The type of food you choose is also important for optimizing your energy level. When you eat carbohydrates, make the majority of them high quality: whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables and beans.
All carbohydrates supply your body with energy in the form of glucose, also referred to as blood sugar. High-quality carbohydrates provide you with sustained energy because they help keep your blood sugar stable.
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Low-quality carbohydrates such as white bread, corn flakes or candy, which are more processed, have little or no natural fiber and are usually higher in sugar, cause your blood sugar to spike. This gives you a burst of energy for a short period of time (typically 20 to 30 minutes). Then your blood sugar rapidly drops, leaving you feeling tired and drained.
Use sugary foods as an occasional treat, not a replacement for a mid-day meal or snack. High-quality carbohydrates are also superior because they have abundant and naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. Fiber is important for digestion and helps to maintain a controlled absorption of glucose, keeping you feeling full.
More: 6 Ways to Get Your Fiber Boost
The best way to keep your energy level stable is to eat a combination of high-quality carbohydrates with a lean protein source or heart healthy fat.
Below is a list of high-quality carbohydrates to help keep you energized:
- Fruits (fresh, frozen, unsweetened)
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Wheat berries
- Whole grain cereals
More: Why Are Carbs Important?