To understand how foods increase brain power and physical stamina, we need to look for a minute at macro-nutrients. They are three categories in to which foods are placed.
All food is a mix of these three macro-nutrients. The breakdown for a banana for example is: 93% Carbohydrates, 4% Protein, 3% Fat. Out of the 100 or so calories that make up a banana, those are the respective percentages allocated to the macro-nutrients.
I choose foods that are high in carbohydrates. It’s important to mention that not all carbs are created equal. Foods that are high in fiber and contain natural unprocessed sugar along with that fiber, is the healthier option in comparison to a refined, processed, low fiber, sugary food. For example: Banana vs a waffle or an apple vs a donut.
Some foods can be deceptive. A plate of eggs, bacon, and toast is a standard American Diet breakfast. It can be very filling, but it doesn’t ward off cravings and hunger for long. This is because of the macro-nutrient breakdown. The fat percentage is extremely high, and fiber is very low.
A smoothie, depending on the ingredients you add, should have carbohydrates and protein significantly higher than fat. Fiber should be high too, pushing anywhere from 60-85% of daily requirements. At least those are my goals and the magic of fiber keeps carbs and sugars in check. They can’t give me a sugar high and then a subsequent crash. Fiber allows for steady metabolism.
Our bodies need a source of energy. Carbohydrates provide quick, usable material for the body to convert in to simple sugars that feed every cell in the body.
Proteins can also be converted in to sugar that the body can use for energy. The process, however, takes more time. This decreases energy as protein is not an excellent source of energy.
Too much fat in the diet can keep sugar in the bloodstream longer and that can be problematic for a variety of reasons. This zaps energy and stamina as well.
When we limit our carbohydrates, fats and proteins must go up. Remember, all foods are made up of those 3 macro-nutrients. They work together like 3 sides of a triangle. If one side is lacking, the other two have to make up the difference.
How we manage our macro-nutrients will show in our energy levels, ability to focus and concentrate, and cravings. Choose your food wisely.
Here’s one of my smoothie blends that tastes delicious and works as a meal any time of day.
Green Oats Smoothie
- 2-3 cups spinach
- 10 raw almonds
- 1 Tbs chia seeds
- 1 Tbs hemp seeds
- 2 Tbs organic rolled oats
- 1 tsp spirulina powder
- 1/4 tsp amla (Indian Gooseberry powder-optional)
- 1 ripe banana
- 3 Medjool dates
- 1 1/2 cup almond milk
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
What do your usual breakfasts look like? Do you eat out a lot or eat at home? Are your foods purchased ready-made or made from scratch?