30 Natural Foods That Give You Energy and Keep You Productive
Last Updated on
Eating healthy is directly related to your well-being. If you feel happy and full of strength, then you will be able to complete more tasks during the day and be more productive. But, of course, maintaining a healthy diet is a matter of habit. So, in order to succeed, you will have to incorporate these thirty energizing foods into your eating plan and make it a habit to consume them regularly.
1. Brown Rice
You might be surprised to see any kind of rice on this list, but is actually a great source of minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Unlike white rice, brown rice is less processed which enables it to have more nutritional value. Thanks to its fiber content, brown rice has a low glycemic index which allows it to regulate blood sugar levels helping you maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish may not be your favorite, but it is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and fatty acids. This makes such fish as tuna or salmon some of the best energizing foods you can include in your diet. Moreover, fatty fish has proven to reduce fatigue.
This is due to the omega-3 fatty acids which reduce the inflammation in the body - a common cause of fatigue. In addition to that, vitamin B12 works together with folic acid producing red blood cells and helping iron work better in your body which increases energy.
Bananas are probably one of the most well-known sources of energy. These fruits contain a lot of vitamin B6 and potassium as well as carbohydrates, which makes them an excellent source of power.
In fact, one banana can be as useful to an athlete as a carbohydrate drink before yet another competition. Imagine how useful they can be to non-athletes. To find out more about the value of bananas, check out 11 Proven Benefits of Bananas.
Water may sound plain, so you are probably wondering why does it stand with other energizing foods. But it is essential for life and is involved in many cellular processes, including energy production. Drinking water has been proven to help fight off fatigue and give you a boost of energy. Moreover, try drinking water throughout the day even if you don't feel thirsty. This will help you avoid dehydration.
Eggs, consumed in any form, are a protein-rich energizing food. They don't cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin when digested making them a steady and sustained source of energy.
Eggs are also rich in B vitamins which help enzymes perform their role and break down food for energy effectively. Furthermore, leucine, which is known to stimulate energy production in several ways, is the most abundant amino acid in eggs.
Yogurt is packed both with protein and carbohydrates, so eating this energizing food during the day as a snack is perfect to give you a boost. The carbohydrates in yogurt are mostly in the form of simple sugars such as lactose and galactose which can provide you with ready-to-use energy when broken down.
The proteins, on the other hand, slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and slow down the release of sugars into the blood. The vitamins B2 and B12 help the formation of molecule ATP which is somewhat of fuel for your cells. Check out 13 Foods With High Levels of Probiotics to find out more about foods similar to yogurt.
7. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a drink made from the dried leaves of a plant found in South America. Yerba mate contains caffeine and antioxidants. In fact, an 8-ounce cup of the drink contains the same amount of caffeine as in a small cup of coffee. Yerba mate can enhance mood, memory, mental focus, and physical activity.
The caffeine found in yerba mate stimulates the production of epinephrine which increases energy. Moreover, unlike other stimulants, this drink does not affect blood pressure or heart rate.
8. Sweet Potatoes
In addition to being delicious, sweet potatoes have proven to be a very effective energizing food. Thanks to their complex carbs and fibers, they are digested slower than usual foods providing you with a steady supply of energy. Being a great source of manganese, sweet potatoes also help tremendously in breaking down nutrients to produce energy.
Hummus is an amazing source of energy as it is made up of chickpeas, oil, lemon, and sesame seed paste. Chickpeas are rich with fiber and complex carbs, while sesame seed paste and oil contain healthy fats. These slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and help avoid blood sugar spikes. Consume hummus either in combination with other dishes such as salads and sandwiches or use it as a dip for vegetables.
Avocados are definitely one of those superfoods every household must have. They are rich in fiber and healthy fats which enhance the absorption of nutrients and promote optimal blood fat levels. Moreover, these fatty acids can be stored in your body and used as energy sources later. Avocados are also a source of B vitamins required for the proper functioning of the mitochondria in your cells. Check out 12 Proven Benefits of Avocado to find out more about this energizing food.
Edamame is perhaps your perfect snack. It is low on calories, but has a lot of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Folic acid also works with iron to decrease the feeling of fatigue and fight off anemia as well as promote energy.
Likewise, manganese helps break down carbohydrates and proteins generating energy. In addition to that, edamame is rich in molybdenum which stimulates enzymes and assists in the breakdown of nutrients for energy.
12. Dark Chocolate
Unlike milk or regular chocolate, dark chocolate has a high cocoa content which is in turn rich with antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to increase blood flow throughout the body among other health benefits.
The increase of blood flow leads to an improved mood and a reduction of mental fatigue. It also helps deliver oxygen to the brain and muscles which is especially helpful while exercising. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and heobromine. These stimulatory compounds enhance mental energy and mood.
Coffee is probably that one drink that instantly comes to mind when you think of energizing foods. Unfortunately, it is easy to get addicted to it if you consume coffee too often, but this doesn't eliminate its benefits.
Every time an entrepreneur is cracking their head about how to go global with their company (by the way, you can read 5 Steps to a Successful International Digital Marketing Strategy to get a grip on this), a lonely cup of coffee stands waiting for them to relieve their pain. Coffee is rich in caffeine which quickly passes from your bloodstream to your brain inhibiting the activity of adenosine (a neurotransmitter that quiets the central system).
The nutrients in nuts make them a great snack that promotes energy. The high calories and abundance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats in such nuts as cashews, almonds, and walnuts can provide you with a slow release of energy during the day.
Moreover, nuts are also high in antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help with antioxidant protection and inflammation. Lastly, nuts contain various minerals and vitamins such as iron, manganese, vitamin E, and B vitamins that contribute to energy production.
Lentils are an inexpensive source of proteins and other nutrients that help boost energy levels. Lentils are basically legumes full of fiber and carbohydrates. Lentils help control the increase blood sugar levels and slow down stomach emptying.
You will feel full longer after eating them. Lentils are also great for increasing your stores of zinc, iron, manganese, and folate, all of which help increase your energy levels.
Not everybody knows about it, but popcorn can be a great low-calorie energizing snack. Its high levels of fiber and carbohydrates make it very satisfying, while cooking it properly with the air-pop cooking method and wholesome ingredients can make it remain a healthy food. Read more about the value of popcorn in Popcorn Nutrition Facts.
Research has proven that the scent of peppermint increases alertness and decreases fatigue. Moreover, one study found that if you sniff peppermint every two hours, you can lose an average of five pounds a month! Try chewing a gum stick or brewing peppermint tea to give you an energy boost when you need one.
18. Goji Berries
Goji berries have been used by the Chinese for centuries due to their multiple benefits. This fruit is a great source of fiber rich with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can eat them either raw or mix with such foods as yogurt, baked goods, sauces, and smoothies. Goji berry juice can also assist with alertness and mental performance, provide antioxidant protection, and help fight fatigue.
Oranges are probably mostly known for their impressive amount of vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants which can protect you from oxidative stress which has proven to be a cause of fatigue. Try to combine orange juice with exercise for better results and see an improvement in physical performance.
20. Green Tea
Green tea is second only to coffee when it comes to energizing drinks. Its high concentration of antioxidants helps prevent inflammation and oxidative stress. The caffeine in green tea can boost energy levels, but the compound called L-theanine can moderate the effects of caffeine while still producing a smoother boost of energy.
Green tea has also proven to increase alertness and improve focus and mental concentration. It also decreases fatigue and improves physical performance. To find out about more useful tea types, check out 30 Types of Herbal Teas (and Their Benefits).
Quinoa is a type of seed popular for its high protein content. It is also rich in carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index. This enables its carbs to be absorbed slowly providing sustained energy release. It also has a significant amount of minerals and vitamins and provides more than 20% of the RDI for manganese, magnesium, and folate, which are all used in the production of energy.
All kinds of seeds, from sesame and chia to pumpkin and flaxseeds, can increase your energy levels tremendously. They are usually high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that decrease inflammation and fatigue. These fatty acids are also a source of stored energy helping your cells function properly. Lastly, seeds are rich in fibers and protein contributing to the slow digestion of nutrients that results in a steady release of energy.
Known as perhaps the most widespread fruits on Earth, apples are a great source of fibers and carbohydrates. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," and that is very true. Apples can provide you with a sustained energy release due to their richness in fibers and natural sugars.
In addition to that, they have a high antioxidant content which means that they slow down the digestion of carbohydrates that release energy over a longer period of time. By the way, it is recommended to eat apples whole as this means that juices and purees are ingested faster and can provide you with quickly digested energy. To find out more about these amazing fruits, check out Apples: 15 Surprising Health Benefits.
Strawberries are yet another energizing food from the ranks of powerful fruits. They provide you with fibers, sugars, and carbohydrates that can enhance your energy levels. Moreover, strawberries are also rich in antioxidants that help fight inflammation in the body as well as give you energy and prevent fatigue.
One of the best things about strawberries is that they can be consumed virtually in any form from jams to smoothies. For instance, one cup of these berries can give you 149% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Beans are a well-known source of natural energy. Despite there being a large number of different types of seeds, they are pretty similar in nutritional value. Beans are rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and protein. They help maintain stable blood sugar levels and a steady supply of energy thanks to their slow digestion.
In addition to that, they are known to contain antioxidants which promote energy and help fight off fatigue. Such bean types as black-eyed peas and black beans are a great source of folic acid, manganese, iron, and magnesium that help deliver energy to every cell in the body.
You might be used to oatmeal as a light breakfast, but it is actually a great source of long-lasting energy. Oatmeal is rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, manganese, and B vitamins all of which help in the production of energy.
Furthermore, oats contain beta-glucon which is a soluble fiber. Beta-glucon forms a thick gel when combined with water. This gel delays stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood. Read more about the positive sides of oatmeal in 8 Health Benefits of Oatmeal and How To Make It.
Dates are now being used as sweeteners in some health-food recipes. This is due to their high levels of sugar, especially in Medjool dates. Dates are rich in fiber which will help you prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Moreover, eating dates with nut butter is a great example of an energizing snack.
28. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach can not only help you lose weight (more about it in 40 Fat Burning Foods (or How to Build the Ultimate Healthy Grocery Shopping List)) but also provide you with a steady energy supply throughout the day. Leafy vegetables are high in vitamins A, K, C, and E, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, fiber, folic acid, and antioxidants. They can help fight fatigue, enhance the production of red blood cells, stimulate the formation of nitric acid, and widen the blood vessels for better blood flow through the body.
While there are definitely not that many broccoli lovers in the world, there is no denying that this green vegetable can increase your energy levels pretty well. Broccoli is rich with vitamin C and antioxidants. It also contains chromium which is a mineral that regulates blood sugar levels. Instead of roasting broccoli, steam it before consuming the vegetable. This will prevent it from losing its energy-boosting elements.
Just like water can prevent dehydration, watermelon (which is mostly water) works in a similar way. Watermelons are rich in antioxidants and can help you stay alert. In addition to that, they have high levels of magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium. To find out more about the usefulness of watermelons by checking out The Health Benefits of Watermelon.
To sum up, a healthy lifestyle is always something we must all strive for. Being healthy makes us happy and satisfied, so try and make it a habit to eat these energizing foods regularly and improve your productivity throughout the day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator at translation service TheWordPoint. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.