All of us have felt tired or rundown at some point of the day. This lack of energy affects our daily activities and reduces our productivity. The type and quantity of food we consume plays an important role in determining our energy levels during the day. Although all foods that give you energy, some foods have nutrients which help boost energy levels and help you stay alert throughout the day. Given below is a list of foods that give you energy :
- Brown Rice
Brown rice is extremely nutritious, and when compared to white rice, it is less processed and retains more nutritional value. 50 grams of brown rice contains 2 grams of fibre and thanks to being rich in fibre, it has a low glycemic index. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and maintain regular energy levels throughout the day. In addition to this, brown rice also contains a significant amount of the recommended daily intake of manganese, which is a mineral that helps enzymes break down carbohydrates and proteins to release energy.
Bananas are perhaps one of the best foods for energy. They contain copious amounts of complex carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin B6, and so on, all of which assist in burgeoning your energy levels.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are excellent sources of fatty acids, proteins, and vitamin B complex. A serving of fatty fish provides the recommended daily amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, along with folic acid, produce red blood cells and improve the efficiency of iron in the body. Having optimal levels of RBCs and iron reduces fatigue and increases energy levels. Furthermore, Omega-3 fatty acids are proven to reduce inflammation, which is a leading cause of fatigue.
When asked what to consume to get an energy boost, the first thing that comes to mind would be coffee. Coffee is rich in caffeine, which quickly passes from the bloodstream to the brain and inhibits the activity of adenosine (a neurotransmitter that quells the central nervous system). This leads to an increase in the production of epinephrine, which is a hormone that stimulates the body and the brain. Although the calorific value of coffee is quite low (2 calories per cup), its stimulatory effects can help you stay alert and focused. It is not advisable to drink over 400 mg of caffeine (roughly 4 cups of coffee) per day.
- Sweet Potatoes
A 100-gram serving of sweet potatoes can have up to 25 grams of complex carbohydrates, 3 grams of fibre, 25% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for manganese, and an enormous 564% of the RDI for Vitamin A. Apart from being a delicious food, the fibre and complex carb content in sweet potatoes makes your body digest them slowly, giving you a steady supply of energy that lasts throughout the day.
Aside from being one of the most popular fruits in the world, apples are also a good source of carbohydrates and fibre. A 100-gram serving of apples would contain about 14 grams of carbs, 10 grams of sugar, and around 2 grams of fibre. Because of the rich natural sugars and fibre in apples, they can provide a slow and sustained energy release. It is best to consume apples whole (without removing the skin) to fully reap the benefits of the fibre. Apples also have a high antioxidant content, and antioxidants have been proven to slow the digestion of carbohydrates, leading to energy releasing over an extended time period.
Eggs are a rich source of protein, which gives you a steady and sustained supply of energy. They are rich in Vitamin B complex, which help enzymes carry out their roles and break down food to generate energy. In addition to this, leucine (the most abundant amino acid in eggs) stimulates energy production in many ways. Leucine helps cells absorb more blood sugar, give impetus to energy production in the cells, and increase the breakdown of fat to release energy.
Water is an extremely vital for survival. It is involved in several cellular functions, including the production of energy in cells. Dehydration (not drinking sufficient amount of water) slows bodily functions, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish. In order to avoid dehydration, we should drink water regularly, even if we do not feel thirsty.
- Dark Chocolate
The antioxidants in dark chocolate have many health benefits, like increased blood flow throughout the body. This is due to the fact that dark chocolate contains more cocoa and hence more antioxidants than regular chocolate. The increased blood flow can prove to be useful during exercise, since the delivery of oxygen to the brain and muscles becomes more efficient. Furthermore, this could also reduce mental fatigue and improve your mood due to stimulatory compounds like theobromine and caffeine.
- Yerba Maté
Yerba maté, a drink made from the dried leaves of a plant native to South America, has been proven to have many health benefits due to the presence of antioxidants and caffeine. A regular cup of Yerba Maté would have roughly 85 milligrams of caffeine, which is around the amount present in a small cup of coffee. The caffeine promotes the production of epinephrine, which boosts energy. Unlike other foods/drinks, this one does not affect blood pressure or heart rate.
In recent times, quinoa has become an extremely popular superfood that is high in carbohydrates. It is a seed with high protein and dietary fibre, in addition to manganese, magnesium, folate, and miscellaneous vitamins and minerals. Just like brown rice, quinoa has a low glycemic index, leading to slow absorption of carbohydrates and a sustained release.
- Goji Berries
Goji Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries due to the benefits they yield. A 28-gram serving of goji berries provides 2 grams of fibre, which leads to slow digestion and slow release of energy. Goji berries are delicious, and can be mixed in yogurt, smoothies, cakes, other baked items, and sauces. They can also be consumed raw.
One orange can provide about 106% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin C, making oranges almost synonymous with Vitamin C content. They also contain antioxidants that protect the body against oxidative stress, which has been shown to promote feelings of fatigue. A study showed that 13 women who consumed 500 ml of orange juice and trained for 1 hour, thrice a week for three months, experienced a decrease in muscle fatigue and improved when it came to physical performance.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, Vitamin B, and fibre. Most of the healthy fats in the superfood come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which promote optimum blood fat levels and aid the absorption of nutrients. These fatty acids can also be stored in the body as reserves, and used later as energy sources. Further, the fibre in avocados accounts for 80% of the carbohydrate content, which helps maintain steady energy levels.
- Green Tea
Green tea has always been well known due to its long list of health benefits. Just like coffee, green tea contains caffeine, which increases energy levels. Furthermore, green tea also contains L-theanine, which moderates the unwanted effects of caffeine, like anxiety and jitters, in turn producing a smooth burst of energy. The high concentration of antioxidants in green tea prevent oxidative stress and inflammation, and decreases fatigue by increasing fat breakdown and releasing norepinephrine.
Other healthy foods include yogurt, hummus, lentils, oatmeal, leafy green vegetables, strawberries, beans, edamame, popcorn, nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew, etc.) and seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, etc.).These are the foods that five you energy boost, these foods also contain significant amounts of other nutrients, all of which provide many other health benefits. Incorporating these foods into your diet would be a great way to start eating healthy.