September 11, 2017
Sujetha Shetty , In-House Nutritionist, Gympik
Picture this: You are on a beautiful, long drive. The roads beckoning, the weather gods smiling. And then, your car runs out of gas. How frustrating! Well, that’s pretty much what happens with our bodies on a daily basis. There’s simply no stamina to go through the rigours of the day, day after day.
And the first casualty is the gym, for who has the energy for a workout? But, is there an easy remedy to tackle this problem? Absolutely. With the intake of the right foods you can increase your ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. Nutrients like complex carbohydrates, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and vitamins are the energy boosters that help your body live up to the relentless challenges of life. Here’s a list of 8 power foods to keep you high on stamina, so that you don’t compromise on fitness.
1. Brown Rice
Although carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body, not all carbs are good. For better stamina, you need to increase your intake of complex carbs. They are known to release energy slowly into the blood, ensuring optimal energy levels through the day. Brown rice fits the bill perfectly. A great source of complex carbs, it is also rich in fibre and Vitamin B complex. Unlike white rice, brown rice has less starch, making it easier to digest. In other words, your belly will feel full for longer, giving you energy to brave the day.
An essential nutrient for the growth and repair of muscle and body tissues, proteins are vital for building stamina. They not only help burn calories, but also kick in a sense of being sated. Eggs are counted among the best sources of protein on the planet, with the highest biological value. Packed with all the nine essential amino acids, an egg a day promises to keep the fatigue away!
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the optimal functioning of the body and brain. But their deficiency is worryingly common and usually presents itself in the form of symptoms like chronic fatigue and poor memory. Of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids, two – EPA and DHA – are primarily found in fish, especially fatty fish like salmon and tuna. They are also rich in proteins and vitamin D. Did you know that 100 grams fish contains almost 50 per cent of the daily requirement of proteins for an average adult?
4. Green Leafy Vegetables
The lack of stamina could very well be a symptom of iron deficiency. In the absence of adequate iron – needed to make hemoglobin – the body struggles to carry out its everyday functions, as there’s not enough supply of oxygen in the body. Green leafy vegetables are saviours. Packed with iron and fibre, they augment your RBC (red blood cells) count, aiding proper circulation of blood and oxygen to the body. What’s more, veggies like spinach act instantly to release short-term energy, thereby improving stamina. Now you know why Popeye swore by it!
5. Citrus Fruits
Nothing saps your energy like a bout of cold and cough. Infections, no matter how innocuous they may seem, always have a way of getting you down-and-out. The best way to beat the odds is to boost your immunity with generous doses of Vitamin C. Studies show that citrus fruits – rich in Vitamin C – help improve energy levels, by cleansing the body of toxins and improving immunity. Have a long day at work? Treat yourself to a fresh orange or lime juice.
Snacking can help fight fatigue, provided you do it right. Instead of gorging on those samosas or chips – which end up making you more sluggish – opt for a snack that’s high on energy and nutrients.
Bananas are considered the best pre-workout snacks. A rich source of potassium, complex carbohydrates and fibre, they are renowned for their energy-boosting powers. Besides, they also increase the release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone in the body, to make the task at hand seem less exhausting.
7. Peanut Butter
Another super snack that acts as a reservoir of energy is the good ol’ peanut butter. Rich in heart-healthy fats and proteins, peanut butter – when consumed with complex carbs – is known to keep hunger at bay, while boosting stamina in a jiffy. Now, that’s what we call power snacking!
Whenever you sense your energy levels dipping, reach for some almonds. These nutrient-dense nuts help in boosting metabolism, thereby improving your stamina. The icing on the cake is that a handful of almonds – powerhouse of healthy fats – not only keep your brains and bones strong, but also aid in weight loss.
Stamina and fitness go hand in hand. Give your body the nutrients it needs, work out regularly, and you’ll see how all that weariness becomes a thing of the past. Once the fuel is taken care of, you can enjoy the drive!