With Christmas just days away, most of us are in need of a little energy boost. Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton shares her top seven energy-boosters to see you through the festive season.
We all know the feeling when we’ve had one too many late nights enjoying the indulgences of Christmas and we find ourselves reaching for the coffee. The good news is that certain foods can help give us a little boost without the need for caffeine. Here are nutritionist Amanda Hamilton’s seven favourite energy-boosting foods to tuck into during the festivities.
1. Edamame beans
Instead of the usual crisps and cheese straws we often opt for at Christmas time, edamame beans are a great snack. They’re packed full of B-vitamins, which help to break down carbs into glucose for fuel, and they’re also high in fibre to gently nudge digestion.
2. Sourdough bread
Low energy levels could indicate a food intolerance (most commonly, wheat), as the digestive system is unable to get adequate nutrients from certain foods. The wild yeast and lactobacillus in sourdough help to neutralise what’s known as phytic acid, making sourdough easier to digest than your usual leftover Boxing Day doorstop sandwich.
Everyone knows that oats are a great source of slow-release energy, but it’s less well known that they increase the production of melatonin – a hormone that helps to control sleep cycles, helping you to sleep better and giving you more energy. They’re also packed with magnesium and B vitamins, both a vital part of the body’s energy requirements – a bowl of power-packed porridge with a sprinkling of dried cranberries makes a very tasty breakfast indeed.
By eating plenty of iron-rich foods over the festive period, you can help reduce the risk of iron deficiency (or anaemia), which can lead to low moods and lethargy. Venison has a significantly higher amount of iron per 100g when compared to other types of meat, and supermarkets now stock a broad range of game meats, including venison joints, sausages and even healthy venison burgers. Venison is also a great source of protein, which helps control blood sugar and makes a change to the traditional turkey.
Unsalted nuts are ideal for a natural energy and nutrient boost, and are packed full of protein and good fats for longer-lasting energy, so are a better option for Christmas Day nibbles than bowls of crisps and sausage rolls.
Though eggs are known to be a good source of protein, many people don’t realise that they’re also low in calories and help to support steady energy release. Plus, studies show that if you eat eggs in the morning you’re likely to eat fewer calories (goose-fat potatoes) during the day, so it’s well worth tucking into those scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on Christmas morning.
Bananas contain around 100 calories each and are low on the glycemic index, meaning they release their energy slowly, especially if they’re slightly under ripe. Bananas are also a good source of magnesium, a key mineral for brain function. For a comforting, energy-boosting pudding, try baking a banana with some frozen berries and a sprinkle of Christmassy cinnamon instead of leftover Christmas pud.
So, there you have it – seven of the best energy-boosting foods to give you that extra blast during the Christmas season.
Need a little immunity boost? Try incorporating some of these powerful vitamins and minerals to help ward off coughs and cold.