Natural Energy Boosters: Foods that Give You Energy (Evidence Based) & Other Tips

Natural Energy Boosters: Foods that Give You Energy

Foods that boost your energy naturally can be just what you need if you feel tired, fatigued, and have no energy. Foods such as bananas, eggs, lentils, oatmeal, and brown rice contain protein, fiber, and nutrients that give you energy. Some energy-boosting snacks include peanut butter, dark chocolate, and nuts.

There are also drinks that can help give you instant energy boost and increase stamina. Coffee and green tea contain caffeine and other compounds that are good for your health in moderation.

Although sugar gives you a quick energy boost, sugar tends to spike your blood glucose levels too quickly. The results of this type of instant energy are generally short-lived. To eat foods that give you energy all day, you should choose foods that have slow-releasing carbs and plenty of protein.

In this article, you will learn about the best and healthiest foods, vegetables and fruits that give you energy. At the end of the article you will find other solutions that can give you energy all day.

What Are Natural Energy-Boosting Foods?

When it comes to finding the best foods, vegetables and fruits that give you energy, some are better than others.

The journal Nutrients reports that many quick energy boosting foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients can lead to obesity. Foods such as sugary drinks, candies, and pastries contain carbs that give you energy, but they fuel your body too quickly. This means that your energy intake from these foods can leave you feeling hungry and fatigued very quickly. (1)

The book Food Components to Enhance Performance says that natural energy-boosting foods that are healthy should contain dietary fiber, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. These types of foods give you slow-releasing energy that keeps you feeling fuller for longer. (2)

Complex carbs are found in unrefined grains like wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, oatmeal and quinoa.

Consuming healthy foods that give you energy also prevents mental fatigue and brain fog. One study found that a lunch consisting of simple carbs (refined sugar and processed white flour) and little protein induced fatigue 2 hours after eating. (2)

Scientists have discovered that the brain needs an immense amount of energy to function properly. Hormones released in the gut during digestion have a direct impact on cognitive behavior. Foods that provide mental stamina should include omega-3 fatty acids and B-group vitamins. (3)

Foods that are a source of energy should also be nutrient-dense. They should contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. (2)

The Best Foods That Give You Energy

Let’s look in more detail at some of the best nutrient-dense, energy-boosting foods that can help give you energy and increase your stamina.

Bananas Are Good for Energy

Bananas are a great fruit that gives you sustained energy because they contain healthy carbs, fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

One medium-sized banana contains 27 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber, which is 12% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). Bananas are also a good source of manganese and potassium. (4)

A study involving cyclists found that consuming bananas before physical activity increased stamina and was just as effective as a carbohydrate drink. (5)

When consuming banana fruit for energy, you should not forget to use the peel. Researchers have found that banana peel is a good source of slow release carbs in the form of fiber. Banana peels are also a good source of antioxidants. (6)

Learn more about the health benefits of bananas and how to use banana peel in delicious energizing smoothies.

Peanut Butter is an Energy-Boosting Snack

Because they contain amino acids, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, peanuts are a good source of natural energy.

Peanuts are an energy-dense food because 50 grams of raw peanuts contain 280 calories. However, you also get more than 4 grams of fiber (17% RDI), 8 grams of carbs (3% RDI), and quarter of your protein needs. (7)

But a small quantity goes a long way – Spreading some delicious crunchy peanut butter on wholemeal toast is a delicious energizing snack. One serving of peanut butter is about one tablespoon. As well as boosting your energy levels, peanut butter can help improve your cardiovascular health. (8)

Other studies have found that snacking on peanuts can help increase your energy levels and prevent snacking on unhealthy snacks, as they help increase satiety. (9)

Eggs Help Give You Energy in the Morning

Eggs are a great source of energy because they are rich in proteins that can help sustain your energy needs throughout the day.

Studies into the nutritional value of eggs have found that the amino acid in eggs, called leucine, stimulates energy metabolism and can give a person extra energy. Egg consumption also promotes healthy growth in humans. (10)

Having one or two eggs for breakfast can also give you enough energy until lunchtime. For example, 2 large eggs contain 28% of your daily protein needs but only contain 200 calories. (11)

Eggs also contain vitamins B6 and B12. Research has found that these B-group vitamins are necessary for proper cell function and to help get energy from food. (12)

Find out more reasons why you should be eating eggs and how regular egg consumption is extremely nutritious.

Legumes Like Lentils and Peas are Natural Energy Boosters

Lentils and peas contain slow-releasing carbs that are good for energy all day.

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports that lentils are a protein-rich food that contains all the essential amino acids. Lentils are also a source of healthy carbs and contain minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, and B-group vitamins. (13)

A 1-cup serving of cooked lentils contains 17 grams of protein (36% RDI) and 40 grams of carbs. Added to this is the fact that one serving of lentils gives you a massive 15 grams of fiber which is over 60% of your daily needs. (14)

Scientists have found that lentils also have a low postprandial glycemic index (GI) rating. This means that energy from lentils is released slowly and doesn’t cause a blood glucose spike. (15)

Other studies have shown that a diet high in legumes such as lentils can provide just as much protein as an animal-based diet. (16)

Beans Are Great for Slow-Release Energy

Another energy boosting food is beans because they are packed with fiber and have a low GI rating.

Researchers say that beans are also a significant source of minerals such as iron, folate, magnesium, and zinc. (17)

One cup of kidney beans can contain as much as 4 mg of iron (22% RDI), 0.8 mg of manganese (38% RDI), and 717 mg of potassium (20% RDI). A cup serving of beans also gives you 2.3 mg folate (58% RDI). (18)

These vitamins and minerals are necessary to help the body produce energy. (19, 20)

Studies published in the journal PLoS One reported that bean consumption can help to balance your energy levels. Beans are important source of amino acids that help to balance food intake and energy expenditure. Researchers concluded that consumption of beans can help to increase feelings of fullness and regulate blood glucose levels. (21)

Nuts Are a High-Energy Food

Nuts are a delicious energy-boosting snack because they are energy-dense foods that are full of fiber, protein, and nutrients.

Studies into the nutritional value of nuts reveal that they contain B-group vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants. A 50-gram serving of nuts can provide you with up to 5 grams of fiber, and an excellent source of protein. Nuts are also an important source of healthy fats like omega-3. (22)

Some of the best nuts to give you steady energy are almonds and walnuts.

Almonds for an energy boost

Research from 2014 found that consuming almonds can increase stamina and boost athletic performance. Cyclists consumed 75 grams of whole almonds daily for 4 weeks. Scientists found that almonds increased energy expenditure and improved endurance performance. (23)

Walnuts are excellent energy snacks

The British Journal of Nutrition reported that regular walnut consumption increases energy intake. You can safely consume walnuts as an energizing snack because there is no evidence that increased walnut consumption leads to increased weight gain. (24)

Other studies have shown that because walnuts are high in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acids, they can also boost mental stamina, and improve cognitive performance. (25)

Find out why walnuts are one of the best and healthiest nuts you can eat to generate energy.

Oily Fish Gives Your Energy

Fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that also help release energy.

The National Institutes of Health reports that omega-3 fats provide your body with energy and help your internal organs function properly. (26)

One 200-gram serving of salmon contains nearly 4,000 mg of omega-3 and a massive 40 grams of protein. This serving of healthy salmon also gives you 6 mcg of vitamin B12 (105% RDI), 1.6 mg vitamin B6 (81% RDI), and 1.6 mg of iron (9% RDI). (27)

Some studies suggest that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can help to promote nutrient delivery to muscles, increase energy expenditure, and help suppress appetite. (28)

Consuming foods rich in omega-3 can also help provide your brain with enough energy. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids act as fuel for your brain and can improve cognitive function. (29)

Learn more about the benefits of adding oily fish to your diet and how omega-3 can help protect your cardiovascular health.

Oatmeal is Good to Eat for Energy Throughout the Day

Oatmeal contains unsaturated fatty acids that are an excellent source of energy. To kick-start your day with an energy-boosting breakfast, have a plate of oatmeal to help sustain your energy levels until lunchtime.

According to scientific research, oatmeal is a cheap and healthy source of high-quality protein. Oatmeal also contains a lot of fiber and can increase feelings of fullness. In comparison with other cereals, oats are one of the best energy-boosting foods. (30)

The nutritional value of oats shows that they are an excellent high-energy food. One cup of oats contains 66% of your fiber needs (16.5 g) and half of your daily protein needs (26.4 g). (31)

Because they maintain glycemic control and improve insulin responses, oats are an excellent energy food source if you suffer from diabetes. (31)

Quinoa is an Energy Food

You should eat quinoa if you want to have energy that lasts all day because this food is high in protein and fiber.

Quinoa is an energy food that is high in healthy carbohydrates which are released slowly to provide energy for hours after eating. One cup of cooked quinoa contains nearly 40 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein (16% RDI). (32)

Because quinoa provides a steady supply of energy and doesn’t spike glucose levels, quinoa is one of the energy foods recommended for diabetics. (33)

Learn about how to consume more quinoa and how adding this seed to your diet can boost your health.

Sweet Potatoes Give an Extra Energy Boost

One of the reasons why sweet potatoes are a great energy-giving food is that they are full of healthy complex carbs and fiber.

Research into sweet potatoes has shown that they contain a type of starch that gets digested slowly in your intestines and doesn’t spike blood glucose levels. (34)

Studies have shown that fiber-rich foods that include complex carbohydrates help to provide sustained energy release in the body. (35)

200 grams of cooked sweet potato contains 6.6 grams of fiber (26% RDI), 4 grams of protein (8% RDI), and 41 grams of carbs. However, this serving size only contains 180 calories. (36)

Brown Rice Contains Slow-Release Carbs that Give Energy

If you want to maintain your energy levels throughout the day, you should swap white rice for healthy brown rice.

Studies have shown that brown rice contains slow-releasing starches that give your body a constant supply of energy. Comparing brown rice to milled rice, scientists found that brown rice releases less sugar. (37)

Gram for gram, brown rice contains fewer carbs and sugars than white rice but 4 ½ times the amount of dietary fiber. The fiber in brown rice helps energy to be released over an extended period of time. (38, 39)

Other scientific studies confirm that brown rice is a healthier energy-boosting food than white rice. (40)

Did you know that purple rice may be even healthier for you than brown rice?

Coffee Can Give You Stamina and Boost Your Energy Levels

Coffee contains caffeine and is a surprisingly healthy drink that can give you energy and increase your stamina.

One study involving sedentary men found that consuming caffeinated coffee increased physical performance and energy utilization. (41)

Other studies into the health benefits of coffee have found that coffee isn’t as bad for your heart as once thought. Consuming coffee in moderate amounts can give people instant energy and encourage greater physical activity. (42)

Even though caffeine is a stimulant that gives you energy, caffeinated sugary energy drinks can cause blood glucose spikes and leave you feeling more fatigued when the energy kick wears off.

Find out more about the surprising health benefits of consuming coffee every day.

Green Tea Helps Give You Mental Stamina

Another natural energy booster drink with additional health benefits is green tea because it contains caffeine and natural antioxidants.

A review of the effects of green tea on metabolism found that green tea’s energy comes from caffeine and antioxidants called catechins. A combination of these two compounds affects energy mechanisms in the body and increase energy expenditure. (43)

Green tea also contains a compound called L-theanine which helps increase mental stamina and improve memory and attention span. (44)

You can find out more about the amazing health benefits of green tea in this article.

Water Helps Fight Fatigue

It may surprise you to learn that keeping yourself well-hydrated can also give you more physical and mental energy.

The journal Nutrition Reviews reports that water is a nutrient essential for good health. Adequate water intake helps boost physical performance and helps the body function better. (45)

Keeping yourself hydrated also helps prevent mental fatigue. Studies indicate that even being dehydrated by just 2% can affect memory skills, attention span, and impair cognitive function. (46)

Learn how to spot the signs of dehydration and find out how to make some delicious water drinks to keep yourself healthy.

Apples are an Energy-Giving Fruit

Apples are one of the fruits that give you energy because they contain healthy sugars, fiber, and healthy carbs.

One medium-sized apple with the skin on contains 25 grams of carbohydrates and 4.4 grams of fiber which is 17% of your RDI. A medium apple has 95 calories. (47)

One study involving 58 men and women showed that consuming an apple before a meal can increase feelings of satiety and boost your energy. After eating the whole apple, subjects consumed less food during the meal. Scientists also noted that apples had a greater effect on reducing feelings of hunger than other fruits. (48)

The fiber content of apples helps energy to be released slowly and provide sustained energy that lasts a long time.

Dark Chocolate is a Quick Energy Booster

If you want a healthy snack that provides you with an instant source of energy, then consuming some dark chocolate may be your answer.

Dark chocolate that has at least 70% cacao contains many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, dark chocolate is high in calories which give you an instant energy kick.

25 g of dark chocolate contains 150 calories. However, it has a relatively low GI rating. For example, dark chocolate has a GI mark of 15 whereas the same amount of milk chocolate has a GI rating of 34. Dark chocolate has 3 times the amount of fiber than milk chocolate. (49, 50)

Studies point to the fact that consuming 40 g of dark chocolate daily can help reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. (51) Dark chocolate is one of the foods that fight fatigue because researchers have linked stress to increased feelings of fatigue. (52)

Dark chocolate also benefits your cognitive function. Scientific studies have shown that dark chocolate is a high energy food that improves mental endurance and reduces cognitive fatigue. (53)

Find out more about the surprising health benefits of dark chocolate and cacao and how it can help improve your cardiovascular health.

Hummus is a Snack that Gives You Energy

Hummus is a quick energizing healthy snack because it contains fiber, healthy carbs, protein and is a good source of energy.

The reason that hummus provides steady energy is that it contains chickpeas which contain fiber and sesame paste – all of which a good, natural energy sources.

One tablespoon of hummus contains 25 calories and nearly 1 gram of fiber. Hummus is also a good source of polyunsaturated fats as well as vitamins and minerals.

Researchers say that consuming 4 tablespoons of hummus a day can help slow down carbohydrate absorption and give you plenty of protein. (54)

Other studies have shown that hummus is a good energy snack for diabetics because it has a low GI rating and doesn’t spike blood glucose levels. (55)

Learn about other good sources of meat-free protein that you can add to your diet.

Fruits Give You Quick Energy Boost

Fruits are another natural energy booster due to their healthy sugars, fiber, and vitamin content.

Researchers suggest that increasing your fruit intake can help prevent snacking on energy-dense unhealthy snacks. Whole fruits contain large amounts of fiber that supports sustained energy release and keep your energy levels up for longer. (56)

One natural energy booster drink is orange juice. One study showed that consuming 500 ml of orange juice before aerobic training helped women increase physical performance over a 3-month period. (57)

However when drinking the juice you also lose the fiber content. Find out in my previous article why you should be careful not to consume large amounts of fruit juice and replace some of it with the real fruit or drink instead smoothies that contain also the fiber.

Seeds Are a High-Energy Food

Snacking on seeds can help to boost your energy because they contain healthy fats and protein and are also a great fiber source.

Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds have fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 as energy sources. For example, 1-oz. serving of flaxseeds contains 6.3 g of omega-3 fatty acids, and 1-oz. of chia seeds contains 4.9 g of omega-3. (58, 59)

One study found that consuming omega-3 in chia seed increases physical performance and endurance by giving a sustained release of energy. (60)

Other studies have shown that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help offset symptoms of chronic fatigue. (61)

Learn more about why seeds are good for you and why pumpkin seeds can help to reduce inflammation.

Air-Popped Popcorn Snack Helps Boost Energy

Because they are high in fiber and contain slow energy-releasing carbs, air-pooped popcorn is a delicious snack to give you energy.

1 cup of air-popped popcorn contains just 31 calories, 1.2 grams of fiber (5% RDI), 1 grams of protein (2% RDI), and 6.2 grams of carbs.

One study comparing popcorn with potato chips reported that low-fat popcorn was a far healthier snack than chips and people snacking on chips felt hungrier sooner. It was concluded that popcorn is a better choice for those wanting to reduce feelings of hunger while managing energy intake and body weight. (62)

Green Leafy Vegetables Like Kale Help Boost Energy Naturally

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage contain high levels of nutrients that help improve energy metabolism.

Studies have shown that a lack of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids is often the underlying cause of fatigue, low energy levels, and tiredness. (63)

Green leafy vegetables generally contain many essential amino acids, fiber, as well as high levels of vitamins and minerals.

Learn more about the many benefits of consuming kale in your diet.

Yogurt is a Super-Healthy Energy Booster

Having raw, plain yogurt for your breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack can help give you energy all day.

Studies have shown that consuming yogurt helps to improve your gut’s microbiota which can then help with glycemic control. This helps energy from carbohydrates to be released slowly, providing you with a sustained energy source. Yogurt also helps regulate energy metabolism. (64)

Other Natural Energy Boosters: Best 8 Secrets for Endless Energy

Apart from foods that give you energy, what are other things that can give you energy? If you feel a decrease in your energy levels and a feeling of fatigue (physically and mentally), the good news are that with several effective tips you can increase your energy naturally:

1. Exercise

Exercising is an all natural energy booster.

How can you exercise if you don’t have energy? While it sounds strange, sometimes you need to invest energy in order to gain energy.

Exercising, even when you don’t feel like doing it, increases blood circulation and oxygen, helps to relieve stress which is known to drain our energy, and gives us a sense of achievements with positive work on our body.

Do activities that you love, and diversify with different activities for a total body workout.

2. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels naturally.

I’ve already written about the dangers of sleep deprivation. Getting enough sleep is essential for optimum body function. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Prepare your room for a good night sleep by making it dark and quiet.

Also prepare yourself for a good night sleep: avoid stimuli like caffeine late in the evening and alcohol, and get more physical exercise during the day, but avoid exercise right before going to bed. If you have trouble sleeping, try a warm bath, soothing music or deep breathing.

 3. Work on your mind

We spend a lot of energy on analyzing things from the past, while worrying too much about the future. This drains a lot of our energy. Instead, channel the energy to the present by living in the moment and appreciating it. Set up long term goals that motivate you and build your enthusiasm.

Have you noticed that when you are motivated you have a lot of energy? This is because you plan something that you are passionate and excited about.

Follow your inner guidance to tell you when to rest or interact, and avoid people or situations that drain your energy, while focusing instead on relaxing techniques to relieve stress.

4. Nutrition

Eliminate from your diet high calorie and low nutrient foods.

Avoid sugar, soft drinks, smoking and drugs, and feed your body nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses while making sure that you are well hydrated with at least 1 liter of water a day.

Don’t eat heavy and late dinners and opt for a light dinner at least two hours before you go to sleep.

5. Use herbs

Complement you diet with energizing herbs like Siberian ginseng, astragalus or rhodiola rosea. The energy boosting properties of these herbs have also shown to improve concentration and memory, improve mood and enhance physical and mental performance.

People who consume energizing herbs often notice that their mind is sharper, they feel less stressful and they have more energy.

If you are interested in natural and herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide.

You can also diffuse at your home stimulating and uplifting essential oils such as cypress, eucalyptus, pine, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, rosemary and thyme. They will revitalize and invigorate you.

If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy.

 6. Do things that motivate you

If you feel low, do things that you enjoy and that motivate you and you will see your energy levels climbing up in no time.

Use all your senses: see, smell, touch, taste, talk. You can do any activity that you love and that makes you feel alive, such as dancing, singing, listening to a music, painting, walking outside, and gardening.

Find what energizes you, and make it a top priority in your schedule. Try to reduce tiring and time wasting activities, such as obsessive cleaning, long phone calls and negative relationships.

7. Check your digestion

Your body’s many systems work closely together to maintain optimal health, so when one system is off, one of the symptoms can be fatigue and lack of energy.

One system that is particularly responsible for overall well-being is your digestive system which is connected to immunity, energy and even mood. If your tummy is heavy and bloated, your energy is blocked.

For a good digestive system, drink enough water, eat wholesome foods, chew slowly and make sure you have regular bowel movements with the help of natural laxatives and fiber if necessary. You can find here more information about the top 10 herbal teas to improve digestion.

8. Deal with disease

Common causes of fatigue are viruses, anemia, thyroid disorders, depression and more.

Illnesses can seriously affect our energy levels and overall state. When you already have a disease, commit to your recovery with a clear diagnosis and a treatment plan. Even better is if you can prevent disease before it occurs.

The required energy for preventing disease is minor in comparison to the energy required to overcome it. Take the time and effort to change unhealthy habits or beliefs. You owe it to yourself if you value yourself.

Your life is valuable and worthy, and by increasing your energy levels, you will also increase your potential and general well-being.

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