Nearly everyone runs out of fuel from time to time. Luckily, you can overcome unwanted tiredness by eating certain foods that boost energy and increase mental alertness. Frankly, making the right dietary choices can make a significant impact on how energetic you feel throughout your day.
Foods that Boost Energy
A good way to recognize when you’re running low on energy is by assessing your mood or mental focus. If you’re having a hard time concentrating, that typically means your body is becoming drained. As well, if you’re more easily frustrated than normal, you might need a little energy boost.
Unless you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, eating the right foods is a great way to perk up. You can snack on them during those times of the day when you typically feel a little run down. In addition, adding foods that boost energy into your meals will help you feel more alert and lively throughout your day.
Ginseng is known to help the body adapt to stressful situations. It can boost energy, induce mental alertness, improve the ratio of healthy hormones (thereby acting as a subtle aphrodisiac), and increase endurance. An easy way to ingest ginseng is to drink organic ginseng tea.
Cacao is rich in magnesium and iron. Both substances can help you feel more energetic. Firstly, magnesium is one of the main nutrients that helps the body produce more energy. Iron, on the other hand, is a nutrient essential for optimal blood health. It boosts your hemoglobin levels, thus giving you much-needed extra energy.
Finally, cacao is also ideal food for the brain. Thanks to its flavonols, consuming dark chocolate can enhance your cognitive abilities and improve attention span.
The best way to eat cacao is to add a little raw cacao powder to your breakfast (cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, etc). If you wonder what to put in coffee to make is healthier, cacao should be on top of the list. As well, cacao nibs make a perfect superfood snack.
This flavorful spice is regarded as the Queen of Spices for a reason. One of its many benefits is that it helps improve circulation and increasing energy. If you like to enjoy an afternoon coffee, consider adding cardamom to your cup of joe. Chai tea is another drink rich in cardamom.
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4. Dark Leafy Greens
Another great source of magnesium are dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and collard greens. Many of these superfoods are also packed with iron. Furthermore, dark leafy greens help promote energy and concentration with high levels of brain-boosting folate. A side of leafy greens with each meal will help you stay energized all day.
Eggs are sometimes called “brain food” because they are known for supplying high amounts of choline. Here’s what Dr. Axe says about this essential micronutrient: “Choline is a water soluble nutrient that is related to other vitamins, such as folate and those in the B vitamin complex family. Just like B vitamins, choline plays a similar role in terms of supporting energy and brain function, as well as keeping the metabolism active.”
Iron and magnesium make avocados a high-energy food. It is also a great source of vegan protein, which is needed for sustained energy. As well, avocado’s monounsaturated fatty acids are a great source of slow burning energy.
Avocado makes a great addition to any meal, or you can have it as a snack. Just keep in mind that it is also high in fat, so limit your intake of other high-fat foods to avoid weight gain.
7. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great source of the amino acid phenylalanine. The brain uses this substance like an anti-depressant, helping you keep focused and alert. Furthermore, a quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds provides more than 25% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. That means more energy throughout your day.
Raw sunflower seeds make a wonderful afternoon snack and salad topping. Just be aware that they are also high in fat (good fat, but fat nevertheless). Finally, stay away from salted sunflower seeds so you’re less likely to become dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired or lethargic.
8. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a great superfood to add to your breakfasts and smoothies for an extra boost of energy. “Chia seeds give you stable energy because of their great ratio of protein, fats and fiber combined with the fact that they’re low-carb,” claims Carolyn Brown, MS, RD at Foodtrainers in Manhattan. In addition, chia seeds have more iron than most leafy greens, supporting your red blood cell function.
Soaking chia seeds in water or juice for about 10 to 15 minutes results in a gelatinous liquid. Consuming chia seeds in this manner will help your body digest them. A glass of lemon water with 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds makes for a refreshing afternoon energy drink instead of coffee.
As mentioned earlier, being dehydrated will likely make you feel sluggish. Thus, drinking plenty of water, ideally eight glasses per day, ensures that you’ll benefit from all the high-energy foods you’re eating.
Good dietary choices can have a big impact on how energetic you feel. Of course, you still need adequate sleep and exercise. You can’t expect to eat an egg after a night of 4 hours of sleep and suddenly feel fantastic. Yet, if you are taking care of yourself and find that your energy drops during certain parts of the day, try to snack on the foods listed in this article. As well, you can add more of these foods to your meals, so you don’t fall victim to the all-too-common food coma.
If you’ve found other foods that help you feel more energetic, please share them in the comments section.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.