With so much to packed in to each and every day of our busy a lifestyles, it's quite easy to fall into the trap of regularly consuming caffeine and low-quality carbohydrates for daily energy.
For a long time, the traditional western ethos has been carbs for "long lasting" energy and sugar and caffeine for "instant" energy. Don't believe me? Take a look at the average breakfast:
- Juice (sugar)
- Coffee (caffeine)
- Cereal/oats/toast (carbs)
The idea here is to supply the body with everything it needs for a few hours until lunch. Only for your blood sugar levels to dip and you start feeling tired and hungry again and in need of more of the same.
However, many people are starting to reject the notion of consuming carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine as reliable sources of energy. And for good reason too. Carbohydrates (including sugar) spike your blood sugar levels and consume alot of internal body energy to digest. That's because simple carbohydrates (like white bread and sugary foods) are broken down by the body into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream. This rise in glucose triggers your pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is what converts that glucose into energy. However, excessive or long-term reliance on this sort of energy can lead to a host of problems including insulin resistance.
Coffee on the other hand is a highly concentrated source of caffeine which is not only addictive but only provides short-term energy, leaving you with that infamous 3pm caffeine "crash".
The reality is that your body needs a clean energy source for long-lasting sustainable energy without the addiction or crashes. Nutrient-dense Superfoods are all about efficiency. Not only do they pack more sustenance per kilojoule than other foods, but they also have other properties that directly support the immune system, reduce inflammation, support mental health, and boost energy, stamina and longevity. Because of this, they nourish our bodies on a very deep level, and are naturally packed with energy and mood-enhancing benefits.
1. Sacha Inchi Protein
Sacha Inchi is a small shrub-like plant native to the Amazon Rainforests in Peru. Cultivated and consumed for centuries by the Inca tribes, the Sacha Inchi plant bears a small star shaped fruit containing nutrient-dense seeds. Theses seeds served as an habitual source of vital nutrients and better health. Along with a being a complete protein, Sacha Inchi is high in Omega-3, with around 50% of the fat from seeds. Combined with the high quality protein, this "good fat" serves as a reliable, sustainable source of energy, particularly for the brain. Sacha Inchi protein powder is also highly digestible, easy on the stomach and has a delicious nutty taste. Try adding some to your your yogurt in the mornings for a delicious nutritional boost.
2. Maca Root Powder
Legend has it that Incan Warriors consumed Maca Root before going into battle, such was it’s purported positive effect on vigor and stamina. It’s sometimes referred to as “South American Ginseng” and is one of the most widely studied Superfoods. Along with a host of health benefits, Maca has been shown to increase mental clarity, and improve stamina by supporting blood sugar levels and strengthening the adrenals. You can add maca powder to yogurt, smoothies, juices and energy balls and bars.
3. Matcha Powder
Matcha powder is made by grinding a specific type of Japanese green tea leaf into fine powder and has been used for centuries dating back as far as 618AD in ancient China. Green tea is one of the most thoroughly studied superfoods and has been implicated in benefiting almost every organ system in the body.
The caffeine in Matcha binds to the larger catechin molecules, that also act as powerful antioxidants, and is released into the bloodstream slowly over time. The result is a slow release of caffeine that provides sustained energy for up to 6 to 8 hours. This means when you consume matcha powder you'll get a constant, steady supply of energy without a crash like you would with coffee.
You can mix matcha powder into juices, smoothies and yogurt or with hot water as a tea.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the rare sources of healthy saturated fats. These saturated fats (MCTs) are an excellent fuel source for the both the brain and the body providing long-lasting "clean energy" by increasing ketones. There is a significant amount of research into MCTs and their ability to help improve cognitive function and brain health.
The great thing about coconut oil is it's an excellent cooking oil that remains stable when heated. Alot of other oils (particularly extra virgin olive oil) are actually not suitable for cooking as they have a much lower burning point.
Coconut oil is also an excellent natural skin moisturiser and a great way to nourish your pours naturally.
5. Raw cacao
Raw Cacao is one nature's most powerful superfoods containing an abundance of antioxidants, trace and key minerals, fibre and essential fatty acids. Raw cacao is one the most nutrient-dense food sources in the world and contains approximately 20 times more antioxidants than blueberries.
Unfortunately, chocolate often gets a bad wrap due to the commercialisation of cacao based snack products like the sugary packaged chocolate bars you find at the supermarket. However it's actually sugar, dairy and other additives that have been added to "regular" chocolate that make it unhealthy. Organic dark chocolate rich in raw cacao on the other hand contains very small amounts of sugar and is actually very healthy (in small amounts).
One of the best things about raw cacao powder is it's versatility. Not only does it taste great in just about anything but you can pretty much add to just about anything too. Add cacao powder in healthy sugar-free deserts, smoothies and yogurt and start feeling amazing health benefits.