Coffee in the morning a Red Bull after lunch is what gets me through the day, but on bad days, I may need to double up on each. It's a bad habit, and I'm trying to break it. Infusing your body with caffeine on a daily basis means you build a tolerance to the substance, and before you know it, you need 6 cups of coffee to wake up in the morning. At that point, it's no longer a joke…it's a hazard to your health.
OK OK, so this isn't a post to wag my finger at you…in fact, I'm encouraging you to join me in my quest to not eliminate caffeine from my diet, but just reduce it a bit to have a more sustainable lifestyle.
So I browsed around the internet today and found an amazing 38 different wholesome foods to naturally boost energy throughout the day. Some are pretty surprising, and would be a great snack or mid-day meal to keep you fueled up and moving at 100%. I'm definitely going to try some of these out, and I'll let you know how it goes.
Table of Contents
- Goji Berries
- Curry (cardamom)
- Dark Chocolate
- Lemons & Limes
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potato
- Whole grain cereal
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chili Peppers
A rich source of protein, eggs are a particularly good choice for energy, especially first thing in the morning. The protein in eggs can help you to feel full for longer, giving you energy for much longer than many other types of foods. Because they are also a low GI food, eggs won’t spike your blood sugar. This makes eggs a sustained source of energy, rather than something that will give you a quick boost and a sudden drop.
Quinoa is a high protein, naturally gluten free food that can be used instead of grains in many situations. Much of the energy advantage of quinoa comes from that protein content, and it is also a particularly good low calorie source of protein. Many people take advantage of the quinoa to make energy bars. These can be a great way to get the energy advantages of quinoa on the go.
Significant research has suggested that goji berries and goji juice offer a number of benefits, including promoting energy. The combination of vitamins and natural compounds in goji berries is likely to be the reason behind the energy boosting action. For example, goji berries are high in carotenoids, including lycopene and beta-carotene.
Like many fruit, bananas offer a quick boost of energy. Much of this comes from the natural sugars that the bananas contain, as well as the fiber, vitamins and minerals. Bananas also have the advantage over many other types of fruit because they are highly portable and are not messy to eat.
Salmon is most well-known for their powerful omega-3 fatty acids. However, the protein that salmon contains is also very significant, especially when it comes to energy. In particular, protein offers a form of energy that can last for a long time. This makes salmon a great choice for lunches, when you need an extra boost of energy to finish out the day.
Curries are great options for health and for energy. They typically contain a wide range of different spices, many of which are associated with some health benefits. One particularly interesting spice is cardamom, which also sometimes used in chai tea and rice. Cardamon’s distinctive taste makes it work really well in curries. Its impact on energy comes from the way that it can expand blood vessels, leading to improvements in circulation and energy.
Chocolate tends to be viewed as a treat, one that we probably shouldn’t be having. However, dark chocolate is one option that can actually be beneficial. Some of this impact may come from the flavonoids in dark chocolate, which is why you will get a bigger energy boost from dark chocolate than from milk chocolate. Likewise, this means that darker chocolate will give you a bigger energy boost, such as chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa.
Lentils are a versatile legume that you can use in soups, salads, spread and many other options. They are especially desirable because they are easy to cool and easy to add to meals. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in lentils mean that they produce significant amounts of slow burning energy. Additionally, lentils act as a source of iron, which can also play a role in energy production.
Lemons & Limes
Citrus fruits, including lemons and limes, act as good sources of vitamin C, which can boost the immune system and promote energy. One common approach is to include lemon juice (and in some cases lime juice) in water to produce a subtly flavored drink that has barely any calories. Doing so is another way to get energy, as keeping the body hydrated is an important factor for having enough energy.
Yogurt is a great food for improving energy levels, especially if you are looking for a snack between meals. The carbs in yogurt help it to provide a sustained source of energy. A particularly good choice for energy is Greek yogurt. This type of yogurt tends to have much higher levels of protein, often more than twice the protein you find in conventional yogurt.
Often considered a superfood, kale is a great source of a large range of vitamins and minerals, as well as other natural compounds. These compounds make it a particularly good energy source, especially as kale is also a good source of fiber. The vegetable can be used in cooking, but it is also frequently used as an ingredient to a healthy smoothie along with many other energy boosting ingredients.
Brown rice is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to white rice and there are good reasons for this interest. The body metabolizes the two types of rice differently, with brown rice being broken down much more slowly. This allows brown rice to act as a steady source of energy, something that doesn’t happen with white rice. Pair brown rice with a high protein side, like chicken breast or salmon to create a nutritious meal packed with energy.
Popcorn is a good option for a quick burst of energy – however, you do need to make sure that you are choosing to eat healthy popcorn. Popping your own popcorn is the best ways to go, and you can use subtle flavors to avoid piling on the calories. The carbs and fiber in popcorn play a key role in the way that it boosts energy, yet when air popped, popcorn tends to be very low in calories.
Sweet potatoes are a sweet and appealing alternative to potatoes in the diet. In fact, they can be cooked in a similar way and used in many of the same recipes. Sweet potatoes are relevant for energy in a few ways. For one thing, they contain iron, which is an essential mineral for having enough energy. They also contain some vitamin D, which is also relevant for energy. Additionally, sweet potatoes release energy slowly, so they are a good option if you are looking for sustained energy.
Like sugar, honey can give a quick spike of energy and is useful in sweetening many types of foods. However, while sugar offers no significant nutritional components, the same can’t be said for honey. Instead, honey contains both vitamin C and iron, along with some other vitamins. At the same time, there are claims that honey may offer some health benefits. All of this makes honey a much better option for energy than sugar.
Apples are so common that it is easy to overlook them. Yet, they offer a good easy source of energy and work particularly well as a snack. The energy comes from the natural sugars although apples do also contain a significant amount of vitamins and minerals. They are also good sources of fiber, which helps the energy boost they offer to last a little bit longer.
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse and is a popular ingredient in meals and even smoothies for that reason. It is even considered to be one of the healthiest foods out there, which is a pretty impressive claim. The high amounts of vitamins and minerals make spinach a particularly good choice for boosting energy – and the vegetable can also be paired with a large range of other types of food.
Beans are a good choice for energy if you want an immediate energy boost, but also want to have energy for the next few hours. The slow digestion of beans makes them a satisfying component of a meal and this contributes to their benefits for energy. Beans work especially well as a side dish for a protein-based main, as the fiber of the beans can help the protein to be processed more efficiently.
Whole grain cereal
Whole grain cereals are a high fiber way to start the day. This type of cereal results in glucose being released into the bloodstream slowly, which prevents spikes in blood sugar and the ups and downs in energy associated with that. Because of this, whole grain cereals contribute to consistent energy throughout the day, which it certainly desirable.
Almonds are a fantastic source of instant energy, especially as they tend to be filling and can help you curb your appetite. They are also fantastic sources of fiber, protein and some key vitamins. Almonds are especially good options for energy because they are so easy to snack on and you can take them with you anywhere you go.
Edamame isn’t an especially common snack in America, although it is growing in popularity. Often the beans are served as an appetizer in restaurants and they are also used in cooking, but they are particularly relevant as snacks to boost energy. The significance of these beans comes from the B vitamins that they contain. At the same time, edamame contains significant amounts of protein and fiber, so the energy you get from them is likely to last for some time.
Although water isn’t exactly a food, it is one of the most critical elements of making sure you have enough energy. Staying hydrated is needed to ensure that the cells in the body work efficiently – and many people simply do not drink enough water in a given day. People who do not get enough water can suffer from dehydration, which can lead to listlessness and fatigue.
Pumpkin seeds are another easy-to-eat snack that does wonders for energy levels. These can be readily purchased at the store, although some people choose to dry and roast their own seeds. The seeds contain significant amounts of key nutrients. Combined with how filling they can be, it’s easy to see why pumpkin seeds make such a good snack for energy. Pumpkin seeds also make a good addition to homemade energy bars and are easy to carry around as an all-purpose emergency snack.
Asparagus may seem like an unlikely contender for an energy-based food, but the green stalky vegetable actually does offer decent amounts of energy. It is the vitamin B in asparagus that helps it to be such a good source of energy. Additionally, the vegetable also has fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar and thus plays a role in helping you to stay alert and effective for longer.
Crab is another type of food that is often overlooked when it comes to a discussion of energy. The interesting thing about crab is that it contains vitamin B12, which is relatively hard to come by. This vitamin helps to promote the health of red blood cells. These blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the brain and helping people to think, so having enough B12 helps to make sure people are energized and think clearly. Additionally, crab is a good source of protein, which also helps with energy.
Like most nuts, walnuts contain significant amounts of good fats, along with fiber, protein and nutrients. This means that they pack a powerful nutritional punch, while also helping to satisfy any cravings that you have for food or for treats. These same features also mean that walnuts offer an excellent source of energy, making them perfect as a snack when you need a quick pick-me-up.
Chili peppers can certainly jolt you awake (especially if you aren’t particularly fond of spicy food), however, did you know that chili peppers also act as an energy food in their own right? Specifically, there has been growing interest in the potential of chili peppers to improve metabolism and boost energy as a result.
Sauerkraut is a particularly health food, largely as the result of its probiotic nature and the vitamins and minerals that it contains. One significant aspect of this is the iron in sauerkraut, which plays a very important role in energy production and circulation. Additionally, people who are deficient in iron may experience symptoms that include fatigue, making iron an even more important nutrient for energy.
Made from chickpeas, hummus is a good natural source of energy and is particularly common in snacks. The energy-giving potential of hummus can be boosted even more if healthy, energy giving foods are used for dipping in the humus, like carrots or celery sticks. Hummus is also great because it is so versatile. If you are buying it from the store, it is important to watch out for any additives that can sneak their way in there, but you can also make your own.
Carrots are another good choice as a snack for energy because of how easy they are to eat. Likewise, they can be easily included in a wide range of dishes, and carrots tend to be a staple item on many grocery lists. The significant of carrots come from the vitamins and minerals they contain. The most well-recognized of these is vitamin A, which is in the form of carotene. Carrots are also a good source of sulfur, which is an important element in the process of converting carbohydrates into energy.
Pineapple is more sugar rich than many fruits, but despite this it is still a good addition to many diets. The sugar strongly contributes to pineapple’s ability to give energy, while the fiber plays a role in slowing down how fast that energy is released into your system. The sharp taste of pineapple can also be invigorating, which adds to its ability to help give you a little bit extra energy.
Oatmeal is often emphasized as a great way to start the day, and there is a lot of support for this perspective. The soluble fiber in oatmeal is one of the key aspects for health, as this helps to make sure you have energy that lasts. At the same time, oatmeal contains a number of important healthy compounds, including potassium and folate. However, it is worth being very careful about the instant oatmeal that you can buy in stores, as many of these contain high amounts of processing and artificial ingredients.
With or without the chocolate, strawberries are often viewed as a slightly decadent treat. Despite this, they do actually offer some health benefits and can help with energy. Like most fruits, this action comes from the natural sugars and fiber in the strawberries, along with the nutrients that they contain.
Cucumber is a particularly hydrating vegetable and contains a significant amount of water. This gives them an appealing texture and is one of the reasons that they are so popular. This water also helps cucumbers to boost energy as it plays a role in preventing dehydration. Additionally, cucumbers also contain a mix of important vitamins that can contribute to both health and energy. One significant example is vitamin B5, which plays an important role in energy levels.
Celery is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. While it is a particularly healthy option, the high amount of fiber can make it a bit challenging for people to chew and to digest. Despite this, the high fiber is an important component of this vegetable, and helps to regulate the way that energy is released. Additionally, the water in the vegetable is also an important component for energy. Often celery is dipped into other high energy snacks, like hummus or peanut butter.
Polenta is actually a cooked food, but it is very easy to make from cornmeal. Polenta acts as a good source of complex carbohydrates, which are a particularly good source of extended energy. It is also naturally gluten-free, so it can be enjoyed by people on gluten-free diets as well as those who can eat gluten.
Broccoli is one vegetable that everyone should probably be eating more of anyway, even if it wasn’t such a good source of energy. The vegetable has protein and fiber, in addition to a range of different vitamins and minerals. These aspects make broccoli good as an ingredient to a meal or as a side dish, and some people even snack on broccoli on its own.
Blueberries are another example of a food that can give you a quick energy boost. They are fantastic options for energy because of their sugar and fiber content. At the same time, they are also high in antioxidants and other nutrients. However, the real things that make blueberries so popular is how easy they are to eat and how delicious they taste. This makes them a very good option for snacking, as long as you don’t overdo it.