28 Foods That Can Give You More Energy

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on September 16, 2020 and last updated for accuracy on October 18, 2020

Do you feel drained in the middle of the day? Perhaps you are waking up tired and unmotivated. It happens to the best of us. But let us tell you a secret or to be more specific, 28 little secrets that will help boost your energy levels. We are talking about the ultimate list of energy-boosting foods that you need to eat more of if you want sustainable energy levels throughout the day. Are you interested to find out more? Let’s start, shall we?

28 Foods for Long-lasting Energy Levels

Avocados

Let’s start this list right and what is a better way to do that than by talking about avocados. Avocados are a true superfood thanks to their high nutritional content. They are famous for being a rich source of healthy fatty acids. Up to 84% of the healthy fats found in avocados are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (1).

These are the exact fatty acids that you should be looking for if you want to boost your energy levels. Your body will store these fatty acids and use them as an energy source whenever needed. Another important nutrient in terms of high energy levels is fiber which is also found in great amounts in our green little friends. Fiber will secure steady energy levels throughout the day. 

Oranges

One of the reasons why we enjoy oranges so much is their high Vitamin C content which provides their refreshing taste. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that does a great job protecting us against oxidative stress. If you are feeling tired all day without an apparent reason, oxidative stress may be an explanation to it (2). Now you get a chance to renew your energy levels by eating all of those tasty oranges.  

Bananas

If you have a sweet tooth, we highly recommend eating a banana as your mid-day snack. Bananas are a great way to restore your energy levels thanks to the high levels of natural sugar that they carry within them. But they are also an amazing source of fiber which will secure a slower absorption of all of that sugar. This translates in long-lasting secure energy levels throughout the day which you get to enjoy. Bananas seem to be just as effective as a carbohydrate drink when it comes to improving endurance and performance after long periods of cycling (3).

Berries

Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries – you name it and they will boost your energy. All of these delicious berries are high in antioxidants. We already discussed the role of antioxidants in the elimination of oxidative stress which may be the cause of your chronic fatigue. Berries have a refreshing taste and can be easily added to whatever meal you desire. This only adds to their popularity. 

Apples

Yet another easy snack is apples. This is one of the best, inexpensive snacks that will help you get through that mid-day slump while at work. Apples contain a satisfying amount of fiber and sugar which secures the sustainable energy levels that we so desperately need (4). In addition, apples also offer a great source of antioxidants. As if we needed one more reason to love apples!

Beef liver

Okay, enough with all of the delicious fruits. Let’s discuss the beef liver which happens to be one of the greatest meat sources of Vitamin B-12. Did you know that fatigue is one of the symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency? 

This is especially a common problem among vegans and vegetarians who fail to satisfy their daily Vitamin B-12 needs due to the absence of meat and dairy products in their diet. Vitamin B-12 happens to help our body to convert the food into glucose which is later used as a primary energy source. Without it, our body is struggling to complete the conversion on its own which explains the low energy levels (5).

Salmon

If you are not a fan of red meat, then you may be interested in eating more fatty fish such as salmon. Salmon is also a great source of many B vitamins, one of which happens to be Vitamin B. Salmon is also one of the rare Vitamin D sources. Vitamin D can significantly boost energy levels and eliminate fatigue, as science has demonstrated in the past (6).

Not to mention the impressive Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help eliminate chronic inflammation which may be the reason for your fatigue as well (7). Tuna, sardines, and trout are other great examples of fatty fish enriched with the same nutrients which we discussed. 

Greek yogurt

Because of its high protein content, Greek yogurt is the perfect energy-boosting food. Great as a breakfast food or a snack, paired up with some homemade granola and berries, Greek yogurt is a must in your diet. Other than protein, Greek yogurt also offers great amounts of healthy fats and carbs which will add to the energy-boosting effect (8). Do not make the mistake of skipping this amazing energy source. 

Cottage cheese

A 2015 study shows that one cup of cottage cheese offers an amazing 25 grams of protein (9). Apparently, this is enough to satisfy your hunger and curb your appetite. But this is also more than enough to boost your energy levels. Cottage cheese is one of those foods that can be easily combined with whatever meal or snack you are having, you just need to be more creative. 

Eggs

Eggs are a great example of how the perfect breakfast food looks like. They are known to provide our body with way too many nutrients. Eggs are packed with great amounts of protein and healthy fats which secure sustained energy sources all day long. One of the most amazing nutrients found in eggs is leucine. Leucine is an important amino acid that is knowns to efficiently stimulate energy production in the human body (10). 

Dark chocolate

If a banana is not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, then you may want to try eating some dark chocolate. Compared to the ordinary milk chocolate, dark chocolate has a much higher cocoa content. This means that it has higher antioxidant levels and with that a greater ability to shield the body against oxidative stress and free radicals. In addition, the flavonoids found in cocoa have been scientifically proven to boost the blood flow, thus eliminating mental fatigue and significantly improving our mood (11).

Dark leafy greens

Now it is time to discuss some energy-boosting veggies. Kale, spinach, and lettuce are all nutrient-dense leafy greens which happen to be quite filling. They also contain great amounts of antioxidants which help them act as sustainable energy sources. Not to mention the very little calories that they contain in exchange for the satiety and nutrients that they have to offer. Use these veggies whenever you can and increase the quality of your diet through their use.  

Sweet potatoes

If you are a fan of French fries, then you have to try the baked sweet potato fries. These will be packed with lots of complex carbs, fiber, and multiple vitamins and minerals. Being the rich source of fiber and complex carbs that they are, sweet potatoes provide the much-needed steady source of energy (12).

Beets 

We tend to forget about beets, but that does not change the fact that they are an amazing energy-boosting food that we need more of. Beets help improve your blood flow thanks to their high antioxidant content. They are especially high in nitrates which boost nitric oxide production. In return, this improves the blood flow and increases the oxygen delivery to each body tissue and organ. 

This is known to increase energy levels and athletic performance, according to a study published in Nutrients (13). If you struggle with fatigue, make sure to eat more beetroots whenever possible. 

Popcorn

Here we have yet another tasty snack – popcorn. Popcorn is a highly popular snack due to its low-calorie content and high satiety levels. Rich in both fiber and carbs, popcorn helps improve our energy levels (14). Just make sure to prepare yourself some air-popped popcorn and be careful with the salt. 

Quinoa

Other than some quality protein and tasty veggies, you will need some whole grains to fill your plate with. This will secure all of those much-needed carbs as a part of your meals. One of the ways to do that is by preparing some quinoa. 

Many vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, and fiber are found in quinoa. This makes it the perfect grain to fit your healthy diet. It also means that quinoa will help secure the long-lasting energy that you so desperately need (15). Because of its low glycemic index score, you will not experience a spike in your energy levels which is what causes that mid-day slump in the first place.

Oatmeal

Instead of sugary cereals, try incorporating more oatmeal as a part of your morning routine. Compared to most sugary cereals, oatmeal has a low glycemic index score which accounts for the sustained energy release. Oats are also a great source of way too many nutrients, especially fiber, which make sure that you are full and satisfied throughout the day (16). Oats are incredibly easy to combine with fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds to create a filling, nutrient-dense breakfast that you will enjoy. 

Brown rice

If you are used to eating white rice, we kindly recommend replacing it with the much less processed version that it is brown rice. Being less processed, brown rice also contains more of the nutrients found in white rice. It represents a great source of fiber, but also manganese. 

Manganese is a mineral that will help with the breakdown of carbs thus helping with the energy production process (17). Besides, brown rice, compared to its more processed version, has a low glycemic index score. We already discussed the significance of foods with a low glycemic score in the process of maintaining sustainable energy levels. 

Beans 

Beans are quite popular food and with a good reason, that is. They represent a great source of antioxidants, protein, healthy carbs, fiber, and several other nutrients. One of the reasons why we included beans in this list is their high antioxidant content which helps fight inflammation and with that, fatigue as well (18). They are also digested slowly because of their high fiber content which helps secure stable energy levels. Experiment with the different beans types until you find your favorite one. 

Lentils

If you are not a fan of beans, then you may want to try lentils instead. Lentils are one of the more affordable sources of healthy protein and fiber. An amazing 36 grams of carbs and about 14 grams of fiber are found in a single cup of lentils. This is enough to provide sustainable energy for more than a couple of hours.

That is not all because lentils have other nutrients to offer. Iron, zinc, and manganese are some of the nutrients that will help the cellular energy production and secure sustainable energy levels for you to use (19).

Edamame

Edamame is the perfect protein source of vegans and vegetarians. It is packed with several nutrients, one of which happens to be protein. Carbs and fiber are found as well. All of these nutrients are working together to secure sustainable energy levels that you will benefit from. One significant nutrient is the mineral called molybdenum which assists the nutrient breakdown that results in energy release (20).

Hummus 

Pair up some veggies with hummus and there you have it – a nutrient-packed snack that you should not miss out on. Made by using chickpeas, tahini, and some lemon and salt to taste, hummus is the ultimate energy-boosting food. It represents an amazing source of complex carbs, healthy fats, and fiber which your body will use to produce energy (21).

Soybeans

Soybeans are another popular food among vegans and vegetarians. Besides edamame, soybeans also provide a great deal of protein, vital for those who avoid meat and dairy products. Other than protein, several amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are found as well. 

Peanut butter

Perfect for breakfast and mid-day snacks, peanut butter promises to provide a great taste, satiety, and long-lasting energy levels. Peanut butter is rich in more nutrients than we can count including protein, fiber, and healthy fats, among others. Combine a banana with some peanut butter and there you have it – the perfect energy-boosting snack. 

Seeds

Seeds are easy to incorporate into one’s diet. Pick from the wide variety of seeds including pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp hearts, and many more to take advantage of their high nutritional value. By adding a single tablespoon of mixed seeds to your soup, salad, or smoothie, you will be boosting its nutrition and your energy levels all at the same time. 

Matcha

This list would be incomplete if we did not include some caffeine in it. One of the greatest sources of caffeine is matcha. Matcha provides up to 70 mg of caffeine which is more than enough to get your day started. It is a great replacement for the good old coffee and green tea for those of you who want something different (22).

Coffee

Matcha, despite being incredibly healthy, is still on the bit more expensive side. And so, many of us are continuing to follow the trend of drinking some nice hot or cold coffee whenever they need an energy kick. Coffee is known to contain way more caffeine as compared to matcha, with that being up to 95 mg per single cup. 

Water

And to finish the list with our ultimate favorite drink that is water. Plain water does so much for our health, including hydrating our bodies. Dehydration can cause severe fatigue which can be only eliminated by eliminating the root of the problem (23). In this case, that is dehydration itself. Make sure that you drink enough water throughout the day to keep dehydration as far away as possible from you. Most people need between 8 to 10 glasses per day. If you hate the taste of plain water, a great trick is to add some lemon, cucumber, or berries and have some fruit-infused water instead. 

Conclusion

Feeling drained and it is not even lunch time? Are you struggling to keep your focus on your work/school? From all of the possible causes, your diet plays a great role in maintaining stable energy levels all day long. The food that you eat matters, so why not take a deeper look in this potential fatigue cause? And while you are at it, we recommend introducing more of the 28-amazing energy-boosters that we discussed today. Start your day with a delicious oatmeal, eat a banana as a snack, and maybe some tasty salmon at lunch, and you will feel a great difference. 

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23638933/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26136593/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355124/
  4. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31809-9/fulltext
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22276208/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158648/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25285409/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6144340/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25772196/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26255285/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19942640/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1663443/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25412154/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015032/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409657/
  16. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/145/2/222/4585693
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22922155/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25061763/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713359/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23539623/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27916819/
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27824614/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6224374/ 

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