7 Energy-Boosting Foods That’ll Perk You Up Better Than a Cup of Coffee

December 13 2018

With constant technological pings, a heavy workload, an ambitious workout schedule, and a busy social calendar, it’s no wonder you’re always tired and tempted to hit the snooze button every. single. morning. You’re not alone.

Aiming for eight hours of shuteye is a great start to tame the tiredness, of course, but that’s not always possible. Your daily habits can fill in the energy gaps if you eat a healthy diet, according to dietitian Jenna Werner. “Food is our fuel. Kilojoules are literally units of energy. When we eat the right foods and the right combinations of foods we are literally fuelling our bodies.” Here are seven dietitian-approved eats that will perk you up until you can pencil in more pillow time.


1) Avocados

Add a serving avocado to your menu when you’re running low on energy. In addition to pantothenic acid, a B vitamin that helps your cells turn food into fuel, avocados are “rich in healthy fats and fibre,” says dietitian Jessica Beacom. “Their fat helps enhance the absorption of nutrients in the foods you eat and their fibre slows the rise and fall of blood sugar after a meal or snack, thereby promoting more steady energy levels.” In case you still need convincing that there’s no need for fats to be off limits, follow this guidance from dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix.

“Aim for 30 to 35 percent fat, 50 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent protein each time you eat. The most energising option is a balance of all three macronutrients at every meal or snack. That trifecta provides energy; unlike fad diets that eliminate carbs or fat.”


2) Green leafy vegetables

Coffee can only do so much, so try collards next time you’re drained instead. “People often reach for quick fixes like caffeine and sugar when they’re tired, but neither of these provide steady, sustained energy,” says dietitian Stacie Hassing.

While they’re low in kilojoules, leafy greens are high in iron, calcium, fibre, folic acid, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E and K. “The iron and vitamin C in leafy greens work synergistically to help prevent anaemia, which is a major cause of fatigue-especially in women,” Beacom says.

But you don’t need to eat spinach straight from the can like Popeye to score all the strength benefits. Fight fatigue during that time of the month and beyond by sipping a green smoothie and opting for the side salad over fries at lunch.


3) Sweet potatoes

Calling all keto queens: “Carbs shouldn’t be avoided! They’re the fastest fuel source to break down in our system,” Taub-Dix explains. Just focus on choosing whole grain, fibre-rich carbs that are absorbed slower than white flour and sugar.

The perfect pick-me-up carbohydrate: Sweet potatoes. “They’re a great source of energy-rich complex carbohydrates and the high-fibre content slows the rate of digestion so that their energy is released in a slow and steady way,” Beacom says. “They’re all a good source of manganese, which is important for the breakdown of other energy-uplifting nutrients.” Pineapple, nuts and porridge are also potent providers of metabolism-boosting manganese.


4) Bananas

Peel out. “Packed with good carbs, potassium and nutrients, these are a great choice especially pre-workout to give you quick fuel,” Werner says.

This list of banana boons doesn’t stop there:

● Potassium helps with hydration, a key factor to naturally feeling more alert

● Natural sugars and carbohydrates prime your system for a workout

● Phytochemicals aid in recovery so you bounce back better after muscular challenges


5) Dark chocolate

Skip the sour candies and choose chocolate to bounce back from the 3 p.m. slump. “Sugar can zap energy. When you’re exhausted, you might find yourself turning to sugar as a crutch and a quick fix, but it gets absorbed quickly into your bloodstream and causes a blood sugar and energy roller coaster,” Taub-Dix says.

For a more sustainable answer, seek out a dark chocolate bar with 75 percent or more cocoa. This low-sugar candy option is a good source of caffeine and theobromine, two naturally-occurring stimulants that can boost both energy and mood. “It’s also high in antioxidants that may improve blood flow and thus oxygenation of the brain and muscles,” Beacom says.


6) Water

Eating right, getting sufficient sleep, and moving enough are three keys to stepping up stamina. Don’t forget about what you’re drinking, too.

Oodles of us use coffee as a crutch, even though it can cause jitters, according to Taub-Dix. So go for good old H2O the next time you’re filling your cup.

“Dehydration can slow down even your energy production which can cause you to feel tired and sluggish. Drinking enough water is imperative to boost and maintain energy,” Werner says. So even though it has zero kilojoules, fat, protein or carbs to provide energy, water wards off the worn out, woozy feelings.


7) Beetroot

The blood-red root vegetables can’t be beat when it comes to a nutritious and sustaining fuel source. “Beetroot contains naturally occurring nitrates and antioxidants which are thought to increase blood flow and thus oxygenation of your brain and muscles,” Beacom says.

Unlike similarly-hued vegetables and fruits, this vibrant exhibit of Earth’s candy is as rich in nutrition as it is in colour. “When you have a premium car, would you put regular gas in it?” Werner asks. “You are a premium person, so fuel your tank with premium foods.”

Aim to consume a variety of fruits of vegetables-say, in a beet, Romaine and carrot salad-to hit your daily quota of your micronutrients. “Micronutrients don’t necessarily directly correlate to weight loss or gain, but when we’re deficient, your body has to work harder to compensate for the loss. This can make you tired or deplete your energy,” Werner says.


Sourced from Prevention.