At some point or another everyone starts to feel sluggish or run-down. Do you find yourself sleeping until the last possible minute some days? Or maybe you just don’t have the same energy to get things done throughout the day that you once did. Lack of energy is common, but it can begin to negatively affect your daily activities and ability to be productive.
While adequate sleep plays a huge role in your energy levels, so do the foods you eat. The quantity and quality of the foods you choose to consume are important. Calories are energy for your body. Not consuming enough calories can cause feelings of exhaustion. It is also difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs if you are low on calories. Not getting enough important nutrients like Vitamin D and iron can lead to fatigue. Everyone’s daily calorie intake is different and depends on factors such as your height, weight, age, and activity level (you can use our Calorie Calculator to calculate how many calories you should be consuming).
The quality and types of foods you choose are important because some foods contain nutrients that can increase your energy levels. Alternately, there are also foods that can contribute to your low energy levels. Simple carbohydrates and added sugars have been known to spike blood sugar levels and lead to a “crashing” effect. If you’re looking to add in some energy boosting foods to your diet, you want to make sure you’re including complex carbs, healthy fats, and quality proteins. Below are some foods that can raise your energy levels and help fight fatigue.
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that is full of nutrients and fiber. Oatmeal is digested slower so it provides energy evenly instead of all at once. A bowl of oatmeal in the morning can keep you full and energized until lunch time. Oatmeal is easy to prepare and even sold premade if you’re short on time.
Like oatmeal, sweet potatoes contain a good amount of fiber and complex carbs which provides you with a steady supply of energy. They also contain manganese, which can help in the breakdown of nutrients and energy production. Sweet potatoes are a great side dish to have in bulk for the week. You can pair them with your eggs in the morning or with a lean protein for lunch or dinner.
Eggs are a great source of protein, which can provide you with steady energy as it does not cause spikes in blood sugar when digested. Eggs contain leucine, an amino acid that increases energy. They also contain antioxidants and other nutrients that people tend to not consume enough of. Eggs can be scrambled with fiber rich veggies in the morning for a breakfast scramble, hard boiled for a quick snack, or prepared a variety of other different ways.
Seeds such as chia seeds and flaxseeds are high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are an important source of stored energy and help your cells properly function. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to inflammation and fatigue. Seeds are also rich in fiber and protein. Chia seeds can be added whole or ground to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, and salads. You can also add chia seeds to a liquid like coconut milk with a sweetener of your choice for chia pudding.
Salmon is a fatty fish that contains protein, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin, all of which help convert the food you eat into energy. A serving of salmon provides you with the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 pairs with folic acid to produce blood cells and help iron perform better in the body. Optimal levels of iron in the blood can reduce fatigue and increase energy. You can pair grilled salmon with fresh veggies, brown rice, or sweet potatoes for a balanced, energy boosting meal.
There are a wide variety of foods that can help boost your energy levels. Fiber and protein are important to incorporate for slower releases of energy. Many of these foods also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which have been shown to aid in the production of energy within our cells. Next time you find yourself feeling sluggish and run down, try incorporating some of these energy boosting foods into your diet.