15 Foods for More Energy and Stamina
Most of us go around our day, only to figure out that we are feeling tired, exhausted even, in the middle of it. What happens then to our motivation, but also every single little thing on our to-do list that is waiting to be crossed?
As you probably already know from your personal experience – the motivation drops, and so does our productivity in the middle of the day. That is the science of the famous mid-day slump. If only there was something to be done about it!
Try these 15 foods to improve your energy and stamina
Have you ever thought about that mid-day slump being caused by your unhealthy food choices? Enjoying a burger at lunch or skipping breakfast might as well be what is causing you to feel tired in the middle of the day.
That is why we are here to talk about 15 of our favorite, healthy foods that aim to boost your energy and stamina levels. With the help of these tasty foods, you will be able to cross everything on your to-do list and have some energy left to do the things that you actually enjoy! So let’s start and see how many of these foods you will fall in love with.
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are a great source of protein, one that your body can sure benefit from! Thanks to the high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12 found in fatty fish; you can rejuvenate your body and mind.
Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly help reduce inflammation, thus helping against fatigue. Vitamin B12, on the other hand, maintains optimal levels of red blood cells and iron in the body, which can also help combat fatigue and boost energy levels (1, 2).
- Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of the easiest ways to provide your body with a burst of energy whenever you are on the go and do not have time for a full-course meal. Compared with milk chocolate, dark chocolate has a lot less sugar. This means that dark chocolate will not cause your blood sugar levels to immediately come crashing down.
Instead of sugar, dark chocolate is enriched with antioxidants, especially flavonoids, thanks to its high cocoa content, which will help keep the oxidative stress levels at a bare minimum. According to a 2015 study, dark chocolate has been shown able to help boost blood circulation in the body. Faster circulation equals more blood supplied with fresh oxygen being carried around to every tissue and organ, thus making you feel more alert, awake, and energized (3).
Nuts are yet another healthy snack to have on the go. Create your little trail mix, and there you have it – a tasty and energizing snack to have whenever your heart desires it. Nuts contain the perfect blend of some very important nutrients, including proteins, fats, carbs, and essential fatty acids, but also many essential vitamins and minerals.
According to a study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, nuts with their fatty acids help reduce inflammation and with that relieve fatigue as well (4). Just watch out – nuts are also quite high in calories, so be careful not to eat more than a handful a day.
Bananas are a real winner when it comes to energy-boosting foods. In fact, banana is probably one of the most beloved pre-workout snacks among athletes. You see, bananas are an excellent source of carbs, potassium, and Vitamin B6, among other nutrients, all of which are of essential importance for your body and mind (5).
This delicious tropic fruit is also rich in fiber, which means that it will keep you full for longer. Bananas are a great weight loss-friendly food. A study published in the journal PLoS One compared the effects of bananas and carbohydrate drinks, only to find that they are just as effective at boosting your energy levels (6).
Eggs are the perfect morning food, but also a midday snack that you can have whenever you feel you lack the needed energy. The reason why eggs are considered to be a breakfast staple is because of their ability to boost our energy levels.
Not only are eggs packed with protein, but they are also rich in one specific amino acid called leucine. Leucine has been scientifically proven to be able to promote energy production in the body. Eggs are also rich in several B vitamins, which help the enzymes break down the digested food and turn it into energy (7, 8).
A bowl of tasty oatmeal is a great way to start your day. Being the whole-grain cereal that it is, oats can provide you with long-lasting energy. Oatmeal is most popular for its soluble fiber content. Once combined with water, the soluble fiber is creating a gel-like substance that covers the lining of the gut, thus delaying the emptying of the stomach (9).
Other than fiber, other nutrients can be found in oats as well. The list includes iron, manganese, and several of the B vitamins. These nutrients help the energy production process and prevent blood sugar spikes from happening (10).
Avocados are a real superfood, one that you do not want to miss out on. If you want to introduce more of the healthy fatty acids in your diet as a way to promote energy and stamina, then this is the food for you. High amounts of healthy fats and fiber can be found in avocados. Up to 80% of their carb content is an actual fiber that helps your body maintain steady energy levels (11).
Science shows that up to 84% of the healthy fats found in avocados are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids, other than being able to improve the absorption in the gut and promote optimal body fat levels, can also be stored and used as an energy source as needed.
Did you know that one orange can provide as much as 106% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin C? But Vitamin C is not the only antioxidant that you will find in oranges. All of these antioxidants work together to eliminate oxidative stress in the body.
One of the many negative effects of oxidative stress on our health is fatigue. Luckily, the antioxidants found in oranges are strong enough to help eliminate oxidative stress and with that prevent fatigue (12). The research found that drinking 500 ml of orange juice before doing one hour of aerobic training helped decrease muscle fatigue and improved the physical performance of the participants (13).
Used as a breakfast food or a snack, yogurt is great energy-boosting food. And here is why that is. Yogurt is filled with simple carbs and protein, but also Vitamin B6 and B12. Lactose and galactose, when broken down, are easy to use as a primary energy source.
The protein found in yogurt will help slow down the digestion of carbs, and with that, slow down their release in the blood flow. And last but not least important are the B vitamins, which help in the formulation of the ATP molecule, which is then used as an energy fuel (14).
- Brown rice
If you want to avoid that midday slump, then it is time to replace the white rice with some delicious and more nutritious brown rice. Because brown rice has the husk, which is otherwise missing in white rice, as an end-result of the extensive processing that white rice goes through, brown rice is richer in fiber.
With its high fiber content, brown rice helps slow down the digestion of carbs and therefore releasing energy slowly. And because it is less processed as compared to white rice, brown rice retains more of its vitamins and minerals as well. One of those minerals is manganese, which has been scientifically proven to be able to help the breakdown of carbs to produce energy (15).
Not only are apples able to keep the doctor away, but they are also able to provide energy all day long. Due to their rich nutritional value, with the majority of nutrients being carbs, fiber, and antioxidants, apples work to slow down the digestion of carbs, providing a long and sustainable energy release. For the best effects, do eat your apple whole, instead of preparing any apple juices and/or purees during whose preparation is the fiber removed (16, 17).
If you are not a fan of brown rice, then you will like this option. Quinoa works as a tasty addition to your dish, being packed with all of the protein, fiber, carbs, and several minerals. Its low glycemic index (GI) means that quinoa is slowly digested while providing a sustainable energy release in the meantime (18).
Quinoa is also rich in manganese, magnesium, and folate – all of which are helping enzymes to digest carbs and produce energy. This delicious grain goes well with any roasted veggies and protein that you may have, so make sure that you do not forget about it.
- Goji berries
Goji berries represent a window towards multiple health benefits. It seems that there is very little as to what goji berries are unable to do. From being packed with antioxidants and fiber to being a rich source of multiple vitamins and minerals – Goji berries are here to serve your good health.
According to science, goji berries juice helps enhance mental alertness and performance, but also reduce fatigue (19). And as usual, being the excellent source of fiber that they are, goji berries are able to slow down the digestion and promote sustainable energy release.
Strawberries – the perfect summer food, is here to keep you energized and refreshed during the hot summer days. If you want a cooling food that is also rich in carbs, fiber, and antioxidants, thus being able to energize you throughout the day, then do not forget to get some strawberries on your next trip to the grocery shop (20). If you have a sweet tooth, you can easily rely on strawberries to satisfy your cravings for something sweet, all while they are continuing to energize you.
And we are ending this list with yet another tasty summer food – watermelon! Containing only 46 calories per cup, watermelon is high in Vitamin A, B, C, and additional nutrients as well. It is also made of up to 92% water, which means that it is a great food that will keep you hydrated, especially if you forget to have your glass of water throughout the day.
Watermelon contains antioxidants which can help against the free radicals and oxidative stress, hence fighting against fatigue. Vitamin C, lycopene, and cucurbitacin E are some of these amazing antioxidants that you can thank for keeping you energized all day long (21). If you are a fan of ice cream, we highly recommend making some homemade watermelon ice cream instead and feeling the energy boost that it has to offer later.
If you feel like you need a bit of energy to help you get through another boring day at the office, then we have something for you! Instead of grabbing yet another cup of coffee, why not grab a fresh apple, banana, orange, or some watermelon instead? Why not switch up your usual lunch order and instead of pizza, order some tuna and brown rice?
You will be amazed at how much these little changes can help you improve your energy levels and avoid that mid-day slump that has become a part of your everyday life nowadays. Give these 15 foods a try and find your favorite healthy energy-booster to help you feel and look better than ever.