Carbohydrates are the main energy source for your brain and muscles. They are broken down in our gut and released into our blood stream as glucose. This glucose is used by our brain and muscles as fuel. By supplying our body the carbohydrate it needs at meal times, we are supplying it with the fuel necessary to maximise energy levels and minimise fatigue.
The key to optimising energy levels is controlling your blood glucose levels. There are many ways of achieving this.
Firstly, when it comes to carbohydrate, it’s important to consider how much you need to eat for your size and activity levels (i.e. the quantity) and to focus on the type of carbohydrate you’re eating (or in other words the quality).
Plants contain carbohydrate, with starches providing more than fruit or veggies. It’s a good idea to ensure that half your meal is fruit or vegetables and allow starches to occupy ¼ of your plate. When choosing which starchy carbohydrates to include in your meal, always focus on two things... variety and fibre content. More often than not, the more natural it is the more fibre it will contain. So eat your carbohydrates as near to how they grew out of the ground as possible. For example, oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and bulgur are all excellent sources of carbohydrate and great suppliers of steady energy.
Another trick is ensuring balance... protein, fat and fibre help to slow down the release of carbohydrate from the stomach into the gut, thereby creating a steady absorption of glucose into the blood stream. There are foods that are naturally quite high in the necessary protein, fat and fibre such as nuts, seeds and avocado which, when added to meals, will have beneficial effects on energy levels. However, another trick is to ensure a healthy balance of the food groups at meal times. As half of the meal should be fruit or vegetables and ¼ starch, aim for the other ¼ of your meal to be a good quality source of protein.
Lastly, another tip is to add soluble fibre to meals. Soluble fibre forms a gel-like matrix in the stomach, thereby slowing digestion and the subsequent release of food from the stomach into the gut for absorption. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruit, vegetables, oats, linseeds or flaxseeds as well as chia seeds.
that protein’s Happy Happy Hemp and Baobab Super Protein is an excellent choice when energy is lacking. High in protein, it is also high in fibre and high in Vitamin C which is proven to help reduce tiredness and fatigue. Adding some to you favourite recipes will help you feel less tired.