Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - Winter 2009
A Better Way to Boost Energy
|Do you grab a caffeinated drink when your eyes start to droop midday? You’re not alone: Caffeine-loaded drinks are more popular than ever. But there are better ways to get energized.|
“Commercial energy drinks offer the promise of quick energy, and many of them deliver, but they don’t fix the real reason people are lacking energy,” says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam, 2008). “[They] may give you wings, but you’ll only fly a short distance.”
The problem, Grotto says, is that caffeine cranks out more of the hormone cortisol from the adrenal gland, and once you tap that out, all the caffeine in the world won’t give you more energy. “You can only go to that well so many times without replenishing it, and basic nutrition helps do that.”
The building blocks of natural energy drinks are the same as those that build your body: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains are slow-burning and long-lasting energy sources. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar so you have fewer energy peaks and valleys. And fats, especially heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, help fight stress, which can cause fatigue.
Ready to start mixing and blending? Here are some ingredient ideas, plus a basic recipe (right) to help you get the proportions right.
|Milk and soy milk: |
Liquids are the fluid foundation of energy drinks, and milk and soy milk provide protein, carbohydrates and fat rolled into one.
Yogurt is a thickener and source of protein, carbs and fat (unless you use fat-free). Try plain yogurt sweetened with honey.
Use fruit as a natural sweetener and source of carbs. Fruit juice is an option, but whole fruit is even better because it provides fiber, which helps curb the appetite and promote digestion.
Green tea has natural caffeine but also contains catechins, a group of flavonoids that help reduce inflammation and cell damage caused by energy-zapping stress.
As the “embryo” or sprouting part of the grain, it’s a concentrated source of vitamin E, folate and phosphorus. It provides a nutty flavor.
Flaxseed oil or ground flaxseeds:
Flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. “Omega-3 fat is a great energy booster, since it has been shown to fight depression, inflammation and stress,” Grotto says.
Natural almond and peanut butters are good sources of protein and fat. They also help thicken blended drinks and go best with banana-flavored drinks.
- 1 cup fruit (fresh or frozen)
- ½–¾ cup liquid (such as milk, soy milk, juice, green tea or water)
- ½ cup yogurt
Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes 1–2 servings.
- 1 teaspoon wheat germ
- 1teaspoon flaxseed oil
- 1–2 tablespoons nut butter
- ½ cup ice cubes
- Honey, to taste