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February 22, 2023

10 Powerful Greens and Superfoods for Sustained Energy and Increased Performance

Greens and superfoods can have a powerful impact on our energy levels, helping to reduce fatigue, increase alertness and enhance overall vitality. Foods such as cacao, rhodiola, moringa, chaga mushroom, hemp and sea buckthorn berry are known for their energizing properties, making them valuable additions to any diet looking for sustained energy, all day.

How Our Bodies Produce Energy:

How much energy someone has is often a good indicator of their overall health. Energy production in the body is a big subject, but we’ll try to break it down without making you feel like you’re back in a high school chemistry class. 

In a nutshell, your body produces most of its energy from the three macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates). Your body produces energy which is then supplied to all cells including muscle cells by ATP generated from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. 

Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and then uses glucose as fuel. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel or energy, followed by fat. This means, the body usually converts carbohydrates into energy before using fat. 

When there are not enough carbohydrates available, the body will begin using fat stores as an alternate source of energy. Fats are used for energy after they are broken into fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the blood. 

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies, and in the food we eat. When fatty acids are ingested, they produce twice as much energy as carbohydrates

Protein can also be used for energy production but its first job is to help with making hormones, building muscle and other tissues needed to repair your body after damage or stress. Proteins take longer to break down in the body, in turn, causing energy from protein to be released much slower.

Our understanding of the complex chemistry between carbs, fats and protein and how they work in the body continues to expand as our science improves. For example, in the 1980s, the general public was warned that fat was the major cause of obesity and heart diseases. 

However, in the following decades, new studies have begun to show that not all fat is “bad” and that eating a diet that’s high in “healthy fats” can actually improve overall health and wellbeing. 

In fact, you have probably heard some of the hype surrounding the “Keto diet” which is an entire lifestyle focused on encouraging the body to produce more of its energy from fats, instead of carbs. 

Proponents of the Keto diet believe there are advantages to getting energy from Ketones which are produced during “Ketosis”, a metabolic state that occurs when your body uses fat for energy instead of glucose. 

While there may be several benefits to the Keto diet and eating healthy fats, more information is needed to understand what long term effect these changes will have on the body. 

Although new research can lead to useful insights about how our bodies work, there is still a lot we don’t know about how to optimize macronutrients. While getting energy from fats has its obvious advantages, it’s also important to note that more research is needed to understand the long-term effect of low protein/low carb diets on the human body. 

 

Beyond macronutrients, there are numerous other nutrients (from greens and superfoods) that can improve energy production in the body that we will discuss below. 

10 Greens and Superfoods That Support Sustained Energy Levels

1. Cacao - the bean packed full of countless energy-boosting nutrients

Cacao provides heaps of energy and can help you combat fatigue. Cacao contains a number of nutrients that help improve blood flow to the brain and actively increase energy levels. Cacao powder is rich in magnesium - a cofactor for over 350 enzyme reactions in the human body, many of which involve energy metabolism. Magnesium optimizes our body’s use of oxygen, helping increase energy levels and burn calories. 

Cacao contains PEA (Phenylethylamine), which increases energy levels, alertness and concentration. Cacao also contains theobromine which is a mild natural stimulant that helps burn fat and boost serotonin levels.

2. Rhodiola -the adaptogenic herb for supercharging mental and physical performance

Rhodiola has been found to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of our body’s red blood cells. That makes it especially effective for boosting energy and improving stamina during times of stress. It can offset the increase in carbon dioxide and lactic acid, and the decrease in oxygen, helping to calm the body and even make us feel stronger. 

3. Chaga - the super mushroom for stamina and endurance (sustained energy)

In one study performed on mice, scientists observed that the animals given chaga mushrooms had longer physical endurance and were fatigued less quickly when compared to mice not given any of the mushrooms. 

Another study showed that chaga mushrooms could help boost the concentration of a molecule called AMPK, which is a critical part of energy pathways in the body. They hypothesized that this could be a factor in chaga’s awesome energy-boosting capabilities.

Chaga is rich in polysaccharides, a complex carbohydrate that causes long-term energy improvements. Chaga does not give a sudden jolt of energy when consumed, but instead provides a more gradual boost of energy throughout the day, allowing you to perform at your best for much longer. 

Another way in which chaga boosts energy levels is by increasing physical endurance. The nutritional content within chaga allows your cells to function more efficiently by getting oxygen and other nutrients to them faster. They also aid with recovery after exerting your muscles, meaning that chaga can aid you greatly if you work out or train regularly. 

Chaga may improve endurance and strength. Russians have been using it for centuries to boost strength and endurance (especially during the cold months). 

A 2015 animal study in the Journal of Chinese Medicine found that mice given chaga were able to swim longer. The theory is that the mushroom improved glycogen (stored energy) levels and reduced lactic acid (a by-product of strenuous exercise).

4. Coconut Water - outshines all popular sports drinks

Drinking coconut water is an excellent beverage to drink during and after a workout and may reduce fatigue and dehydration. Coconut water is rich in minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants that help to boost your energy levels. 

Coconut water is a natural alternative to any sports drink. It contains more potassium and electrolytes, less sodium and fewer carbohydrates than many sports drinks.

5. Hemp - the perfect lean protein

A healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids appears to be between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1 (30 Trusted Source31 Trusted Source). However, studies suggest that people who follow a typical Western diet may consume a ratio of between 15-to-1 and almost 17-to-1 (32) which could be leading to an epidemic of inflammation among North American consumers. Hemp is rich in essential omega fatty acids that support energy production in the body. Hemp contains the ideal ratio (3-1) of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.

6. Moringa - the superfood of all superfoods

Of all of the greens and superfoods, moringa is the superfood of superfoods. Moringa is a rich source of iron and calcium, both of which support energy-yielding metabolism. Iron is essential for the reduction of tiredness and fatigue in the body, and vitamin A, another nutrient moringa is rich in, supports the metabolism of iron, ensuring a greater uptake. 

Adding moringa to your daily routine is an effective, natural way to prevent tiredness and fatigue. The rich iron content of moringa powder also makes it ideal for vegans, vegetarians and those suffering from anemia.

7. Chlorella - a rare, natural source of vitamin B12

Chlorella boosts your energy by helping your body regenerate quickly and giving you the nourishment you need. In a recent study, chlorella was shown to significantly improve the ability of participants to saturate their lungs with oxygen, which is a measure of endurance. The placebo group did not experience any changes in endurance.

Chlorella contains one of the only naturally-occurring plant sources of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential in enabling the cells of the body to metabolize the glucose molecules they need to make ATP energy. 

So, while B12 doesn't directly provide energy, it does give the body the tools it needs to convert food molecules into energy. This means if you aren’t getting enough B12, boosting your levels may help you feel more energized.

8. Sea Buckthorn Berry - the legendary berry with 190+ nutrients

Sea buckthorn is a powerful wellspring of omega-7s and can assist with adrenal weariness. 

9. Cinnamon - the stimulating and brain-boosting spice

Cinnamon is a circulatory stimulant that promotes proper blood flow throughout the body, including the heart and brain, which can relieve fatigue and improve overall cognition. 

Several studies have shown that cinnamon provides a powerful boost to brain power that increases energy, focus, and alertness. Cinnamon also works to keep blood sugar levels stable, which in turn stabilizes your energy levels and prevents sugar spikes and crashes.

10. Monk Fruit - aka the “longevity fruit”

In a study, monk fruit extracts were successful in decreasing fatigue in exercising mice. The study was able to reproduce the results and prove that mice given the extract had extended exercise times. This study may provide further evidence as to why monk fruit has long been referred to as the “longevity fruit.”

Conclusion

Superfoods like cacao, rhodiola, moringa, chaga mushroom, hemp, and sea buckthorn berry have powerful energizing properties that not only reduce fatigue, but additionally increase alertness, physical performance and enhance overall vitality

Energy production is a complex process, and it's important to consider the quality of nutrients, not just the quantity. Including these incredible greens and superfoods into your diet could significantly improve your energy levels and subsequent production and performance whether in the office, the gym or just in general life.

Looking for a green superfood powder that contains all of the superfoods and greens above? Try nutrigaZm, a hemp protein powder made with 100% whole foods ingredients. 

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