If the dreaded 3pm slump is a regular in your workplace, it’s time to power up your energy levels and load up on fatigue-fighting foods.
Here are 10 smart foods that will help boost your energy, keep you feeling active through the afternoon and bring you back up to speed.
Keep these foods in the fridge at work or at home and mix them up when you’re in need of a power-up. They’ll help you to avoid the energy rollercoaster.
Let’s start with an easy one: water. It is undeniably one of the most essential substances on earth. It’s necessary for the functioning and growing of everything on our planet – including our bodies. We need to drink water on a daily basis, yes, I said daily! Water helps carry nutrients and oxygen to cells which can help fight fatigue and nausea. We often get headaches from dehydration so remember to keep drinking throughout the day. You should be aiming to drink around eight to ten cups per day. I suggest carrying around a water bottle or making a habit of drinking herbal tea throughout the day.
2. Fresh Tuna
While tuna isn’t a fighting fish, it sure does put up a good battle against fatigue. Tuna is full of omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower cholesterol and even reduce risk of heart disease. It’s also high in protein, vitamin B6 and niacin. This means it can help convert food into energy, so you can boost your fuel to last you till you can clock-out at the end of a long day. You can keep some home-cooked pieces in the fridge or if you prefer salmon, then keep my delicious Salmon Chowder in a thermos.
3. Fresh, Seasonal Produce
Okay, maybe I’m cheating here a little – I just have too much I want to include in this list! Eating according to the seasons helps you retain all of the nutrients, flavours and colors of fresh produce. Eating seasonal produce means that what you’re eating is at its maximum nutrient potential.
How does this work? Well, when a vegetable is only available seasonally, they store this product and transport it, asnd this rapidly decreases its nutrients. By eating in season, you get the biggest bang for your buck! Eating seasonally will make you feel much more awake and you’ll have the added bonus of a beautiful colourful plate. If you work indoors, bring a big salad with chopped veggies and fruits to nibble on for a bright injection of energy.
Do you remember how Popeye used to get big and strong after consuming a can full of spinach? While spinach won’t instantly give you muscles, it can help boost energy and fight fatigue. Spinach is high in iron, magnesium and potassium. Magnesium and potassium play a role in producing energy and regulating digestion, nerve and muscle function. Add some spinach to your favourite salad or throw it in a smoothie before work and drink it throughout the day for an ultimate energy hit. To boost iron absorption, add some vitamin C like lemon, tomatoes, strawberries or oranges
Speaking of iron, mushrooms can provide almost 50 percent of your daily iron needs. Our bodies use iron to transport oxygen within the bloodstream. Without efficient oxygen, we can often feel fatigued and lethargic. So, if you have a few mushrooms in your lunch box, you can be sure you’re fueling your body with iron to help transport oxygen and help your organs work more effectively. If you’re looking for ways to include more of these magical funguses in your diet, you can try out my Sautéed Scallops with Mushroom and Spinach.
6. Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Indeed, you’re in need of some seeds! Both pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas), and sunflower seeds can help you reach your daily-recommended amount of magnesium. Seeds are also high in zinc, a crucial mineral that helps with cell growth, immunity and skin-health. Zinc deficiency can often cause low energy levels and contribute to adrenal or chronic fatigue. You can try adding seeds to sprinkle on to soups, like I do in my Baked Veg and Garlic Soup with Toasted Seeds or eat a quarter of a cup of seeds as a snack.
Another one of my favourite snacks to beat fatigue are nuts. These high-energy boosters are packed with nutrients. I recommend eating raw, unsalted nuts that are free from processing to gain all of their benefits. If possible, try and soak your nuts overnight in water to activate them.
Activating nuts starts the germination or sprouting process, increasing the nutrient value of the nuts and making them a lot easier to digest. Try my moorish Sea Nuts, made with lime and sardines!
Let’s talk about probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria we want in our gut to enhance our micro flora and let it thrive. Probiotics also enhance our immunity and assist in digestion which in turn, leads to the ultimate recipe for fatigue-fighting. Add a dollop of natural goat’s milk yoghurt, coconut yoghurt or full fat yoghurt to your breakfast, favourite salad or on top of a curry to get an amazing calcium boost and huge dose of probiotic goodness.
9. Sweet Potatoes
If you’re looking for another reason to eat sweet potato fries, this is it! These sweet veggies are rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D — which all help increase energy levels and resist tiredness. The greatest thing about sweet potatoes (besides their scrumptious taste) is how versatile they are. You can mash them, roast them, grill them, steam them, put them in a salad, add them to a soup or chuck them in a curry.
When you’re in need of some energy, I know EGGSactly what you need! Eggs are the highest source of complete protein. They can provide a crazy 30 percent of your daily protein needs. Eggs are a great post-workout snack or meal to help recover your muscles after exercise and give you a much-needed energy boost. You can boil some eggs, leave them in the fridge and snack on them or add them to a salad.
Including these fatigue-fighting foods are sure to keep the 3pm slump at bay, promote enduring energy and keep you alert and focused all day. For a beautiful dinner option to be raring to go the next day, why not try my ginger-seared tuna with avocado and pea mint smash.