Whether you’re heading out for an exercise session or suffering from a mid-afternoon slump, there are times when we all need an energy boost. For an instant pick-me-up to help you keep going, check out these top 5 energy-boosting foods.
At the grocery store, make sure you choose fresh fruits.
If you’re feeling worn out, weak or unable to concentrate, you could be deficient in certain B vitamins. B vitamins not only help to keep the brain functioning properly, they also help the body to break down carbohydrates into glucose to fuel the body. For a good source of B vitamins, try incorporating oats into your diet with a morning bowl of porridge or a few oatcakes.
Not only are oats high in B vitamins, they are a great source of many other nutrients including calcium, magnesium, selenium and manganese. On top of this, oats are a low GI food, meaning that they will help keep your blood sugar stable and release a slow, steady stream of energy.
Amongst the many reported health benefits of chocolate (including its ability to lower heart disease risk, prevent wrinkles and boost the mood), the popular treat is also a great pick-me-up snack, which is great news for chocoholics. Chocolate is high in energy-boosting chemicals including theobromine (a stimulant found in many popular energy drinks) and caffeine.
Furthermore, chocolate is a great source of magnesium and chromium, which both play a role in energy production. To boost your energy while protecting your health, try snacking in moderation on dark chocolate, which is lower in saturated fats and higher in antioxidants than the milk variety.
Dehydration can be a leading cause of low energy levels, so if you feel your energy waning throughout the day try increasing your intake of fluids and foods with high water content. While all foods contain some water, fruit has a particularly high proportion, with some good options to try including watermelon, cantaloupe melon and berries.
As well as being high in fluids, fruit is also a good source of natural sugars to boost your energy. Furthermore, fruit contains a variety of energy-boosting vitamins and minerals including vitamin C (berries, kiwi fruit and citrus fruits), and B vitamins (bananas and avocado).
Not only is drinking green tea great for keeping your fluids up, the health-boosting drink can also help regulate blood sugar levels, thereby preventing energy spikes and crashes that can result in feelings of fatigue. Green tea also generally contains caffeine which can help to give energy levels a boost.
For those who suffer from low energy levels before and during exercise, a research study in Japan found that green tea extract could boost exercise endurance by up to 24%, making it a great energy drink to sip before a workout.
Beetroot not only provides a multitude of health benefits, the vibrant vegetable is also a great source of long-lasting energy. First of all, beetroot has a high sugar content which helps to provide an instant energy boost. It is also high in many energy-boosting nutrients including magnesium, iron, vitamin C and nitrate.
Also, while beetroot is great for instant energy, it also provides long-lasting results. Researchers at the University of Exeter found in a study on the effects of beetroot juice on exercise performance that drinking the juice helped increase stamina and could enable people to exercise for up to 16% longer.