6 natural body batteries

6 natural body batteries

You've got the perfect outfit for a good night out. You've got the hair, and the posse of friends.

Now all you need is the energy to get you through a long night jostling through throngs of sweaty bodies on the dance floor.

Most people pump up on coffee for the caffeine that triggers the release of adrenaline.

Yes, coffee will give you a boost but only in the short term. Once the effect wears off you could feel more tired than before.

There is no need to bank on energy bars or drinks to give that high either. Here are five natural foods that will help power your night out.

Red Meat

Red meat, such as beef (we're talking steak, not burgers) mutton, and even duck, is a rich source of proteins and vitamins.

Red meat is also high in iron, a compound in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen around the body to provide energy.

If you have too little iron in your body, your cells will suffer from a lack of oxygen and burn carbohydrates inefficiently, leading you to feel sluggish.

Add a high vitamin C drink like orange juice and it will help absorb the iron more efficiently.

Red meat is also an excellent source of a protein called carnitine.

Carnitine, which has its roots in the Latin word 'carnis', as in meat, helps the body convert fat into energy.

For vegetarians, folks from the University of Maryland Medical Center say avocados have a high carnitine count.

Nuts

Many bars stock peanuts as a snack. Although chock-full of energy they are usually salted.

Unsalted nuts are better, with almonds the best of the lot. They contain large amounts of manganese and copper, two minerals that are key components in energy production.

Manganese in particular is crucial in helping the body make proper use of the iron consumed through your diet. Too little manganese, and the body produces energy inefficiently.

Bananas

Sportsmen often turn to bananas to give them an energy boost.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - glucose, fructose and sucrose.

Glucose, the most easily digestible sugar, rapidly enters the bloodstream for a quick release of energy.

The New York University Langone Medical Center found that bananas can also help prevent muscles in your legs from cramping - perfect if you plan to spend the entire night on the dance floor.

They are an excellent source of potassium, which is necessary to stave off fatigue and muscle cramps.

Lentils

Like nuts, these contain a mix of protein and carbohydrates for that steady flow of energy.

But lentils are higher in fibre which slows the release of glucose energy, making them a slow-burn fuel for the body.

They are also a good source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and copper.

Spinach

The old cartoon character Popeye would chomp a can of spinach in emergencies for his muscle-man boost. It turns out that spinach really is a power food.

A study published in scientific journal Cell Metabolism early last year found the leafy greens are not only rich in iron but also in nitrates.

This is a chemical that improves the efficiency of the mitochondria - or the "power plant" of cells responsible for energy production.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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