Certain foods can promote inflammation and cause you to feel tired, sluggish or bloated. They might even be the reason you feel like you need a big cup of coffee or caffeine boost to get through the day.
Founder of US healthy food chain Urban Remedy, Neka Pasquale, promotes eating smaller, plant-based, organic meals filled with phytochemicals to support vibrant health and higher energy levels.
“I believe that a better way to eat for energy is to enjoy plant-based foods that are as close to their natural state as possible,” Pasquale said.
“Some of my favourite sources include organic fruits and nuts, cacao, hemp, goji berries and chia, and healthy fats and powerful spices like coconut oil, turmeric, garlic, and ginger.”
Pasquale said to choose vibrant-coloured veggies that are in season, as they’re chock-full of powerful antioxidants, and to limit sugar and processed foods.
“Cut foods that contain the whites (white flour, sugar, potatoes), high-fructose corn syrup and omega-6 oils (soybean, corn, and sunflower oils),” she said.
“Do your best to ditch foods with preservatives, GMOs, processed meats and sugar-rich drinks, such as soda or highly-sweetened coffee drinks.”
Here are some food swaps to help get you start a healthier diet.
Go for green tea instead of a sugary coffee drink. Green tea is filled with antioxidants, balances blood sugar and provides a nice caffeine boost. Coffee drinks are high in calories and sugar, so they give you a quick buzz with a big crash.
Instead of popcorn, choose a handful of organic nuts. Popcorn is high on the glycemic index and raises blood sugar levels. Almonds, on the other hand, contain healthy fats, which make you feel satiated and balance blood sugar levels for sustained energy.
Swap fruit juice for green juice. Fruit juice can raise blood sugar levels, while fruit-free green juice will boost your energy without all the sugar. It also has cleansing properties.
Instead of a doughnut or muffin, treat yourself to avocado toast. Donuts and muffins are made with refined white flour, which raises blood sugar levels and is usually devoid of nutrients. Avocado toast contains healthy fats, which will keep you feeling full.
Substitute noodles with zoodles or spaghetti squash. Zucchini noodles are very low in calories and carbs, while traditional pasta is high in carbohydrates. This can promote weight gain and bloat when you don’t need the extra energy.
Enjoy plain yoghurt with fresh berries instead of sugary yoghurts. A plant-based yoghurt with fresh fruit contains healthy fats. Add fresh berries for antioxidants and fibre, which will keep blood sugar balanced.
Load up on cauliflower, rather than potatoes. Mashed potatoes are full of carbs and raise blood sugar levels in the body, while cauliflower is super low in carbs and creates a rich, creamy version that still satisfies.
Order a veggie burger instead of beef and do your waistline a favour.
Drink kombucha instead of beer. Beer can make you feel bloated, while kombucha has beneficial probiotics that support healthy gut function.