Today’s post is all about using some key super-foods to keep your energy levels high and feeling great— especially as this beautiful summer weather invites us all out into being more active.
The 8 “summer super-foods” I discuss in this post will help you restore body’s balance and help supercharge your energy levels. You’ll love this list because all of these super-foods are easily accessible and not terribly expensive. Super-foods are in abundance from the nature all around us- and need not be from exotic locales.
Summer Super-food #1: Bananas
Who doesn’t love bananas? They’re sweet, travel-friendly, and can be eaten on their own or blended into smoothies. They contain vitamin B6 (gotta love those B vitamins), which helps your body produce energy more quickly. Bananas also soothe anxiety, which can also make you tired.
When you have work stress (you know you do, at least sometimes), or you’re just generally feeling anxious or you need a mid-morning pick-me-up without a cup of coffee (or a second cup, if you haven’t shaken the habit yet), peel a banana.
I also love bananas before and after physical activities. Their high nutrient density and ease of digestion makes them an idea pre and post workout food.
Summer Super-food #2: Melons
There are so many amazing varieties of melons available in the summer, and I love them all! Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Canary and more. Melons are an amazing source of vitamin C, antioxidants like lycopene (watermelons) or beta carotene (cantaloupe), and are probably the most hydrating fruit.
Because melons are so watery, hydrating and easy to digest, I highly recommend them as ideal foods to consume before or after activity. The only caveat is to be sure and consume melons on their own, as they do not digest well with other foods.
Just stick with one melon at a time, and eat it alone, apart from other foods for at least 1-2 hours. That will give you its greatest benefits.
Summer Super-food #3: Hot Peppers (and Spices, Too!)
Feeling sluggish or like your last meal didn’t digest as well as you’d like? No problem. Ginger tea (I personally recommend going a little heavy on the ginger because the benefits are extensive), or some cayenne will do the trick.
This is an especially good option in the summer, because because spicy foods actually cool your body down once the initial heat sensation wears off. Spicy foods also accelerate your digestion, which can be the best pick-me-up possible!
Lastly, if you’re not getting enough oxygen to your cells, you’re not exactly going to feel chipper. Eating spicy foods, like hot peppers (or even ginger or spices like curry), rev up your circulation and get that oxygen coursing through your veins.
Summer Super-food #4: Leafy Greens
An iron deficiency is one of the things that will keep you fatigued even if there’s nothing crazy going on in your schedule. And guess what? Leafy greens contain iron and the vitamin C that iron needs to be utilized in the body. This is possibly why the Glowing Green Smoothie has been so revolutionary for so many people. But getting all this nutrition in the morning, instead of acidifying coffee, it totally changes the way your body starts the day and gives you energy all day long.
Of course, you can enjoy the GGS as your morning boost or in the afternoon when you need to power through the rest of the day.
Iron is a critical mineral for energy, and the leafy greens inside are incredibly rich in iron. If you’re tired at all during the day, give the GGS a try. Actually, just give it a try anyway! You won’t regret it.
If it’s lunchtime, have a big salad with romaine, spinach, or kale to give yourself an easily digestible boost. Or enjoy some soup, like the GGSo.
Summer Super-food #5: Bee Pollen
We love bee pollen around here. There’s even an Energy in a Spoon recipe with two simple ingredients designed to give you quick energy when you need it. Rumor has it, the Chinese have eaten bee pollen for energy for centuries. It’s packed with B vitamins, amino acids, minerals and antioxidants.
Going out for a nighttime social obligation? This is your secret weapon. Afternoon slump? Same thing. Power through that last bit of work of the day so you can leave on time.
One caveat: You can’t just stick a tablespoon of this super-food in your mouth on the first day. Since allergies are a risk with pollen, only have a few granules at first and then increase it daily, little by little.
If you do have a pollen allergy, it’s best to avoid, and again, if you are new to it or are not sure about allergies, start slowly. But just because you have a bee allergy don’t mean you are allergic to pollen or bee pollen. Both my dad and husband have bee allergies, and regularly consume bee pollen!
Summer Super-food #6: Coconut Oil
A drizzle of this delicious oil is the only other ingredient in the Energy in a Spoon recipe. Coconut oil is quickly processed into energy.
Bonus: In my experience, the Energy in a Spoon works as a natural appetite suppressant to some extent. When you find yourself hunched over your desk mid-afternoon, fighting off the urge to visit the vending machines or you’re worried about eating too much while you’re out with friends, mix this up.
Summer Super-food #7: Chia Seeds
More than the basis for an immobile, leafy little pet, chia seeds are versatile super-food superstars. Toss them in a smoothie or whip up a chia seed pudding. (My Chia Seed Delight is a favorite recipe of many, especially during the summer!)
If you’re feeling tired because you’re dehydrated, these will also help because they absorb 10-15 times their weight in water and then help prolong your hydration. This is exactly what indigenous people used chia seeds for — they would consume them before long treks in order to have long lasting energy.
How do they work their magic? They are packed with fiber and nutrients and help balance blood sugar levels and slow the conversion of starch to sugar in the body so energy levels stay stable. No more roller coaster rides related to blood sugar ups and downs.
Summer Super-food #8: Raw Veggies
I realize this one’s kind of general, but when you eat raw vegetables, they introduce extra enzymes to your system for whatever comes next in your meal. That means digestion’s less taxing and that frees up more energy for you to carry on through the rest of the day and then make it to yoga class after work. Have them any time of the day.
Click here is you want to improve your digestive health!
You can eat your raw veggies in salad form or just have a few celery sticks or some raw broccoli before your meal. You may even want to try the Raw Chickpea-Free Hummus (or my Mellow Yellow Squash Dip!), if you’re looking for an appetizer that’s a little more interesting than the salads you usually eat (it’s nice if you’re getting together for a meal with friends and everyone’s bringing something). It’s made from—you guessed it—raw veggies (zucchini, to be exact).
To be sure, these are excellent options that use veggies that are abundantly in season during the summer months. You can get them at your local store, or even more inexpensively at your local farmer’s market.
Get Your Energy from These Summer Super-foods!
You have at least a couple of these things in your pantry or refrigerator right now, right? And you easily can find them at your local store or farmer’s market! I would go out and keep them stocked in your fridge, as much as possible.
Making these foods a part of your summer diet will help you feel light and stay energized, so that you actually want to get outside as much as possible and enjoy all the beautiful weather.
Do you have any foods you personally love and rely on during the summer? What are your faves? I’d love to hear from you!
In love and health,
Leafy Greens and Coconut Oil – By far my favorites! 🙂 Sautee them together – YUM!
Yes! Greens and coconut oil go very well together. Yum is right 🙂
Mmmm….these all sound wonderful! We just started buying ginger root not too long ago and my goodness, what a boost it can give you! My hubby was sick the other day, and I gave him some raw ginger to chew on. He went the whole afternoon feeling better:)
Awesome Michelle, yes ginger is my favorite. It is the king of all the hot spices and is especially good for your digestion.
Thanks for this post Kimberly. I sometimes have a few small chunks of ginger with my hot lemon drink first thing in the morning. Is that ok or is it better to have just lemon as the morning cleansing drink?
Yes, that is fine. If anything, the ginger will help kickstart your digestion in the am and is very beneficial. Go for it!
I really enjoy your chia seed delight it is a really nice treat Thanks Kimberly for all your great receipes xxx
You’re very welcome Chiara, thanks for being part of this!
Thanks for all that great info. I have been a little afraid to try bee pollen because I am allergic to bee stings, but I’m going to give it a try now.
I’m discovering that I have a Pitta body type with Vata messing it up (aka a neurological disorder). So, I have to stop a lot of the BD (sour) things – enzyme salad, lemons, raw vegetables, etc. However, there are so many things I can use – bee pollen, bananas, chia seeds (Chia Delight – YUM!) – I love taking what I have learned from you and combining them with an Ayurvedic lifestyle and doing what works for my body type and health issues. Confusing at times, but that’s when I tune into what I feel like my body is telling me to eat, how to exercise . . . . Thanks for all your help and steering me towards Ayerveda health. For the first time in 10 years, I am not on medication (for over a week) and (am working on) feeling amazing. 😉
Hi Jeanne…so happy to hear that following the Beauty Detox lifestyle and Ayurveda approach has made improvements in your overall health. Keep up the great work. Sending lots of love and support! 😉