Adequate energy is directly related to adequate nutrition and adequate rest. If your energy levels are low, don't reach for an energy drink. The best approach is to start with your diet.
Some of the most basic and readily available foods provide nutrients that are full of high quality, sustainable energy. Some of these foods can give an immediate energy surge while others bestow a sustained, long-term energy increase. In addition to energy, the following six foods offer incredible health benefits!
Best Energy-Boosting Foods
While there are numerous others, I've found these to be the best energy-boosting foods. Try them out!
1. Beets and Beet Juice
Beets are an excellent source of folate, manganese, and vitamin C. They also contain phytonutrients called betalains which possess antioxidant properties that can help detoxify the body. And, especially for athletes, they have even been found to provide incredible energy support. A study evaluating the effect of beetroot juice supplementation reported increases in stamina and energy by 15 percent during severe-intensity exercise.
This gluten-free grain from the Andes contains more protein, fatty acids, and antioxidants than other grains.Quinoa is rich in the amino acids lysine, methionine, and cysteine, and is also an excellent source of folate, magnesium, and manganese. Its unique blend of carbohydrates, proteins, and phytonutrients make it a highly nutritious and ideal food for energy support.
Nuts are a great source of nutrition. The nuts you want to specifically look for are walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, and pistachios. In addition to providing high-quality protein, they also contain carotenoids, phenolic acids, phytosterols, and flavonoids.[3, 4] These highly bioavailable nutrients promote physical and mental well-being, helping the body sustain higher energy levels.
Loaded with vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron, spinach rightly deserves its place among the highly nutritious and potent superfoods. It also contains magnesium. This element has been acknowledged as contributing to over 300 metabolic functions, including production and storage of cellular energy. Spinach provides magnesium in a highly bioavailable form for both short-term and long-term benefits.
Everyone knows the caffeine in coffee offers a quick energy boost. But while it can stimulate mental alertness, coffee is also packed with antioxidants. Studies have also found that coffee drinkers enjoy more long-term energy. Plus, coffee drinkers have been found to enjoy better moods and overall better health coming from its protective effects against cellular degeneration.[6, 7]
To get the health benefits of chocolate, avoid candy bars and super sweet chocolates in favor of dark chocolate. The flavonoids in cocoa support blood flow and brain function. This helps with mood support and balanced energy levels.
7. Sweet Potatoes
With a combination of high fiber and complex carbohydrates, sweet potatoes provide you with a steady supply of energy. They also can keep you full longer. With a natural sweetness, they are a great option for carb-lovers who want a low-glycemic option. They also contain high levels of manganese, a mineral that helps break down nutrients to produce energy for the body.
Check out these seven foods if you want to increase your energy levels. You will feel better and more energized, and enjoy the added health benefits they provide!
Got a favorite that we missed? Please leave a comment below and share!
- Lansley KE, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):591-600.
- Vega-Gálvez A, et al Nutrition facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review. J Sci Food Agric. 2010 Dec;90(15):2541-2547.
- Bolling BW, et al. Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutr Res Rev. 2011 Dec;24(2):244-275.
- Ros E. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients. 2010 Jul; 2(7): 652–682.
- Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):378S-383S.
- Tuomilehto J. [Coffee and health]. Duodecim. 2013;129(13):1398-405.
- Hermansen K, et al. [Coffee can protect against disease]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2012 Sep 24;174(39):2293-2297.
- Sokolov AN, Pet al. Chocolate and the brain: Neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Dec; 37(10 Pt 2):2445-2453
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.