What is the healthiest source of energy? There are a plethora of answers to that question. For clarity, we’ll go into five popular ways people get their energy and what their major pros and cons are.
Vegetables might be the most underrated low-calorie food in the world. They’re rich in so many different nutrients and fiber, which both promote weight loss and intestinal health. They also come in tasty varieties and are usually low on the glycemic index.
Now, you’ll note that we said “low-calorie” food. That’s because you can’t just go to McDonald’s, throw a salad at your plate, and call it good. You have to make sure that certain vegetables are good for you. A general rule of thumb is the darker the color of the vegetable, the better it is for you. The healthiest vegetables include spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and cauliflower.
Fruit is another highly underrated source of nutrition. It’s usually low on the glycemic index and is a great source of fiber and vitamins. Even if you’re trying to lose weight or watch carbs for some reason (e.g., diabetes), don’t discount fruit as a viable way to get your energy.
Fruit is also important to get into the habit of eating, especially if you can’t seem to get started in the morning. Getting a nice banana or something in your stomach when you wake up can make your morning routine much more tolerable. Keep in mind that fruit is still good to eat later in the day, but not as a substitute for real food.
Whey protein is one of the most nutritious and calorie-dense foods out there. Just one serving will meet your needs for protein, and its caloric density is high enough that you won’t feel hungry. Whey protein is also usually lower on the glycemic index, meaning that it won’t spike your blood sugar too high. And if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain muscle mass, whey protein is one of the best diet tools out there.
Fat, contrary to popular opinion, is actually a staple in any diet. It’s fatty acids that your body uses to make cholesterol and various other compounds you need for good health. Some fat is essential for any diet.
Part of the reason that people think that fat is bad is that they eat too much bad fat (e.g., trans fats). That’s why it’s important to eat healthy fats, like those found in avocados, salmon, and olive oil.
Caffeine is an effective energy boost, but it’s also a stimulant. Some people overdo it, which can lead to headaches and jitteriness. That said, you don’t have to start out with a large amount of caffeine to get the benefits of it. A little bit of caffeine can be just enough to give you that extra “oomph.”
Coffee does have some good benefits for health; it’s one of the best sources of antioxidants. It also has some other antioxidants that protect you from environmental influences. Last but not least, it’s a great source of caffeine, so it can help get you started on your day.