The Top 5 Energy-Boosting Superfoods

Cacao

As you age, your body’s nutritional needs change — mostly because it processes the food you eat differently. Once you turn 40, your metabolism begins to slow down considerably. In addition, your hormone levels change and your blood pressure and cholesterol can go up — both of which can put you at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Of course, our daily routines don’t get any easier once we hit 40. Between family and relationship needs and work and social commitments, we can find ourselves multitasking like never before. All of this can mean that our bodies are over-taxed every day.

This is why it’s really important how you replenish your energy stores.

For the energy you need to cope with life’s demands after 40, look no further than nutrient-rich, “slow carb” whole foods. Not energy drinks (ever read their labels?) – or double espresso shots. These quick pick-me-ups are followed by an inevitable crash.

What your body truly wants is a real support. So instead of reaching for a quick fix for your energy crisis, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and be sure you choose foods that can supercharge your diet — and your day.

The following 5 superfoods are true “energy stars.” Years ago I learned to make them the cornerstones of my diet for a steady stream of energy that carries me throughout my day — and fortifies my long-range health. Here they are…

1. Spirulina

Spirulina has long been touted for its beneficial health effects — and for good reason. This blue-green algae is an excellent source of pure protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids and it is also a good source of vitamin B12.

Research shows that not only is spirulina a powerful source of sustained energy, it also has detoxifying properties… is a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties… is protective against stroke… reduces the risk of Parkinson’s Disease… improves cognition… and decreases symptoms of depression.

Want more? Okay: spirulina also protects the heart and reduces cholesterol… improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism… and increases your physical endurance, while reducing your fatigue threshold.

Spirulina is sold as a powder and in capsule form. I like the powder form because it’s easy to add to my smoothies.

2. Goji Berries

Berries top the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) charts as the ultimate anti-aging superfood. Their high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals are the best way to neutralize the destructive effects of free radical molecules and the oxidative damage they wreak on your cells and tissues. And in this regard, the goji is the King Berry.

Goji is packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the powerful phytochemicals lycopene and beta-carotene. Research suggests that goji berry juice can boost energy levels, improve mood, and increase metabolism. Chinese practitioners commonly use bright orange goji berries to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and combat age-related eye problems.

Eat them raw, cooked, or dried (like raisins) — or use goji berry extract in teas, juices, wines, and herbal medicines. Try tossing dried goji berries on top of your salad or breakfast cereal or add them to a trail mix. The dried berries are not very sweet, but I really like their pleasant, mellow taste.for more tips, go straight from the source.

3. Chia Seeds

Seeds are are full of protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates, essential fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Pumpkin, hemp, flax, sunflower, pomegranate, cumin, and sesame are all great sources of these nutrients, making them good choices to include in your diet. But there’s one seed that stands a cut above the crowd: the chia.

Yes, this is the same seed made the “hair” sprout on your Chia Pets and Elvis’ Doo in the 70s. What a waste! Those chia sprouts that you tossed into the trash are a fantastic “energy super food.” But who knew?

Chia seeds have a wide range of amino acids, making them a complete protein source and helping explain why they have such impressive energy-boosting properties. What’s more, just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain over 5000mg of omega-3 fatty acids — nearly twice as much as the same serving of flaxseeds. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and fiber.

After sitting in water, chia seeds combine to form a gel that soaks up fats in your bloodstream and moves them out of your body before they can lodge in your arteries.

The soaked seeds make a great egg substitute in baking and as a thickener for smoothies. The sprouts and the chia seeds themselves can be sprinkled directly on your salads for a nutty, protein-packed punch.

4. Maca

Known as “Peruvian ginseng,” maca is a vegetable resembling a turnip that grows in Andes Mountains in Peru. For over 3,000 years the root of the plant, which has a long history of boosting energy and endurance, has been cultivated and ground up to make medicine. Rich in calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, and B and C vitamins, maca shows promise for improving memory and cognition — and for decreasing anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women. In men, maca appears to be protective for the prostate. In both sexes, the root can be beneficial for maintaining bone health and as an aphrodisiac.

Maca has a grassy, dirt-like taste that you’ll want to mask. Try adding a teaspoon or two of the powder to your smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or use it in your baked goods.

5. Cacao

The botanical name for the tree that chocolate comes from, raw cacao (pronounced know-know) is loaded with flavanols, antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C and phosphorus. Studies have shown cocoa flavanols can improve blood flow, which helps to increase energy levels and contribute to improved cardiovascular health. Supplementation has also been shown to improve mood and produce a sense of calm.

Cacao

To reap the health benefits of the flavanols, stick with raw cacao powder, unsweetened cacao nibs, and unprocessed dark chocolate. I like adding the raw powder and nibs to smoothies. The powder also goes great in black bean soup and is a key ingredient in Mexican mole dishes.read important information at http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/energy-boosting-superfood-protein-shake/

There’s one thing to keep in mind, however: don’t get confused by the recommendation to add cacao to your diet as a message to “eat more chocolate.” Processed chocolate is high in saturated fat, sugar, and calories.

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