It’s tempting to fill your mug with another cup of coffee for a boost of energy, but for longer-lasting pick-me-ups, reach instead for a “superfood.”
Superfoods are considered “super” because, bite for bite, they are packed full of more vitamins, nutrients and minerals than other foods and tend to boost mood and energy levels. Some superfoods include oatmeal, quinoa (see recipe below), fish, nuts and seeds (for long-lasting energy), legumes, leafy green vegetables (for mental health and energy) and dark chocolate (for mood and alertness).
Many superfoods are rich in B vitamins, omega 3s, folate, selenium, fiber, protein and magnesium. B vitamins help in energy production, and B6 and B12 have been linked to easing depression and insomnia and increasing energy levels. Folate and omega 3s are excellent sources for improved mental health and energy.
Pistachios in particular are a perfect snack; high in protein and fiber, with B vitamins, folate and magnesium, they keep you satisfied longer and provide a great deal of energy.
In addition to eating superfoods, reducing refined carbohydrates and sugar and increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet help boost energy and improve mood. Eating regularly (not skipping meals) and including a protein source at each meal and snack help to balance blood sugar and sustain energy.
Red Quinoa and Pistachio Salad
By Chris Linaman, executive chef at Overlake Medical Center
- 1 ½ cups organic red quinoa, rinsed
- 3 cups organic vegetable broth
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- ½ teaspoon coriander, ground
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
- 2 green onions, diagonally sliced
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, fresh
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (do this before you juice the orange)
- 2 tablespoons blood orange infused olive oil
Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear, drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside (off the heat) for five minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork, spread out on sheet pan and let cool.Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl. Add cooled quinoa and stir to coat. Adjust seasoning to personal taste.
Top with dollop of organic Greek yogurt, and enjoy!
Tip: Lightly toast whole cumin seeds, coriander pods and peppercorns in dry sauté pan to release maximum flavor, allow to cool slightly, then grind separately in CLEAN coffee grinder, reserving extra for future use.