January is the month when many people may start thinking about new healthy habits as they head into the new year.
For some, goals may include eating habits. According to Google Trends, online search engine queries for the term “diet” have increased through late December 2021 and into the current month.
Exercising requires energy, and some may wonder what food they can eat in order to boost their energy levels. People may consider consulting their health care provider before making any changes to their diet.
However, while some foods are associated with energy more than others, there is no such thing as a magic food, Elizabeth Mayer Davis, chief nutrition officer, and director of the Nutritional Obesity Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel. Hill, said NEWSWEEK.
“Energy metabolism, and thus the energy you feel, is a function of many biological processes, minute to minute throughout the day,” she said. “There are no magic foods.”
Carbohydrates are important
This does not mean that certain foods will not help. Carbohydrates are a useful food group for fueling the body, as they can be quickly converted into glucose for energy, according to WebMD.
This means that eating a carbohydrate snack before a workout may be a good idea for a quick burst of energy.
The science behind this is how easy it is to digest. Simple carbohydrates, which are made up of one or two sugar molecules, can easily be used for energy — although their rapid digestion rate means a rapid rise in blood sugar may be followed by a crash, according to Healthline.
Complex carbohydrates, which are made up of more sugar molecules, take longer to digest and can provide a steady source of energy throughout the day. Healthline adds that this may include oats, legumes, and starches.
“In general, carbs are digested and metabolized for energy faster than protein or fat, so this can be important for getting energy for exercise,” Mayer-Davies said.
Eat a varied diet
Mayer-Davis added that though, all foods give energy in the form of calories, and a healthy, mixed diet is the way to go.
“For daily well-being and good energy, focus on a healthy eating pattern that includes whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein especially fish, and healthy fats, such as olive oil,” she said.
“Be sure to eat a variety of foods, and make sure you only consume as much food as you need to be at a healthy weight.”
This is confirmed by the UK’s National Health Service, whose website states that “there is no evidence that a single food can provide an energy boost” and that “the best way to eat to maintain your energy levels is to follow a healthy, balanced diet.” .”
He adds that eating at regular intervals may help people maintain energy levels more easily, and that low iron may lead to iron deficiency anemia that can make people feel tired.
The Health Service adds that starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, cereal, pasta and rice are a good source of energy, and advises people to go for wholegrain or wholegrain varieties where possible.