Many people feel tired or rundown at some point during the day. A lack of energy could affect your daily activities and make you less productive.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the type and quantity of food you eat play essential roles in determining your energy levels during the day.
Even though all foods give you energy, some foods contain nutrients that could help increase your energy levels and maintain your alertness and focus throughout the day.
Best Foods To Give You More Energy
One of the best ways to lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight is to eat food that sustains your energy levels throughout the day. The following list gives you 25 common foods that have been chosen for their ability to provide the body with energy.
Bananas may be one of the best foods for energy. They’re an excellent source of complex carbs, potassium, and vitamin B6, all of which can help boost your energy levels.
Bananas are made up from three different types of sugar (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) which get absorbed into your blood at different speeds, meaning that you will get a quick boost of energy and won’t suffer a slump as the sucrose will keep your blood levels steady.
2. BROWN RICE
Brown rice is a very nutritious food. Compared with white rice, it’s less processed and retains more nutritional value in the form of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
A versatile ingredient, brown rice is a great food to have if you are running low on energy. It is rich in manganese, a mineral that helps your body produce energy from the carbs and protein that you consume, leaving you feeling energized for longer.
Additionally, thanks to its fiber content, brown rice has a low glycemic index. Therefore, it could help regulate blood sugar levels and promote steady energy levels throughout the day.
Eggs are not only a tremendously satisfying food but also full of energy that can help fuel your day. Starting your day with eggs, or choosing a hard-boiled egg as a snack are two easy ways to get lasting energy.
They’re packed with protein, which can give you a steady and sustained source of energy. The protein and healthy fats in the whole egg help to keep blood sugar levels stable. This is absolutely key to preventing afternoon slumps and sugar cravings which tend to come after carbohydrate dense foods are eaten.
Moreover, eggs are rich in B vitamins. These vitamins help enzymes perform their roles in the process of breaking down food for energy. Eggs are so versatile and can truly be eaten any time of the day. People shouldn’t miss out on this nutritional powerhouse or the energy benefits they can get.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world, and they’re a good source of carbs and fiber.
A medium-sized apple (100 grams) contains about 14 grams of carbs, 10 grams of sugar, and up to 2.1 grams of fiber. Due to their rich content of natural sugars and fiber, apples can provide a slow and sustained energy release.
Furthermore, apples have a high antioxidant content. Research has shown that antioxidants may slow the digestion of carbs, so they release energy over a more extended period of time.
Lastly, it’s recommended to eat apples whole to reap the benefits of the fiber in their skin.
Water is essential for life. It’s involved in many cellular functions, including energy production.
Not drinking enough water may lead to dehydration, which can slow bodily functions, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired. Dehydration can quickly sap a person of energy and have us reaching for food and often caffeinated beverages.
Drinking water could give you a boost of energy and help fight feelings of fatigue. Choosing foods such as citrus, frozen berries, cucumbers and fresh herbs can add a burst of flavor to water and release some of the nutritional benefits within those foods while providing hydration and therefore sustained energy.
You can avoid dehydration by drinking water even if you’re not thirsty. Try to drink water regularly throughout the day.
6. DARK CHOCOLATE
Everyone needs a little chocolate fix! Aim for dark chocolate with a cacao content of 75% or more as this indicates a higher amount of flavanols are present. Dark chocolate has a higher cocoa content than regular or milk chocolate. Pair with a cup of tea for a nutritious, satisfying treat that will give you that extra boost of energy you need to get through your day.
The antioxidants in cocoa have been shown to have many health benefits, such as increasing blood flow throughout your body. This effect aids the delivery of oxygen to the brain and muscles, which improves their function. This can be especially helpful during exercise.
Dark chocolate also contains stimulatory compounds, such as theobromine and caffeine, which have been shown to enhance mental energy and mood.
Oatmeal is one of the best sources of slow-releasing energy from low GI complex carbohydrates, to keep you going all morning.
It contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that forms a thick gel when combined with water. The presence of this gel in the digestive system delays stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood.
Oats are rich in vitamins and minerals that help the energy production process. These include B vitamins, which are needed to convert food into energy.
8. GREEK YOGURT
Yogurt is a great afternoon snack and can also serve as an on-the-go breakfast.
The carbs in yogurt are mainly in the form of simple sugars, such as lactose and galactose. When broken down, these sugars can provide ready-to-use energy.
Additionally, yogurt is packed with protein, which helps slow the digestion of carbs, thereby slowing the release of sugars into the blood.
Spinach is high in iron, magnesium, and potassium. Iron transports oxygen around the body, needed for energy production. Magnesium plays a vital role in energy production, and together with potassium, is important for nerve and muscle function.
Spinach is essential if you are craving an energy boost. A lack of iron in the body can decrease the oxygen flow to the brain, leaving you feeling fatigued. To avoid an energy slump add some spinach to your lunch, or alternatively, if you aren’t a fan of salad, add a few spinach leaves to your morning smoothie.
10. SWEET POTATOES
Aside from being delicious, sweet potatoes are a nutritious source of energy for those looking for an extra boost. Plus, sweet potatoes contain vitamins A and C for an immune boost too.
It’s a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates, along with iron and magnesium. Thanks to sweet potatoes’ fiber and complex carb content, your body digests them slowly, which provides you with a steady supply of energy.
11. FRUIT AND BERRIES
Fruits and berries provide natural sugars, which are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream for an instant pick me up (but without the ‘sugar crash’ you get after eating refined sugars). Fruits are also high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Nuts can be a great snack that’s packed with nutrients to promote energy. Most nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and cashews, are known for their high calorie density and abundance of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats.
Walnuts, in particular, are also high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants that can increase energy levels and help with inflammation and antioxidant protection.
Additionally, these nuts provide decent amounts of carbs and fiber for a steady and sustained energy boost.
Nuts also contain other vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin E. These can help increase energy production and decrease tiredness.
Beans are rich in nutrients and a great source of natural energy. Even though there are hundreds of types of beans, their nutrient profiles are very similar. They’re a rich source of carbs, fiber, and protein.
Beans are digested slowly, which helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and gives you steady energy. Additionally, beans contain antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and promote energy.
Black beans and black-eyed peas are among the most famous kinds of beans. These beans are good sources of folic acid, iron, and magnesium, which are involved in energy production and aid the delivery of energy to every cell in your body.
14. FATTY FISH
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are good sources of protein, fatty acids, and B vitamins, making them great foods to include in your diet. A serving of salmon or tuna provides you the recommended daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of fatigue. In fact, some studies determined that taking omega-3 supplements could decrease fatigue, especially in cancer patients and those recovering from cancer.
Furthermore, vitamin B12 works with folate to produce red blood cells and help iron work better in your body. Optimal levels of red blood cells and iron can reduce fatigue and increase energy.
Seeds, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds, could also increase your energy levels. These seeds are generally high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to increased inflammation and fatigue.
Seeds are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats and minerals involved in energy production – including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Zinc is needed for the production of hormones in the body that affect energy and mood. It is also important for muscle recovery after exercise.
Moreover, seeds are a good source of fiber. The fiber in seeds contributes to the slow digestion of their nutrients, resulting in a steady, sustained release of energy.
Coffee might be the first food you’d think to consume when you’re looking for an energy boost.
It’s rich in caffeine, which can quickly pass from your bloodstream into your brain and inhibit the activity of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that quiets the central nervous system. As a result, the production of epinephrine — a hormone that stimulates the body and brain — increases.
Even though coffee only provides two calories per cup, its stimulatory effects can make you feel alert and focused. It’s not recommended to consume over 400 mg of caffeine, or about 4 cups of coffee, per day.
Hummus is made with chickpeas, sesame seed paste (tahini), oil, and lemon. The combination of these ingredients makes hummus a good source of energy. The chickpeas in hummus are a good source of complex carbs and fiber, which your body can use for steady energy.
In addition, the sesame seed paste and oil in hummus contains healthy fats. These ingredients are also helpful at slowing the absorption of carbs, which helps you avoid blood sugar spikes.
You can enjoy hummus as a dip for veggies or in combination with other dishes, such as sandwiches or salads.
Thanks to all of all their significant health benefits, avocados are considered to be a superfood. For example, they’re rich in healthy fats, B vitamins, and fiber. About 84% of the healthy fats in avocados come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These healthy fats have been shown to promote optimal blood fat levels and enhance the absorption of nutrients. They can also be stored in the body and used as energy sources.
Additionally, the fiber in avocados accounts for 80% of their carb content, which can help maintain steady energy levels.
Beets have gained popularity recently due to their ability to improve energy and stamina. Studies have shown that beetroot may improve blood flow due to its antioxidant content.
Nitrates, which are compounds found in high amounts in beetroot and beetroot juice, help increase nitric oxide production and improve blood, allowing for increased oxygen delivery to tissues. This effect may increase energy levels, especially during athletic performance.
Furthermore, beets are packed with carbs, fiber, and sugar for a sustained energy boost.
Aside from being a great and inexpensive source of protein, lentils are a good source of nutrients and help boost energy levels.
Lentils are legumes that are rich in carbs and fiber. One cup of cooked lentils provides up to 36 grams of carbs and about 14 grams of fiber.
Additionally, lentils can increase your energy levels by replenishing your stores of folate, manganese, zinc, and iron. These nutrients assist in cellular energy production and the breakdown of nutrients for the release of energy.
Tips For Increasing And Maintaining Energy Levels Throughout The Day
- Maintain balanced blood sugar levels – The energy from a well-balanced meal can last for up to 4 hours, so ideally you don’t want to go longer than this without eating. This means having 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks spread out evenly over the day.
- Avoid High Sugar Foods – High sugar foods can cause a spike in your blood sugar which causes your body to release too much insulin. The surplus insulin then creates a dip in blood sugar levels known as a “sugar crash”.
- Choose the right combination of foods for your meals – The best combination for sustained energy that will last the full 4 hours is low GI carbohydrates combined with protein. Low GI carbohydrates release their energy slowly and gradually into the bloodstream. They include sweet potatoes and whole-grains such as oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Beans and lentils are great as they contain low GI carbohydrates and protein packaged conveniently together. Other good sources of protein include fish, chicken, lean meat, tofu, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
- Include some healthy sources of fat – Fats such as olive oil, nuts, and oily fish, will help you feel full and keep you from over-snacking.
- Avoid too much caffeine – Too much caffeine actually depletes energy levels in the long term.