How to get more energy through food
Posted on 19th February 2012, by Mikko.

How to get more energy through food


There are literally millions of Internet articles about how to have more energy, but only few of them cover one of the most fundamental and obvious factors for increasing energy: food. This is a very simple point, yet so many of us are making profound mistakes when it comes to the foods we eat, without even being aware of it. With the following simple adjustments to your current diet, you can boost your energy levels phenomenally.

1) Choose locally-grown, real food

The most basic problem for the great majority of people is that the foods they eat are high in artificial additives, pesticides, traces of medicine and other non-food and potentially toxic substances. Once you’ve taken them in, your body needs to get rid of them. That process requires enormous amounts of energy and burns up your natural buffers against stress. Your body can deal with only so much stress; if most of its stress buffers are consumed in trying to flush out toxins and non-food substances, there may be little if any left to handle life’s other pressures and challenges. The result can be feelings of tiredness and fatigue – sometimes profound fatigue. You’re also put at risk of plunging into a vicious, downward cycle of continuous illness.

Eat less: synthetic additives, pesticides, and other non-food substances; fast food; “ready-to-eat” (processed) food; factory-grown (rather than organically raised) poultry, livestock and fish; GMO foods

Eat more: organic, biodynamic, and wild foods; wild game; local, responsibly-grown fruits and vegetables

2) Eat more fresh, plant-based food

Some people like to count their macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and track their daily calorie intake. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you understand that the body doesn’t treat all sources of calories equally. Sadly, many people do not understand this. This isn’t too terribly surprising, because there are plenty of “authorities” (with substantial money at stake) loudly proclaiming that “all calories are the same.” People end up thinking that as far as the body is concerned, 400 calories’ worth of carbohydrates in a pancake is exactly the same as 400 calories’ worth of carbohydrates in an apple. They are not the same. Low-quality macronutrients either burn too fast, upset critical hormone balances, provide the body with very poor or even destructive building blocks, burn up stored micronutrients, acidify the body, or do all these things at once. Here are just a few symptoms of eating low-quality macronutrients: food cravings, addictions, tiredness, stress, apathy, insomnia, poor recovery time, and chronic pains. High-quality macronutrients are essential for keeping energy levels high and steady. High-quality macronutrients are the body’s vital building blocks and its #1 energy source.

Eat less: Low-quality fats (canola oil, butter, soybean oil, peanut oil, trans-fats); “fast” carbohydrates (potatoes, breads, cereals, sugar, grains, candies); low-quality protein (GMO products, meats)

Eat more: High-quality fats (avocado oil, olive oil, fish oil, walnut oil, coconut oil); “slow”, nutrient-dense carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits, pseudograins, lentils, brown rice); high-quality protein (hemp, green algae, leafy greens, wild fish)

Credit: Clairity
 
 

3) Strengthen your digestive system

The digestive system begins in your – no, not in your stomach – in your MOUTH. That’s right. You begin digesting food by breaking it down into smaller particles, by chewing; while this is going on, enzymes in your saliva break it down, too. (Maybe your mother was right after all, when she was always telling you to chew your food well!) Food travels from the mouth on down to the stomach, then to the small intestine, and finally the large intestine, before what’s left over is disposed of. At each step along this path, food is digested mechanically (chewing; agitation by muscles in the stomach), chemically (enzymes, acids, etc.), and by living cultures (beneficial bacteria, or probiotics). It is vital to keep the digestive system as healthy as possible, so that your body can absorb all available nutrients from the foods you eat – and so that your bowel will work efficiently and dispose of the waste products (that’s right – feces). While your body can produce enzymes on its own, raw food is the best way to obtain extra enzymes from nature. Eating cultured milk products, sauerkraut, and real kimchi, as well as fiber-rich foods, is a great way to supplement the body’s supply of beneficial bacteria.

You should also know that many medicines (antibiotics in particular!) are known to kill friendly bacteria – so the bacteria sometimes need help, or replacement.

The little explanation of the digestive system above is definitely simplified. If you’d like to learn about it in more detail (and it really is fascinating!) I recommend THIS ARTICLE.

Eat less: Medicine (!); factory-grown (rather than organically raised) poultry, livestock and fish fast food; “ready-to-eat” (processed) foods

Eat more: Cultured milk products, sauerkraut, kimchi, raw foods, fiber-rich foods, probiotic supplements

Credit: Mikelo
 
 

4) Add superfoods to your diet

Superfoods are natural toxin- and additive-free foods. They are loaded with high-quality macronutrients, and packed with copious amounts of micronutrients and phytonutrients. They are easily digested and their bioavailability is excellent. Some superfoods help your body detoxify itself; some enhance your “stress buffers” making you more tolerant of both internal and external sources of stress. This means less stress on your digestive system, lower toxin levels, fewer and lighter cravings, more and better-absorbed nutrients, more high-quality building blocks, more energy and better sleep quality.

The following chart (click on image to enlarge) is a good tool to use, to start replacing “bad” foods with superfoods.

Summary

Eating locally-grown, plant-based, chemical-free food is the foundation of an energizing diet. Adding superfoods to that diet is an easy and sure way to lift your energy levels to heights you probably haven’t even imagined. Whether you are an athlete, a high achiever, or a person who just wants to feel energetic all day long, you should be very careful about what you eat, and choose superfoods more often than low-quality foods.

- Mikko

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