Part 2. Top Nutrition Tips For Eating To Maintain Energy
A subject I often get asked about is nutrition, and more specifically how to improve energy levels, but as a sports therapist, this simply isn't my area. So I asked my nutritionist to write a guest blog to help you get a better understanding with this 3 part blog covering the topic. Over to you Laura...
We’ve looked at the biochemical process behind blood-glucose balance in the body so now let’s consider some practical nutritional changes you can make to your diet to maintain a steady level, and keep yourself feeling energised. Here are a few of my top tips:
1. Eat at regular times and don’t skip meals. Your body likes routine and skipping a meal can cause stress – which can strongly impact blood-glucose balance.
2. Swap refined carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates – choose brown rice, bread and pasta, oats, quinoa, sweet potato, beans and legumes instead of white varieties, processed foods, cakes, sweets and biscuits. Complex carbohydrates are higher in fibre and will release energy slowly – they should keep you going for longer. As an added bonus they’re higher in nutrients than refined carbohydrates which are often stripped on many of their vitamins and minerals.
3. Load up on vegetables at mealtimes – vegetables are high in fibre which slows digestion, reducing the speed at which glucose is released from your meal.
4. Include some protein with every meal – chicken, turkey, fish and seafood, Greek yoghurt, quinoa, beans and lentils, tofu. Protein is also digested slowly and will keep you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer.
5. Include healthy fats with each meal – oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, for example. Like protein, these help keep you satisfied and are digested slowly. Fatty acids in these foods also have anti-inflammatory properties which are useful for exercise recovery.
6. Exercise recovery – give your body the best chance to get back to homeostasis, the state at which all systems are working ‘normally’. Exercise is hugely beneficial to the body but does cause stress, which has a big impact on blood-glucose balance. Try incorporating stretching or yoga at the end of your exercise routine to help bring levels of cortisol (stress hormone) back down and support your blood-glucose with a protein snack or shake and a small portion of complex carbohydrate (e.g. a banana) within 45 minutes of finishing your exercise.
Balancing blood-glucose through diet is a great place to start when it comes to energy but there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and there may be other factors involved – for example, chronic stress or digestive issues. If you’re concerned, you can speak to your GP or get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more personalised nutrition support.