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For energy, say yes to bananas and no to caffeine: Hena Nafis

The main purpose of food is to give us energy to exist, notes ‘Good Food Bad Food’, the first book by the celebrated Kolkata nutritionist

Hena Nafis | Published 13.08.22, 02:26 PM

In our diet-driven culture, we might have forgotten the foremost purpose of food — fuel. Food is labelled good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, disease-causing or disease-reversing. We call it everything — paleo, Atkins, keto, and what have you — but food. Food is meant to fuel, nourish and grow and the main purpose of food is to give us life and ENERGY to exist. Let’s dive deeper.

Best foods for continuous supply of energy

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Wholegrains like oats, wholewheat bread, bajra, jowar, barley
  • Beans and legumes
  • Meat (small portions)

Top 5 pick-ups for energy

Bananas and eggs are among the most beneficial foods for you

Bananas and eggs are among the most beneficial foods for you

Bananas: Convenient, easily available and cheap source of quick energy. Apart from being a good source of natural sugar, it is a great source of vitamin B6 and potassium, making it not only an excellent energy booster but great for muscular strength too. Eating a banana before exercise helps in improving your endurance, by supplying a steady supply of energy.

Eggs: They are a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. It contains folate, riboflavin, thiamine and essential B vitamins – vital micronutrients for converting food into sustained energy. Moreover, it contains 6 grams of complete protein. It also contains choline, precursor for acetylcholine, which energises your muscles. However, to reap the energising benefits of the egg, don’t forget to eat the yolk, it’s the most nutritious part. It packs in most of the energy-giving nutrients and half the protein securely in its gel-like structure.

Sattu: This powder made of roasted Bengal gram with humble origins is considered a potent source of energy and stamina. Not just like that, it contains favourable nutrients to be considered so. It is an energy-dense food option. Just 50 grams of sattu can provide about 190 calories, which is released slowly to provide long-lasting energy. It is also rich in B-Complex vitamins and iron, magnesium and iron, making it a great metabolism booster.

Mutton or Beef Liver: Animal liver can be considered to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods available in the world. Liver’s nutritional value in terms of vitamins and minerals is far superior than all fruits and vegetables. It is considered the best source for many essential nutrients and is also rich in protein. Beef liver is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, helps in the formation of red blood cells and promotes healthy brain function. It also contains riboflavin, which helps turn food into energy. The iron in the liver is in the heme form, the variety which is easily absorbed by the body. If you are looking at amplifying your energy levels, it’s a food you must try!

Water: Poor hydration can also make you feel drained, tired and out of sorts. If you are dehydrated, the body gets its resources into maintaining water balance instead of generating energy. Therefore, your water intake can play a pivotal role in determining your energy scores. Everyone’s water needs vary depending on their lifestyle. However, one must try to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. In hot and humid conditions, it may increase by a few more glasses.

Cut down!

Things to cut down — alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine-rich drinks

Things to cut down — alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine-rich drinks

Caffeine: Most of us are dependent on tea, coffee, cocoa to give us the kick-start in the morning. We feel that a certain level of consumption is indispensable to maintain our energy levels. However, all these foods as well as chocolate and soft drinks contain caffeine, which can certainly improve energy levels for a short duration, but the boost is normally followed by a period of increased fatigue, which leads to another shot of caffeine and you gradually lose the count of cups of tea and coffee consumed. Find yourself caught in the vicious circle? Stimulants such as coffee and cigarettes initiate the stress response leading to release of adrenaline, cortisol (stress hormones), calming you down instantly. The constant abuse of adrenal glands may result in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Sugary foods and drinks: High and regular consumption of foods such as candies, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, sweetmeats cause rapid rise in blood sugar and then a sudden drop (low blood sugar) leaving you physically and mentally tired later. In the long term, sugar may deplete your body of nutrients such as B vitamins, which play an important role in the generation of energy, leaving you exhausted. Reduce your craving for sugary snacks by making sure you eat regular meals, thereby avoiding low blood sugar. If you need a snack, choose a low sugar alternative.

Alcohol: It works in the same manner as high sugary foods in the body; it gets rapidly released in the bloodstream and leads to problems of low blood sugar later. Many alcoholic beverages contain substances called congeners that contribute to hangovers and also deplete the body of energy. Try diluting wine with water or adding extra non-alcoholic mixers to alcohol to reduce the alcohol content of your drink.

Unhealthy weight loss diets: These diets are low on nutrients and do not supply sufficient energy. However, getting energy from our diet is a complex process and not simply a matter of putting the right foods in our mouth.

Watch out and improve your…

  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Digestion
  • Level of physical activity

‘Good Food Bad Food: A Guide To Smart Nutrition To Improve Health And Well-Being’ by Hena Nafis has been published by Adhyyan Books.


Last updated on 13.08.22, 02:26 PM

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