As we grow older, we have less energy to participate in the things we love to do.
While, of course, changing your diet won’t turn it around entirely, being smart about what you eat can make a difference. And the more you get up and moving, the more energized you will feel!
Here are a few foods that can help set you on the right path.
- Melons and Berries– Ditch canned fruits or fruit juices, which often have large amounts of sugar and less fiber. Instead, go for whole fruits. Tufts University recommends deep-colored fruits like melon and berries since they pack more nutrients. Consider them for a healthy dessert.
- Broccoli and Carrots – The same Tufts study recommends these bright colored veggies for similar reasons: more nutrient-rich sources of energy and fiber. Have them as sides instead of potatoes or white bread.
- Quinoa – Try replacing some of your usual grains with this plant protein. It’s considered a complete protein since it contains all 8 essential amino acids. The food also has high levels of iron, fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, and other important nutrients.
- Nuts—Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and other nuts are a great source of protein, and they also help you feel full faster. So that means you don’t need to eat as many to get that energy boost you need. They are a great option for a between meal snack.
- Whole GrainBreads– Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for the body, but that doesn’t mean all carbs are created equal. Sugar in simple carbs can give a quick boost to energy levels, followed by a major crash. Look for whole grain breads that pack more complex carbs.
- Brown Rice, Oats, and Barley – Or just eat the whole grains themselves! Thesecomplex carbohydrates will have less of an impact on blood sugar levels and haven’t been stripped of their nutrients. Try a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, opt for brown rice instead of white in your favorite dish when eating out, or find a barley recipe to try.
- Cold-Water Fish – Halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, and sardines pack omega-3 fatty acids, which helps improve your mood, memory, and brain function. Studies have shown that these correlate to better energy levels. Instead of frying your fish, grill, bake, broil, or poach it for a healthier meal.
- Low-fat Yogurt or Cottage Cheese – Look for those without any added sugar. If you want something a little sweet, add fresh fruits instead. You’ll get the benefits of the energy boost without the yo-yo effect on your blood sugar levels.
- Low-fat Cheese– String cheese is a particularly easy snack to grab on the go! But you can also look for other options like part-skim mozzarella cheese.
- Water – Surprised to find this on the list? It may be the most important of all. Many people don’t realize that they’re dehydrated, which can have a major negative impact on energy levels.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other issues, keeping these conditions under check can make a big impact on your energy levels, too. It’s best to consult with your primary care physician or a nutritionist to find out what’s best for you before making any big changes.
About the author:Juliana Weiss-Roessler runs Weiss-Roessler Writing with her husband Josh. She often covers senior issues, specifically CCRC’s. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Along with her husband, Juliana lives in Austin, TX, with their two tiny-but-rambunctious dogs and one tiny-but-rambunctious baby boy.