UP, UP, UP

For­get caf­feine. When you need ex­tra pep dur­ing times of stress, be­fore or af­ter ex­er­cis­ing, or while work­ing through the night, these foods can help you keep go­ing, says

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Life Made Easy Nutrition - SASHA GON­ZA­LES.

WHEN YOU’RE STRESSED OUT…

Anx­i­ety, ten­sion and worry may be emo­tional is­sues, but they can have a drain­ing ef­fect on your body. Hav­ing too much to do or just try­ing to get through a tax­ing day can leave you feel­ing tired, slug­gish and list­less. Raise your ag­ging en­ergy lev­els with these foods: WHOLE­GRAINS Oats, brown rice, whole­meal bread and bran ce­real are rich in B vi­ta­mins and folic acid (also called vi­ta­min B9) that help your body turn car­bo­hy­drates, pro­teins and fats into en­ergy. In ad­di­tion, they help re­lax your mus­cles and calm the ner­vous sys­tem. Aim for two serv­ings a day. BEEF, LAMB AND LIVER These are rich in iron, which helps red blood cells carry oxy­gen. When your iron stores are de­pleted, you may feel slug­gish.

If you’re not a meat eater, go for spinach, broc­coli, beans and lentils – these also con­tain good lev­els of iron. But do note that your body ab­sorbs iron from an­i­mal sources more eas­ily than iron from plant­based foods. Go for about 85g of lean beef a day, one cup of cooked spinach or half a cup of tofu. SAL­MON, SAR­DINES, FLAXSEED AND WAL­NUTS The omega fatty acids in these foods pro­vide en­ergy for your mus­cles, heart and other or­gans. One serv­ing a day of any of these is rec­om­mended. DARK CHOCO­LATE It’s high in a com­pound called phenethy­lamine, which en­cour­ages the re­lease of

en­dor­phins, hor­mones pro­duced in the brain and ner­vous sys­tem that boost your mood and give you a “lift”. Stick to about 50g of goodqual­ity dark choco­late a day. LAVEN­DER AND CAMOMILE TEA These can help to re­lieve anx­i­ety and ten­sion. When you are calm, you’ll also feel more alert and be more pro­duc­tive. En­joy a few cups a day, and opt for or­ganic brands for a bet­ter-qual­ity brew.

PRE- AND POST-WORK­OUT…

Fu­elling up be­fore ex­er­cis­ing gives you the en­ergy you need to per­form well and last through your en­tire work­out. Post-ex­er­cise, it’s also im­por­tant to re­plen­ish what you’ve lost and re­pair those worn-out mus­cles. Fire up and recharge with these foods: CAR­BO­HY­DRATES Car­bo­hy­drates are con­verted into glu­cose, the body’s main source of en­ergy. When your glu­cose stores are de­pleted, you may feel lethar­gic and not per­form as well as you’d like dur­ing your work­out.

Try to have a cou­ple of serv­ings of car­bo­hy­drates a day – one serv­ing is equiv­a­lent to a cup of brown rice, one-and-a-half cups of whole­meal pasta, two slices of whole­meal bread, a medium potato, or two long ba­nanas.

Avoid re­fined and highly pro­cessed car­bo­hy­drates in foods like white bread and white rice, as these are di­gested more quickly and may cause your en­ergy lev­els to spike and crash, leav­ing you feel­ing even more lethar­gic. WHEY OR PEA PROTEIN SHAKES Whey (the wa­tery part of milk that’s left over af­ter the curd forms) and peas both con­tain highly ab­sorbable amino acids that build your mus­cles and in­crease your en­ergy. Have one shake be­fore your work­out for a short-term en­ergy boost. You can nd whey and pea protein pow­ders at health food stores. NUTS These en­ergy-dense foods are ex­cel­lent sources of car­bo­hy­drates and fatty acids. Their an­tiox­i­dant con­tent helps sup­port your car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem while you ex­er­cise, while the protein re­pairs mus­cles. Al­low yourself a hand­ful of plain un­salted nuts a day. BA­NANAS AND AV­O­CA­DOS They’re high in potas­sium and mag­ne­sium – min­er­als that help your mus­cles use and pro­duce en­ergy. They also pro­vide fruc­tose, a type of su­gar that is eas­ily con­verted by the body into glu­cose when your en­ergy stores need re­plen­ish­ment. Aim for one or two fruit serv­ings ev­ery day.

WHEN YOU HAVE TO WORK LONG HOURS…

Pulling an all-nighter can sap your en­ergy, leav­ing you fa­tigued, af­fect­ing your mem­ory, and caus­ing you to lose con­cen­tra­tion. If you were busy dur­ing the day, you may also have skipped meals, so it’s im­por­tant to fuel your body the right way. Boost your men­tal and phys­i­cal stamina with these foods: WHEY OR PEA PROTEIN SHAKES They’re easy to digest and ab­sorb, and per­fect for when you need to feel en­er­gised fast. Have one serv­ing as a snack. LOW-SU­GAR CE­REAL BARS These con­tain car­bo­hy­drates as well as a range of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als that help your body re­lease en­ergy. Have one bar as a snack. DAIRY PROD­UCTS They’re high in protein and vi­ta­min B2, which is used in en­ergy me­tab­o­lism. For the per­fect pick-me-up, en­joy a glass of low-fat plain milk or a cou­ple of slices of low-fat cheese.

SH

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