrup to your coffee.

Since your blood sugar levels directly influence your energy levels, a rapid blood sugar spike results in a quick burst of energy. The only problem with this is the quicker your blood sugar levels spike, the sooner they'll crash. You can think of a blood sugar spike and crash as a "what goes up, must come down" situation- one that's guaranteed to leave you fatigued, and ready for another cup of coffee. And so, the vicious cycle of caffeine and artificial energy begins. 

Caffeine can also spike and crash your blood sugar levels, especially if you add sugar or syrup to your coffee. Since your blood sugar levels directly influence your energy levels, a rapid blood sugar spike results in a quick burst of energy. The only problem with this is the quicker your blood sugar levels spike, the sooner they'll crash. You can think of a blood sugar spike and crash as a "what goes up, must come down" situation- one that's guaranteed to leave you fatigued, and ready for another cup of coffee. And so, the vicious cycle of caffeine and artificial energy begins. 

You're Deficient in One or More Essential Nutrients 
Carbohydrates are the macronutrient our body depends on for energy. We get carbohydrates from whole grains, fruit and vegetables. But in order to convert carbs to energy, our body needs the help of certain natural vitamins and minerals.

While many vitamins and minerals help with energy production, the B vitamins, especially B12, play a key role in converting carbs to a usable form of energy. 

And while the majority of foods contain at least one of the B vitamins, B12 is primarily found in animal products.

This is why those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet are at a greater risk for B12 deficiency.
It should also be mentioned that regular caffeine consumption might deplete B vitamins, which is another reason why coffee can be considered an energy saboteur. 

Your Body is Holding on to Toxins 
We're exposed to toxins every single day that come from the air we breathe, pesticides and additives in the food we eat, chemicals and other toxins, such as heavy metals in the water we drink. That's not to mention toxins in body care products, household products, cosmetics and prescription drugs. 

When we absorb these toxins, our body (in particular, the liver) works hard to eliminate them before they can cause damage to our cells. But when we're exposed to so many toxins on a regular basis, our liver can become overburdened, which allows toxins to accumulate in our cells. So, what does this have to do with your energy levels? Simply put energy production and transport happens in our cells.

So when our cells are clogged with toxins, you can bet they'll have a hard time doing their jobs efficiently. Toxins in your cells may also reduce the amount of oxygen that enters your cells.

This can cause fatigue and exhaustion because your cells require oxygen to break down sugar (glucose) into energy. 

You're Dehydrated 
How much water do you drink each day? It's estimated that 75% of Americans are dehydrated, which may be why so many of us are tired all the time. 

Dehydration contributes to low energy by reducing your blood circulation. And without good circulation and oxygen flow, it's harder for your body to produce energy. 

The minimum amount of water you need each day isn't a one-size-fits-all equation.

You can find out roughly how much water your body needs with this equation: 
Your body weight in pounds / 2 = ____ ounces of water you should be drinking each day. 

Of course, you'll want to drink extra water on hot days, after intense exercise and when drinking dehydrating beverages, such as coffee or alcohol. Other lifestyle factors such as a lack of exercise and chronic stress can also contribute to low energy levels.

Regular exercise can help regulate your sleep and wake cycle, and promote deeper sleep, which contributes to more energy throughout the day. Stressful emotions, such as worry and anxiety, can also be draining and make you tired. 
Luckily, many powerful superfoods have nutritional properties that can help improve some of these lifestyle habits.

While certain changes are up to you to make, such as drinking more water, some superfoods can help promote natural body detox, stress relief and contain energizing B vitamins. 

You never know, adding these superfoods to your diet could energize you so much that you forget about the double cappuccino altogether. Here's how to eat for energy with these 7 powerful superfoods.

1. Maca Root

Maca root is grown in the mountains of Peru, and is said to be an effective superfood for increasing energy and stamina. Maca belongs to a class of herbs called adaptogens, which help support the adrenal glands and improve your body's ability to cope with, and adapt to stress. 

Adaptogenic herbs are known for being naturally energizing without the jitters, which makes maca root a healthier coffee replacement. In fact, maca's coffee-like, bitter flavor is used in many caffeine-free, herbal alternatives to coffee. 

Maca is also said to be rich in several of the B vitamins needed for energy production. 

You can take maca as a nutritional supplement in capsules, or as a powder which can be added to smoothies and cold-pressed juices. Maca root can be found at your local health food store. 

2. Wheat Grass

There's a reason why you'll find wheatgrass shots being served up for energy at juice bars and health food stores.

Not only is wheat grass an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, but it also contains a special energizing nutrient called chlorophyll.
If you haven't heard of chlorophyll before, it's a pigment that gives plants their green color.

Chlorophyll helps facilitate the process of photosynthesis by allowing plants to absorb energy for light. Therefore, when we ingest chlorophyll, we can also absorb energy at a cellular level. 
Chlorophyll also contains magnesium, which is a calming mineral that can provide stress relief. By reducing your stress levels through proper nutrition, you may find that your energy levels increase naturally. 

Wheatgrass is said to contain approximately 70% chlorophyll, which makes it an excellent superfood to start your mornings off with. If you have a juicer at home, you can juice fresh wheatgrass from the wheatgrass plant, which can be found at most health food stores. Wheatgrass can also be found in powdered form, which makes it convenient to add to your green smoothies and juices. 

3. Coconut Oil

If you haven't added coconut oil to your diet, you're missing out on one of the best nutrients for energy: medium chain triglycerides, or MCT's. 

Medium chain triglycerides are a fatty acid in this superfood that can be used by the body for energy right away. Unlike other fatty acids that get stored in the body, such as long chain fatty acids, MCT's get digested and absorbed rapidly, providing an instant source of energy to the body. 

Coconut oil has countless uses, which makes it easy to add to your diet. 
You can use coconut oil for cooking on high heat because it's stable when exposed to high temperatures. You can also blend it with your smoothies, add it to herbal tea and drizzle melted coconut oil on top of your veggies. 

While coconut oil is solid at room temperature in colder climates, it makes a great substitute for vegetable oils in baking recipes when melted. 

If you are a coffee drinker, adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your coffee may help prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes, and may reduce the caffeine jitters. 

4. Chlorella

Chlorella is an amazing green superfood you won't want to miss out on if you regularly suffer from low energy. In fact, chlorella is so effective for boosting energy that it's often used in protocols for reducing fatigue related to many disorders.

Chlorella is naturally energizing because of the nutrient profile it contains. As an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin, beta-carotene, chlorella may help detox the body naturally, which leads to increased energy. 

Chlorella is also one of the richest sources of chlorophyll, which as you now know, helps provide us with energy at a cellular level. But one of the primary reasons chlorella may provide long lasting energy is because it's one of the only plant foods to contain a highly absorbable form of vitamin B12.

This makes chlorella an ideal superfood for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Since B12 deficiency is common in those who are frequently fatigued, taking chlorella each day may help replenish your B12 stores and boost your energy levels naturally. You can add chlorella to your diet by taking Sun Chlorella® tablets as a nutritional supplement, or adding Sun Chlorella granules or Sun Chlorella pure chlorella powder to your smoothies or food recipes.

5. Beetroot Juice

Beets, and more specifically, beetroot juice has recently gained attention as a natural energizer- especially for athletes. This is because beetroot juice contains nitrates, which are a group of compounds that have been shown to improve oxygen and blood flow throughout the body.

Nitrates provide energy at a cellular level because they help the body produce a molecule called nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels to allow more oxygen to flow through. And the more oxygen you have flowing through your body, the more energy you'll receive.

6. Goji Berries

Goji berries have been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help improve energy and "Qi", which is the life force, or breath that flows through your body. 

Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins, especially vitamin C. Vitamin C helps disarm toxins, or free radicals that can congest or damage your cells, and impair energy production. 

Goji berries can be eaten raw, or dried. Since they grow wild in China, it's more common to find goji berries dried or ground into a powder at health food stores throughout North America. 

7. Eleuthero

Lastly, eleuthero, also known as Siberian Ginseng, is another superfood that's been used for thousands of years to help stimulate the flow of energy and life force, or Qi, throughout the body. 

As an adaptogenic herb, eleuthero may help reduce your body's stress response and promote a stronger sense of happiness and well-being. Eleuthero has also been shown to increase oxygen uptake in the body, which is why it's favored as one of the best supplements to increase energy by endurance athletes.

You can add Organic Sun Eleuthero® to your diet by taking it as a nutritional supplement, in the form of Organic Sun Eleuthero tablets, Sun Eleuthero® Extract or by drinking eleuthero tea, such as Infuse Your Mood® herbal tea.  

And while I don't normally recommend energy drinks because they have an over stimulating effect on the body (not to mention a ton of sugar, additives and artificial ingredients such as aspartame), I do recommend the all-natural energy drink, Well, Well, Wow!®.

Well, Well, Wow! Is the only natural energy drink to be formulated with 2 of the best energizing superfoods: chlorella and eleuthero. Sweetened with a touch of agave, Well, Well, Wow! is free from added sugar, caffeine and chemicals that sneak into commercial energy drinks. 

As you can see, certain superfoods can boost energy levels along with providing their superior nutrition. By trying new superfoods and making small, positive changes to your lifestyle that support your energy levels, you'll soon have more energy than you know what to do with.

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