By Inner Fire Luminary: Vanessa Kump
It’s really important that we fuel our bodies the right way and boost our mood and energy naturally instead of turning to caffeine and sugar-filled snacks. While they might give you a temporary hit, they won’t do your body any good in the long run; they will only slow you down and leave you even more tired!
So next time you feel that pesky slump coming on, have some of these energy-boosting foods on hand and see for yourself just how well they help get you through the rest of your day. Boost your energy with these natural power sources.
Studies show that nitrates in beets help blood vessels dilate, which increases oxygen delivery to working muscles. Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas).
An apple a day keeps you going, going, going. Quercetin, a potent antioxidant in apples, can improve your endurance. They hydrate, give a little sugar jolt, and clean your teeth. They are also a great source of vitamin C, and contain fiber, which can help hold you over until after you've finished holding tree pose.
Grab a handful of almonds before class to help boost your energy and starve off hunger, Barrett says. Almonds contain vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium, which means you'll have plenty of stamina to stay in boat pose (just be sure to eat them plain and unsalted to maximize their energizing benefits).
Quinoa is the world’s most popular “superfood.” This whole grain chock-full of energizing complex carbohydrates and magnesium (an essential mineral for energy metabolism). Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fiber and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism. This legume is great for athletes.
Sweet potatoes have a high carbohydrate content, making it a natural energy provider for long workouts. Plus, the sweet flesh is rich in immunity-boosting Vitamin A.
Food can help your energy before and after a workout. For post-workout recovery, yogurt is stellar fuel with its optimum balance of protein and carbohydrates. Choose plain Greek yogurt for more protein and no processed sugar. As long as you don't have any problems digesting dairy, a little yogurt can make a good pre-yoga snack option. Try a small serving of Greek yogurt for a protein-rich snack that is rich in lactose, a naturally occurring sugar that will give you sustained energy
Digestion is an important part of our health and affects how we feel on so many levels, so it’s important to eat to support our digestion, especially before we head off to exercise. Yoga involves lots of turns and twists, so you’ll need to be sure that your pre-workout eats don’t leave you bloated, light-headed, or in a food-coma. You also shouldn’t head off to yoga class without eating, since that disrupts your blood sugar levels and can lower your metabolism, which leads to muscle loss.