20 Healthy Foods That Give You Energy That Lasts
Why Your Diet Plays a Big Part in Your Energy Levels
Energy is something we could all use a bit more of. When we wake up in the morning, coffee is one of the first things on our minds. And, although there’s nothing wrong with coffee, there are some other ways to make yourself more energized throughout the day without loading yourself up on caffeine.
And anyway, if you’re drinking too much caffeine, that’s not a great energy solution anyways. Experts recommend one to two cups a day, otherwise there could be some negative side effects and energy crashes.
Basically, the most important thing you can do to maintain good energy levels throughout the day is to optimize your diet. What you eat has a huge effect on your body and mind.
For example, if you’re not eating enough or you’re not getting the right balance of nutrients in your diet, you’re going to feel it. Luckily, there are numerous healthy foods that can give you lasting energy throughout the day, you just need to decide which ones you want to add to your diet.
Below you’ll find some of the best foods for energy and focus. These foods contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that your body thrives on, so pick the ones you enjoy, and try to eat them every day!
20 Best Foods to Give You Energy
Blueberries are one of those fruits that are so easy to snack on in the summertime. A perfectly ripe blueberry is just so delicious and refreshing. It’s almost like a dessert!
They’re not only a tasty treat either. Blueberries are packed with vitamin C and an antioxidant called Anthocyanin that can help protect cells and fight inflammation.
And, of course, blueberries are a great source of energy. According to Jaclyn London, a registered dietician, “The combo of soluble and insoluble fiber in berries can help slow down the rate of digestion in your GI tract, causing a steadier release of sugar into your bloodstream and a more stable, longer-lasting energy boost!”
Strawberries are arguably one of the yummiest fruits in the world, and they’re also loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Best of all, you can easily grow strawberries at home!
Just like blueberries, strawberries can give you a long-lasting energy boost so make sure to include them in your morning fruit bowl, fruit smoothie, or salad!
Mangos (also known as the kings of fruit) have a ton of health benefits. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals and they have very low levels of fat and sodium. They also provide a good amount of carbs which our bodies run on (unless you’re on the keto diet).
Bananas are commonly recommended to athletes as an energy booster and an easy before or after workout snack. They also go so well with many other foods like pancakes and peanut butter.
The real reason why bananas are such a good addition to anyone’s diet is that they contain carbs and minerals that can boost physical and mental energy levels.
You know what they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, that may not be completely true, but apples CAN give you a good boost of energy in the morning with the vitamins, minerals, and carbs that they provide. Plus, the fiber in apples will keep you feeling full for longer.
Because oranges are loaded with mostly carbs and a bit of fiber, they’re great for energy and they’ll help you feel full for longer. Just like the other fruits listed above, they’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals that are great for your health.
Avocados contain quite a bit of natural fat that slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, keeping your sugar levels stable and energy levels stable for longer. That’s not all either, eating healthy fats can provide a lot of other benefits as well.
I’m not sure how many people eat beets but after doing some research, I think more people should! Beets contain natural chemicals called nitrates which the body uses and turns into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps with blood flow and blood pressure.
On top of that, according to a study quoted on WebMD, those who drank beet juice for 6 days noticed an increase in stamina during intense exercise. I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that beets are a great energy booster!
If you’ve ever seen Popeye before, you already know that spinach has the power to give you super strength and make you sprout new muscles. Ok… maybe it’s not THAT good, but it is still one of the most nutritional foods you can eat, and it’s super accessible.
According to Jo Lewin, the fact that spinach is so rich in iron is what makes it so great for restoring energy and helping you stay focused. Iron helps maintain healthy blood cells which help transfer oxygen around your body.
Kale is another leafy green with tons of health benefits. Just like spinach, kale contains a healthy amount of iron which can help boost your energy levels. Kale also contains vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Not only are sweet potatoes delightful to cook with and eat, but they’re also this over 100-year-old woman’s secret to a long life. Her daughter says she ate a sweet potato every day until she was 110.
Now, I’m not really sure if sweet potatoes will extend your lifespan, but they can be a great source of long-lasting energy. The fiber and carbohydrates in them will give you a slow release of energy and the other nutrients they contain will give you an extra boost.
Eggs are great because they’re affordable and they’re packed with high-quality protein and other healthy nutrients. Eggs also contain an amino acid called leucine that helps the body use energy.
Another great thing about eggs is that there are so many ways to prepare them! You could have an egg sandwich, cook them up scrambled, put one in your ramen, there are so many options.
13. Dark Chocolate
According to a study done with cyclists, dark chocolate can help widen blood vessels allowing less energy to be used during exercise. The athletes that ate dark chocolate during the study could workout for longer, and they could go faster.
This is great news as dark chocolate is a delicious treat and it’s even been shown to help relieve depression. Don’t feel bad about eating a bit of dark chocolate!
Check out these delicious and healthy no-bake dark chocolate granola bites.
Whole grain oatmeal is an amazing morning energy booster. A bowl of oats will deliver protein, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals to your body, keeping you alert and full throughout the day.
If you want to make it even better, combine your oatmeal with some of the superfoods listed above. Blueberries are a great option! Check out our homemade baked oatmeal recipe for more ideas.
There’s a reason why they say you should try to add fish as a regular addition to your diet. Salmon (and other fatty, oily fish) contain omega-3 fatty acids which have a TON of health benefits. One of the main benefits is that omega-3s help boost brain function which means better focus throughout the day.
Yogurt is another food that is super versatile. For example, you can add oats and fruit to your yogurt for even more health benefits.
However, even alone yogurt still contains nearly every nutrient your body needs, and it’s high in protein (especially Greek yogurt). Just make sure to get the unsweetened yogurt for optimal healthiness!
Nuts are one of those quick energy foods that you can eat on the go and they contain a lot of protein, carbs, and fiber, which means they can provide a slow release of energy for you throughout the day. Nuts also contain healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals.
For a list of healthy nuts that you may want to start including in your diet, check out this post from Healthline.
This one may be a bit surprising at first. However, we’re talking about plain, air-popped popcorn here. We’re not talking about popcorn that’s been smothered in butter or caramel sauce (unfortunately).
The reason why popcorn is on this list of healthy foods that give you energy is that it contains a good amount of iron (more than spinach), whole grains, and it’s also low in calories. It’s a great snack!
Quinoa is extremely nutritional. It contains a lot of protein and fiber, some omega-3 fatty acids, and a ton of other vitamins and minerals. It’s one of the healthiest seeds you can find!
Another great thing about quinoa is that it’s relatively simple to cook with. We have some of our own quinoa recipes that you can check out so you can start incorporating this healthy seed into your diet!
Beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you… I’ll let you finish that one! Seriously though, beans really are magical! They’re a great source of protein, and they’re packed with nutrients.
On top of that, beans are another food type that is easy to incorporate into meals. You can even eat them alone if you need a quick snack! There are a ton of different varieties of beans too. Check out our bean recipes for ideas!
Hopefully, this list of healthy foods for energy and focus has inspired you to start trying new meals and ingredients! Once you change your diet to include some of these superfoods, you should start to notice a significant increase in your energy levels.
If changing your diet doesn’t end up helping very much, another important thing to make sure of is that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. Drinking water is one of the most important healthy habits!
If you need some help, check out these tips on how to easily drink more water every day.
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