10 natural foods to boost energy levels

There's a big buzz in the online food community about clean eating and that many naturaly foods can be a great source of energy for the body - here are our top 10.

* Blueberries, often labelled a superfood, are among the most nutrient-dense of berries. One cup of them contains 4g of fibre and 25% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. They are also very high in antioxidants when compared with many fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants combat free radicals in the body.

* Garlic, while low in calorific value, has been lauded for its medicinal properties. Garlic has a reputation for fighting the common cold thanks to a compound called allicin, which is released when the cloves are cut and crushed

* Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet, containing high levels of protein and good fats. Furthermore, one egg contains all nine essential amino acids. While they have come in for some criticism because of high levels of cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic says the “effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans fats and saturated fats”

* Broccoli is a powerhouse vegetable which provides cardiovascular and digestive benefits. Its main attractions include its high level of fibre, vitamin C, B6, and A. An adult needs about 60mg of vitamin C in a day, and one serving of broccoli contains on average 89mg of this essential vitamin.

* Yoghurts aren’t just for children. Including them in your diet can help to keep your digestive system functioning properly. For optimum digestion, you need a certain level of good bacteria, which can be found in yoghurts containing probiotics. Yoghurts are also a great source of calcium for strong bones

* Oats are a fantastic and cheap source of slow-release carbohydrates. They’re also full of fibre. Eating them in the form of porridge is how we most commonly consume them, but they can be ground up in the food processor and used as a wheat flour substitute if you’re making pancakes. The American Heart Journal found that incorporating oats into the diets of postmenopausal women helped to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol

* Beans are a great source of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is important for controlling cholesterol in the blood. The complex carbohydrates contained in beans alongside the protein means that they provide a steady supply of glucose. Therefore they won’t cause a surge in your blood sugar levels.

* Oily fish means sea life such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, the type of fat that is good for our health. They’re also a great source of vitamin D in sun-deprived Ireland, as well as the mineral selenium, which protects cells from damage by free radicals

* Quinoa can be off-putting for non-foody types because of its unusual spelling but don’t let its pronunciation stop you from eating it. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that’s high in protein as well as carbohydrate. Not only that, but it also contains all nine essential amino acids, and takes just 10 minutes to cook.

* Bananas are easier on your teeth than other fruit. They are also a great energy source that keep blood sugars level. And they contain tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the body — the happy-mood neurotransmitter.


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