What are the best foods for energy?

And how to balance your blood sugar levels

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Energy is obviously something we need for everyday life, it’s vitally important for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. But what are the best types of food that we can eat for energy? Food is not just a fuel, it’s not just a source of energy. It’s a way to show love for somebody, it’s something very culturally important, it’s important for the family as well e.g. the old tradition of breaking bread. Food is far more than just a source of energy. But let’s just isolate that one function of it for now. The key thing is that you eat slow release energy foods, not foods that cause very rapid blood sugar spikes and then will dump you back down again.

Look out for foods that are not refined carbohydrate or sugar rich as they are far more likely to send your blood sugars rocketing and then dump you back down. Typically, protein-based foods are better as they will keep you fuller for longer; whether that’s an animal or a plant-based source of protein. Also, find foods that are enjoyable; not bad for you but enjoyable because that’s also going to create energy for you. Food isn’t just about the calories and the macro/micro nutrients that go into the body. It’s also about how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel lively, energetic and good because you enjoy that food, that’s important. My last point is choose foods that you respond well to. 

Find foods that do not cause inflammation in the body, which is a real source of ill health, including things like depression as well as physical health. If there’s inflammation in the body, cells will be directed to that source of inflammation to try and get rid of it. That’s going to waste your energy. You also want to think about foods that go with your system. If you have genetically tested yourself, you’ll know your sensitivity to things like carbohydrate, saturated fat, gluten and lactose. Eating a diet that is tailored for you is important. Good food combinations can include things like protein and fats; don’t be afraid to put lots of fats into your diet: avocados, nuts, oils are really good source of fats, and they can be quite filling as well. Protein is also a really great source as I mentioned, and if you can combine protein maybe with carbohydrate, that’s not a bad combination. Perhaps eggs on toast after an exercise session is going to be a good combination because the protein will slow down the release of the carbohydrate.

In summary eat slow release, enjoyable food and foods that are totally tailored to you.

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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