It seems like in today’s fast-paced-world, we are always looking for that thing that is going to keep us going a little longer. This need for more energy has resulted with the massive surge of unhealthy energy drinks found in the marketplace.
For some reason, people always look to unhealthy sources and chemicals to boost their energy levels. We can find safe energy boosts in all natural foods, which can provide everything we need.
You’ll be energized by adding to your diet these 5 super foods:
Chia seeds have been used by mankind for their health benefits for centuries. Both the Mayans and Aztecs have used these seeds in their diets for generations, and today people all around the world are enjoying the various nutrition benefits of chia seeds.
Small but powerful, chia seeds are chocked full of vitamins and minerals and are easy to add to an everyday diet. They’re being used in cooking, added to beverages, used in baked goods, salads, and so much more. These seeds are an excellent source nutrients and antioxidants, and they come with a long list of health benefits.
Nutrition Value of Chia Seeds
To simply say chia seeds are good for you is a severe understatement. These little seeds come with a variety of superpowers that target different health problems people may be dealing with. They can help reduce certain discomforts, prevent problems, and even reduce the risk of certain health concerns when used correctly. The following are just some of the nutritional values of chia seeds:
Essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital polyunsaturated fats. Due to the chia seed’s lipid profile, which is composed of about 60% omega-3s, or 4915 mg per ounce, they are one of the richest plant sources of essential fatty acids.
Specifically, they’re a great source of alpha linolenic acid, also known as ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds are great for helping reduce inflammation and high cholesterol, and can greatly enhance ones’ cognitive abilities and performance. In fact, many students add these seeds to teas and water to help them stay focused and alert for their rigorous studies.
They also contain 1620 mg Omega-6 fatty acids per ounce, a wallop of goodness for heart health.
A good source of antioxidants, chia seeds help to protect the body from free radicals, cancer, and the negative effects of aging. Due to the volume of antioxidants found in chia seeds, they are incredibly durable and have a long shelf life. Chia seeds can last up to two years without refrigeration—but you’ll likely use them long before that!
Fiber is great for keeping the bowels regular, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and keeping you full after a healthy meal. Chia seeds contain a lot of fiber, coming in at about 10 grams in just 2 tablespoons of the seed. Many people find it hard to get the recommended amount of fiber into their daily diet, so chia seeds are an easy way to add this nutrient in healthy doses.
Lots of Minerals
Just two tablespoons of chia seeds include up to 18% of the DRI for calcium, 24% for magnesium, 35% for phosphorous, and up to 50% for manganese. These nutrients are highly important for helping the body fight against hypertension as well as maintain a healthy weight. They are also imperative for a part of DNA synthesis and energy metabolism, ensuring that you have enough energy to get through your day.
Chia Seed Health Benefits
In addition to the nutritional value of chia seeds, they also come with a number of health benefits. These include the following:
Regulating Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is responsible for one’s energy. When blood sugar is low, people can feel lightheaded, sluggish, and very weak. When blood sugar is high, it can lead to serious problems. Chia seeds are handy for regulating the body’s insulin levels by reducing insulin resistance as well as decreasing uncharacteristically high levels of insulin in the blood. This leaves you feeling alert and energized.
Chia seeds can be digested whole unlike other high fiber, high omega-3 seeds such as flaxseed. Due to this, chia seeds are much more versatile and can be added to different dishes a number of different ways. Flaxseeds and the like must be ground for the individual to experience their full health benefits, but chia seeds can be eaten, drunk, and digested entirely whole and still offer the same amount of nutrients and minerals.
Keeps You Full
One of the main problems of dieting is not feeling full or satiated. Many people cheat on their diets or simply struggle because the foods they’re eating do not contain enough protein or fiber to keep them full and focused and they find themselves feeling hungry and experiencing cravings. Chia seeds offer satiety, which helps you lower food cravings between meals. Due to the “gelling” effect of chia seeds when mixed with water, tea, or other liquids, they help you to feel fuller for longer.
For those who are on a strictly gluten-free diet, there’s no worry of cutting chia seeds and their amazing health benefits out of your routine. Chia seeds have absolutely no grains or gluten, so they can be added to your gluten-free diet without worry.
A 2 tablespoon Serving Gives You:
- 117 Calories
- 8.3 g fiber
- 4 f Protein
- 7.4 g Fat
According to Bodybuilding.com, not only do Chia seeds have a pretty solid nutrition profile, but they also contain:
- All of the essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth
- 5 times the omega-3 fatty acids than ¼ cup of walnuts
- 30% more antioxidants than blueberries
- As much potassium as 1/3 of a banana
- Twice the iron and magnesium of spinach
Flax is a small round seed that has been cultivated on earth since Babylon. They were touted as a super food in Babylonian times, and it turns out the ancients may have been onto something.
webmd.com notes that Flax seed is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have heart health benefits. They have a high fiber content and are an excellent source of antioxidants. Altogether, these little seeds pack a powerful punch. The best part about them is that you can grind them up and put them in just about anything.
One Tablespoon of Flax seed :
- Calories: 55
- Water: 7%
- Protein: 1.9 grams
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Sugar: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 4.3 grams
Health.com offers great pointers on how to maximize the benefits of flaxseeds :
It’s best to eat flaxseeds after it’s been crushed or preferably ground, because whole flaxseed is likely to pass through your intestines undigested. The healthful fats and other nutrients of flaxseeds won’t be absorbed into your bloodstream if left whole.
Flaxseed oils are delicate and can begin to break down when exposed to air and light. So to take full advantage of their perks, grind the seeds up in a coffee grinder right before you eat them.
Look for golden or brown whole flax seeds at the grocery store or online. If you can find sprouted flaxseed, even better. Sprouting is a process that improves the digestibility of seeds, and makes their nutrients more readily available.
At home, store the whole flaxseed in a cool, dark place. If you’ve got extra ground flaxseed, put it in the freezer to better preserve the nutrients. It’s easy to sprinkle ground flaxseed on oatmeal, salads, or cooked veggies. But it can also be baked. Lower oven temperatures do not appear to substantially reduce the amount of ALA, which makes flaxseed a terrific addition to muffins, cookies, brownies, and sweet breads, like pumpkin or zucchini. You can also add ground flaxseeds to smoothies, energy balls or pancakes. Or use them as a plant-based substitute in many baked goods recipes that call for egg. Simply replace each egg with one tablespoon of flaxseed and three tablespoons of water.
While I wish I could say that all chocolate is created equal, it simply isn’t. The darker, the better, and anything over 60% Cacao is really what we aiming for.
The Orlando Sentinel notes that cocoa is high in some essential minerals that you may not be getting anywhere else.
- Magnesium: Used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body it helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function
- Manganese: Is Vital in forming connective tissues, bone, blood-clotting factors and sex hormones
- Zinc: Found in cells throughout the body and is needed for the immune system to work properly
- Iron: An essential element in the production of blood. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues
The Incas were the first ones to concoct a deliciously cold, brown drink made from thecocoa tree. They even went so far as to call it the drink of gods because of its many health benefits. When the Spaniards got their hands on the drink in 1582, they added the heat factor, bringing even more of cocoa’s health benefits to the surface.
In fact, cocoa may be the second healthiest known element you can consume, after water. Some of its better-known powers are its great ability to improve memory, uplift your mood, reduce heart disease, boost immunity, shed fat, and pump you up with energy.
Read on to find out more about all the amazing health benefits of cocoa.
Loaded with Antioxidants
A Cornell study carried out on the amounts of antioxidants in cocoa has shown that the antioxidant concentration in cocoa is almost double that of red wine, triple that of green tea, and quadruple that of black tea. Professor Chang Yong Lee, leader of that study, added that the “hot” in hot chocolate plays a significant role as well, since the number of antioxidants released increases when cocoa is heated up.
Antioxidants are miracle workers in our bodies. They protect our cells from premature degeneration caused by exposure to heat, moisture, light, air, and the inescapable factor of time. Antioxidants help protect our cells from these harmful factors, allowing us feel and look younger for longer. They also enhance cognitive function, boost concentration and memory, and increase blood flow to the brain. This means that drinking hot cocoa in moderation can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and many other aggressive diseases in the brain and elsewhere in the body.
Rich in Flavonoids
Flavonoids are a group of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in vegetables and fruits. They help process nitric oxide, a molecule produced by your body to help its abundant amount of cells successfully communicate with each other. Studies show that the high levels of flavonoids in cocoa can help with the following:
- Improve blood flow
- Lower blood pressure
- Act as a blood thinner to prevent blood platelets from forming clots
Less Fat than a Candy Bar
We all know how dark chocolate is chock full of health benefits, mainly as a result of its concentrated levels of antioxidants. But the presence of saturated fats in a chocolate bar far outweighs the benefits. Cocoa, on the other hand, has less fat per serving since it’s simply cocoa powder dissolved in hot milk or water. Even if you add one to two teaspoons of sugar to your hot cocoa, it would still contain less fat than a bar of chocolate.
Helps with Weight Loss
One piece of advice you’ll always hear from all dietitians is to drink a glass of water before meals if you’re looking to lose weight. But the good news is that you can replace that glass of water with some hot cocoa. Just add one teaspoon to your coffee cup, or to some milk, 10 – 15 minutes before your next meal and that will do the trick.
Cocoa contains MAO (Monoamine oxidase) inhibitors, which help shrink your appetite. Even though these inhibitors can be found in many weight loss products, the exceptional thing about cocoa’s MAO is that when digested by the body they release the hormone serotonin, the chemical responsible for maintaining a balanced mood in the brain.
A Great Mood Enhancer
As mentioned above, cocoa increases the release of serotonin in the brain. But it does much more than that. It improves your level of euphoria, stabilizes your overall mood, and decreases your risk of depression. It also releases dopamine, which controls the part of the brain that makes you feel good when you achieve any type of goal—especially if you’re given a reward—and helps you to move toward more similar goals.
Another mood enhancer that Cocoa contains is anandamide, which creates a feeling of bliss and is therefore referred to as the bliss molecule. Yet another mood improver found in cocoa is PEA (phenethylamine), which releases endorphins and other gratifying neurochemicals into the brain, similar to those released when you fall in love .
Protects Your Heart
One of the many types of antioxidants found in cocoa is flavanols, which protect against cardiovascular diseases. They also help improve blood circulation, which, in turn, can reduce the risk of strokes.
Another type of miracle-working antioxidant found in cocoa is polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in tea, apples, red wine, and onions. But of all the foods that contain polyphenols, cocoa has the highest content. Furthermore, none of the other sources even come close to having the other beneficial valuesthat cocoa has.
Polyphenols work diligently at reducing LDL levels. LDL is the “bad cholesterol” in the blood. Elevated LDL levels are considered to be a crucial factor in increasing the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Polyphenols also help inhibit the hardening of the arteries by preventing blood platelets from clotting. In fact, cocoa has the same effect as aspirin.Drinking cocoa on a regular basis has been proven to enhance the overall functioning of veins and arteries.
A Swiss study carried out in 2009 shows that after drinking cocoa for just 2 weeks, the activity of microbes naturally found in the gut improved significantly. In addition, there was a boost in metabolism and the stress hormone, cortisol, decreased.
They also discovered that the fiber in cocoa stimulated the body’s digestive enzymes, while improving both bowel and kidney functions. Since cocoa also contains a fair amount of sulfur, it enhances the capacity of both the liver and pancreas.
Oatmeal may not sound like the most appealing breakfast that you can have, but it can be one of the most energizing meals of the day. Especially if you take the time to add some of the extras that can really give you an edge.
While oatmeal on its own is a high-fiber food and a filling meal it will provide you with sustainable and stable energy, oatmeal with little tweaks can give you an amazing super bowl of power breakfast to power you through your toughest days.
Here’s 6 top points of Oats according to Healthline.com
- Oats are an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Oats contain many powerful antioxidants, including avenanthramides. These compounds may help reduce blood pressure and provide other benefits.
- Oats are high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which has numerous benefits. It helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria and increases feelings of fullness.
- Oats may lower the risk of heart disease by reducing both total and LDL cholesterol and protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
- Due to the soluble fiber beta-glucan, oats may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels.
- Oatmeal may help you lose weight by making you feel more full. It does this by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and increasing production of the satiety hormone PYY.
Try adding any combinations of these to your oatmeal to add some extra punch.
- Chia Seeds
- Ground Flax Seed
- Cocoa Nibs
- Any berry (low sugar and high antioxidant fruits are powerhouses of nutrition)
While technically not food, water is listed by Shape Magazine as one of the best things we take into our bodies for energy.
Water helps curb dehydration, which is a primary source of fatigue. Along with fatigue, many other symptoms of dehydration can occur like headaches, hunger, irritability, and the list gets worse as the dehydration gets worse.
A recent study released in the American Journal of Public Health showed that more than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S are not drinking enough water. If the kids are not drinking it, you can almost bet that the parents aren’t either.
Drinking water can improve energy, cognitive function, circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, and waste removal processes. That’s a lot of stuff this one thing is responsible for. In short, drink your water!
Here’s top 8 water benefits:
- carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells.
- flushing bacteria from your bladder.
- aiding digestion.
- preventing constipation.
- normalizing blood pressure.
- stabilizing the heartbeat.
- cushioning joints.
- protecting organs and tissues.
Now you are armed with an arsenal of fantastic foods to keep you powered up all day long. Try them out and see how they make you feel.