If you are living an urban life, you must have a very demanding schedule nearly every day of the week. There seems to be no respite for the modern man. The moment you wash your hands off work at your office, you need to immediately get your mind and body engaged in the task of maintaining an exciting social life. There is very little room to relax and give yourself the precious moments you need to regain your composure. To keep up with this schedule, a person needs to be gifted with a truck load of energy. Under such a situation, you need to make sure that you maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet will keep your body supplied with the energy it requires to perform at an optimal level, fight off the daily stress and recover from fatigue.
How the Body Converts Food into Fuel
The energy in our body comes from the food we eat and the liquids we drink. All types of food we consume can be broken down into three main kinds of nutrients that supply energy to the body. These are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Among them, carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for the body. Proteins and fats can be used as energy stocks after the carbohydrates have been depleted.
Once the food that we have consumed enters our digestive system, the body breaks the nutrients in the food down to smaller components. The broken down nutrients undergo the process of assimilation where they are absorbed into the bloodstream and then delivered to all the cells in the body. Within the cells, the broken down components of the nutrients are used as fuel for a process called metabolism. Successful metabolism releases energy, which is used for a variety of purposes in the body.
The carbohydrates in the body are of two types; simple and complex. Both types of carbohydrates are converted to a form of sugar called glucose. The sugar is broken down in the blood and the glucose is used by the blood cells to provide energy.
What Are the Best Foods for Sustained Energy?
Complex carbohydrates can be sourced from a number of different foods. The most common sources of complex carbohydrates include high-fiber cereals, pastas and whole-grain bread. Contrary to popular belief, grains are not the only sources of complex carbohydrates. In fact, people on a paleo diet can get their daily dose of complex carbs from starchy vegetables. All of these foods are great for our diet because they provide us with sustained energy over long periods of time. In other words, if you consume these foods on a regular basis, you are likely to remain energetic for a prolonged duration. The reason why this happens is because foods containing complex carbohydrates are digested in our bodies at a very slow and consistent rate. It is also worth noting that complex carbohydrates can help stabilize the blood sugar levels of the body. This causes the pancreas to reduce the insulin production. As a result, you end up with a feeling of inner sufficiency and you are less likely to feel hungry. For instance, if you have starchy vegetables for breakfast in the morning, you are not likely to be in need of a proper meal till late in the afternoon.
In addition to complex carbohydrates, you require an adequate intake of fluids to ensure that your body has sustained energy. Fluids increase the water stock in your body. Water is one of the most essential components your body needs to function properly. This is because water is required for digestion, absorption and transfer of nutrients for metabolism in the cells. In the absence of water, all these processes will be hindered. This is why health experts advise people to drink around eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Foods You Should Avoid
If you want to stay energetic throughout the day, you should limit your intake of simple carbohydrates. What kinds of food contain the simple carbs? Anything from candy and cookies to juices and sweet, carbonated beverages have simple carbohydrates. Owing to their simplicity, these nutrients are broken down by the body very quickly. Hence, they provide a temporary burst of energy that generally lasts no longer than 30 to 60 minutes. This burst of energy is often referred to as the sugar rush. Once the sugar rush expires, the person falls into a slump as the simple carbohydrates get digested very quickly.
Along with sugary snacks and drinks, you should avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as you can. Alcohol is a depressant. Therefore, it reduces the energy levels in the body. Caffeine is often associated with increased energy, but in reality it cannot provide you with the sustained energy needed to remain vibrant throughout the day. Much like sugary drinks, coffee provides a two hour burst of energy that is eventually followed by a “crash”.