Although basically all foods provide energy, there are some that contain a large amount of nutrients that can give you an energy boost, which will make you feel more active, and will help you maintain your alertness and concentration during the day.
Taking these foods into account is of great importance, especially for people who experience fatigue and tiredness on a frequent basis. A lack of energy can affect your daily activities and make you less productive.
Foods that have been shown to promote well-being and give you an energy boost:
Bananas can be one of the best foods for energy. They are an excellent source of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6, which can help boost energy levels in your body.
One study showed that eating a banana before a 75 km cycling event was as efficient as a carbohydrate drink in enhancing the performance of endurance athletes.
2. 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 can provide you with the recommended daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a common cause of fatigue.
In fact, some studies found that taking omega-3 supplements might decrease fatigue, especially in cancer patients and those recovering from cancer.
Also, vitamin B12 works together with folic acid to make red blood cells and help iron work more in the body. Having optimal levels of red blood cells and iron in your blood can reduce fatigue and give you an energy boost.
3. Brown rice
Brown rice is a very nutritious food. Unlike white rice, it is less processed and retains more nutritional value in the form of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
One cup (195 grams) of cooked brown rice contains 3.5 grams of fiber and provides about 88% of the RDI for manganese, a mineral that helps enzymes break down carbohydrates and protein for energy.
Also, thanks to its fiber content, brown rice has a low glycemic index. Therefore, it could help regulate blood sugar levels and help you maintain stable energy levels throughout the day.
4. Sweet potatoes
Besides being delicious, sweet potatoes are a nutritious powerhouse for those looking for an energy boost.
A medium-sized sweet potato could contain up to 23 grams of carbohydrates, 3.8 grams of fiber, 28% of the RDI for manganese, and a whopping 438% of the RDI for vitamin A. Thanks to the fiber content of sweet potatoes and complex carbohydrates, your body digests them at a slow rate, giving you a constant supply of energy
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of manganese, which helps break down nutrients for energy.
Coffee may be the first food that comes to mind if you're looking for an energy boost.
Coffee is rich in caffeine. This compound can quickly pass from the bloodstream to the brain and inhibit the activity of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that calms the central nervous system.
Consequently, epinephrine production increases. This hormone stimulates the body and the brain. Although coffee only provides two calories per cup, its stimulating effects on the body can make you feel alert and focused.
Eggs are not only a tremendously filling food, but they can also provide you with energy for the entire day.
Eggs are packed with protein, which can provide you with a constant and sustained source of energy as they do not cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin when digested
Additionally, leucine is the most abundant amino acid in eggs and is known to stimulate energy gains in a number of ways.
Leucine can help cells absorb more sugar in the blood, stimulate energy production in cells, and increase the breakdown of fat for energy.
In addition, eggs are rich in vitamin B. These vitamins help enzymes to play their role in the processes of breaking down food for energy.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world and are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.
A medium-sized apple (185 grams) contains approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of sugar, and up to 4 grams of fiber. Due to their rich content of natural sugars and fiber, apples can provide a slow and sustained increase in energy.
Also, apples are high in antioxidants. Research has shown that antioxidants may slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, thereby releasing energy for a longer period of time.
Lastly, it is recommended to eat whole apples. Juices and purees, from which the fiber is removed, are ingested faster and can only provide fast-digesting energy.
Water is essential for life. It represents up to 60% of your body weight and is involved in many cellular functions, including energy production.
Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can slow down bodily functions, causing you to feel sluggish and tired. Drinking water may give you an energy boost and help combat feelings of fatigue.
You can avoid dehydration by drinking water even if you are not thirsty. Try to drink water regularly throughout the day.
9. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has a higher cocoa content than regular or milk chocolate. The antioxidants in cocoa have been shown to have many health benefits, such as increasing blood flow throughout the body.
This effect aids in the delivery of oxygen to the brain and muscles, which improves their functions. This can be especially helpful during exercise. Additionally, the increased blood flow produced by the antioxidants in cocoa could help reduce mental fatigue and improve mood.
Dark chocolate also contains stimulating compounds such as theobromine and caffeine, which have been shown to improve mental energy and mood.
Learn more about the benefits of dark chocolate and how you can consume it to improve its effects.
10. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a drink made from the dried leaves of a plant native to South America. It has been shown to have many health benefits. Yerba mate contains antioxidants and caffeine. A regular 8-ounce cup can offer about 85 mg of caffeine, which is similar to the amount in a small cup of coffee.
The caffeine in yerba mate promotes the production of the hormone epinephrine, which increases energy. However, unlike other stimulants, yerba mate does not appear to affect blood pressure or heart rate.
11. Goji berries
Goji berries have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries due to their many benefits. Besides being packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, this fruit is known to be a good source of fiber.
Research has suggested that goji berry juice may provide antioxidant protection, improve mental performance and alertness, and decrease feelings of fatigue.
Also, goji berries are rich in fiber. A one-ounce (28-gram) serving provides 2 grams of fiber. This could help slow digestion and release energy slowly.
Goji berries are very easy to enjoy mixed with yogurt, smoothies, baked goods, and sauces. Or you can just eat them raw.
Quinoa is a popular seed for its high protein content. One cup of quinoa provides 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of protein, and a significant number of vitamins and minerals.
Although this superfood is high in carbohydrates, it has a low glycemic index, indicating that its carbohydrates are slowly absorbed and can provide a sustained energy boost.
Additionally, quinoa provides more than 20% of the RDI for manganese, magnesium, and folate. All of these nutrients are used by enzymes in the energy production process.
Oatmeal is a whole grain cereal that can provide you long-lasting energy. 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 the emptying of the stomach and the absorption of glucose into the blood.
Find out how to lose weight with oatmeal water and how you can prepare it.
In addition, oats are rich in vitamins and minerals that help the energy production process. These include B vitamins, iron, and manganese.
The combination of all these nutrients makes oatmeal a perfect food for sustained energy release.
Yogurt is a great snack that will give you an energy boost for the entire day. The carbohydrates 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 carbohydrates, which in turn slows the release of sugars into the blood.
In addition, yogurt contains large amounts of vitamins B2 and B12, which are involved in cellular functions. They help form the ATP molecule, which your cells use as fuel.
Hummus is made with chickpeas, sesame paste, oil, and lemon. The combination of these ingredients makes hummus a great source of energy.
Chickpeas in hummus are a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber that the body uses for constant energy.
Plus, the sesame seed oil and pasta in hummus contain healthy fats. These ingredients are also helpful in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates, which will help you avoid spikes in blood sugar.
You can enjoy hummus as a sauce for your vegetables or in combination with other dishes such as sandwiches or salads.
Edamame can be a very simple and satisfying stimulating snack.
It is relatively low in calories, but offers significant amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Just one cup of edamame can contain up to 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and about 8 grams of fiber.
In addition, it has high amounts of vitamins and minerals that can help give you an energy boost in different ways. One cup of edamame provides 79% of the RDI for manganese and 121% of the RDI for folic acid.
Folic acid works together with iron to increase energy and combat fatigue and anemia, while manganese helps generate energy from the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins.
Lastly, edamame contains large amounts of molybdenum, which acts as a stimulus for enzymes and helps break down nutrients for energy.
In addition to being an excellent and inexpensive source of protein, lentils are a good source of nutrients and help increase energy levels.
Lentils are legumes rich in carbohydrates and fiber. One cup of cooked lentils provides up to 40 grams of carbohydrates and approximately 16 grams of fiber.
The fiber in lentils promotes a slow emptying of the stomach and a more controlled rise in blood sugar levels. Therefore, not only will you feel full for longer after eating them, but you can also have more balanced energy levels.
Additionally, lentils can boost your energy levels by replenishing your stores of folic acid, manganese, zinc, and iron. These nutrients aid in the effective production of energy in cells and the breakdown of nutrients for the release of energy.
Avocados are considered a superfood due to all of their important health benefits.
For example, they are rich in healthy fats 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 improve nutrient absorption. They can also be stored in the body and used as sources of energy.
Additionally, the fiber in avocados accounts for 80% of their carbohydrate content, which can help maintain consistent energy levels.
Also, avocados are a good source of B vitamins, which are necessary for the optimal functioning of mitochondria in cells, where cellular energy is produced.
Oranges are famous for their high content of vitamin C. An orange can provide up to 106% of the RDI for vitamin C. In addition, oranges contain antioxidant compounds that can provide protection against oxidative stress.
Research has shown that oxidative stress may promote feelings of fatigue. Therefore, the antioxidant protection provided by the compounds in oranges can help reduce fatigue.
Strawberries are another good fruit that gives an energy boost. These can provide carbohydrates, fiber, and sugars that can increase energy levels. One cup of strawberries provides 12 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of sugar.
On the other hand, this same serving will give you 149% of the RDI for vitamin C. In addition to helping fight inflammation in the body, the antioxidants in strawberries can help fight fatigue and give you energy.
You can incorporate strawberries in many recipes and use them in smoothies, parfaits, or salads.
Seeds, such as chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds, may also boost your energy levels.
These seeds are generally rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Having low levels of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to increased inflammation and fatigue. Fatty acids are also an important source of stored energy and help cells to function properly.
Also, the seeds are a good source of fiber and protein. The fiber in the seeds contributes to the slow digestion of nutrients, resulting in a constant and sustained release of energy.
Beans are rich in nutrients and are a great source of natural energy. Although there are hundreds of different types of beans, their nutrient profiles are very similar. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.
Beans are digested slowly, which helps keep your blood sugar levels stable and provides you with constant energy. Additionally, beans contain antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and promote increased energy.
Black beans and cowpea are among the most famous types of beans. These beans are good sources of folate, iron, manganese, and magnesium, which are involved in energy production and help deliver energy to all cells in the body.
23. Green tea
Green tea is famous for its long list of health benefits. It has a high concentration of powerful antioxidants that can help prevent oxidative stress and inflammation.
Like coffee, green tea contains caffeine, which can give you an energy boost. However, green tea also contains a compound called L-theanine.
L-Theanine can moderate the effects of caffeine, such as anxiety and nerves, and produces a gentler energy boost. Research has shown that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine in green tea can increase focus, alertness, and mental focus.
Additionally, green tea can be a good energy booster during physical activity as it can decrease fatigue by increasing the breakdown of fat and the release of the hormone norepinephrine.
Nuts can be a great snack packed with energy-promoting nutrients.
Most nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews are known for their high calories and abundance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. These nutrients can provide a slow release of energy throughout the day.
They are also high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants that can boost energy levels and help reduce inflammation as well as offer antioxidant protection.
On the other hand, these nuts provide decent amounts of carbohydrates and fiber that will give you a steady and sustained energy boost.
Walnuts also contain other vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, iron, vitamin B, and vitamin E. These can help increase energy production and decrease tiredness.
Popcorn can be a great low-calorie, energizing snack. These are high in carbohydrates and fiber, making them a very satisfying food and a good option for an energy-boosting snack.
A 100-gram serving of popcorn provides 78 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of fiber, making popcorn one of the highest fiber foods out there. Therefore, they can provide a constant release of energy.
26. Green leafy vegetables
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are excellent sources of nutrients that promote increased energy.
They are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Plus, they are packed with folate, fiber, and antioxidants that provide health benefits. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are excellent sources of iron to replenish your body's stores and of vitamin C to improve the body's absorption of iron.
Additionally, leafy greens can also enhance nitric oxide formation, which helps blood vessels to widen for better blood flow through the body.
Beets have recently gained popularity due to their ability to increase energy and stamina. Studies have shown that beets can improve blood flow due to its natural antioxidant and nitrate content.
As with green leafy vegetables, nitrates are compounds that help increase nitric oxide and improve blood flow throughout the body, allowing for greater delivery of oxygen to tissues. This has the ability to increase energy levels, especially for athletic performance.
Additionally, beets contain carbohydrates, fiber and sugar that will give you a sustained energy boost. One cup of beets (136 grams) could provide up to 3.8 grams of fiber and 9.2 grams of natural sugars.
When you stop eating, your body goes into “starvation mode,” your metabolism slows down in order to utilize whatever food it has available, and your weight loss will slow down. Of course, if you (partially) fast for many days or weeks, you will lose weight.