What Healthy Foods Give You Energy?

Strawberry
Strawberry

The type of foods and quantity you consume each day plays lots of role in your energy level, lack of energy could affect your daily activity and make you less productive and this matters whether you are trying to kick start your morning or push past the afternoon.

To boost energy you need healthy foods that contain the best nutrients, all foods provide the body with energy but this energy varies greatly, healthy foods that contain the best nutrients regulate the mood better and increase your energy levels and maintain your alertness and focus throughout the day.

Different foods are converted to energy at different rates playing an essential role in your body, there are foods you can eat that will provide energy and other vital nutrients more than others.

How do you get energy from food?

Your body converts food into energy, the body digests the food eaten by mixing it with fluids which are acids and enzymes in the stomach. The process of changing food into a usable form in the body is quite complex however understanding this will enable you to know how much calory your body needs to function properly.

The stomach digests food, the carbohydrate (sugars and starches) in the food breaks down into another type of sugar, called glucose (1).

How can I get energy quickly?

healthy foods that give energy

Striking a balance with energy giving foods is important to help you maintain your weight or less calory input if you want to lose weight. Energy is mainly derived from the food you eat however if you want an instant energy boost to help you get through the day, below are a couple of tips to give you the fuel you need for the day (2).

  • Work out during the day, this can actually increase productivity
  • Eat chocolate
  • Take a nap, studies did show that a 10-20 minutes nap during the day can help you stay alert
  • Stretch it out
  • Drink some water to stay hydrated which can limit drowsiness
  • Smelling a lemon is considered stimulating
  • Go for complex carbs and sugar-free drinks

Why is my energy so low?

Feeling tired before an activity is common and can be a hindrance to a lot’s of things that need to be done for the day, everyday drain in energy can be a cause for concern however it is often caused by a normal factor that can be easily corrected, some of which are listed below (3).

  •  You are not getting enough protein, your lunch should be more of protein especially if you plan to go out later, it keeps you alert and active.
  • You are not sleeping right
  • Low testosterone
  • Depression
  • Not enough physical activity and exercise
  • Lack of vitamin B12

These 12 Healthy Foods That Gives You Energy

1. Bananas

banana yogurt

Bananas can be one of the best energy-giving foods, it consists of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6 which are essential for a healthy and active body and mind. Bananas contain other incredible benefits like heart health, ease indigestion, help fight anemia and reduces the risk of high blood pressure (4).

2. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber which makes it great for an energy boost, it is also a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene, magnesium, and iron which are all essential for energy nutrients, there are a lot’s of delicious recipes to make with sweet potatoes, it could also be eaten at any time of the day (5).

3. Coffee

Coffee `is a well-known energy booster, coffee contains antioxidant polyphenol which reduces oxidative stress in the cells, helps the body function well and makes the body and mind feel more alert and productive. If you are looking for more energy then coffee should be your go-to but not to be consumed in excess as it contains caffeine which could lead to lack of sleep (6).

Too much coffee may be bad for you, here are the reasons.

4. Eggs

eggs
Image: Serious Eats

Eggs are packed full with protein, it provides energy to fuel your body and also it’s quite satisfying and versatile, eggs are not just easy to eat but also very nutritious, it provides the body with a steady and sustained source of energy and causes no spike in blood sugar and insulin when digested (7).

5. Apples

Apples are high in fiber which makes an excellent source of energy, apples take longer to digest which will make you feel full and alert for a long while. Apples contain antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and several other nutrients that may boost heart (8).

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is a great source of vitamin B, fiber, protein and all 9 amino acids that your body can not provide itself, quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods you can eat, it’s gluten-free and there are amazing ways you can eat quinoa or you can cook it like rice for a side dish or have it mixed with nuts, berries, and honey for an extremely healthy and delicious breakfast (9).

7. Yogurt

yogurt with granola

Studies show that yogurt is extremely high in protein, fats and simple carbohydrates which provides energy to the body, yogurt is not just healthy but delicious as well, yogurt is also easy to eat on the go however it’s important to go greek yogurt or unsweetened yogurt for added benefits (10).

8. Lentils

Lentils are one of the healthiest foods for its high level of protein, folic acid, potassium, and fiber, these nutrients all support a healthy heart. Lentils are an excellent trep[lacement for meat (11).

9. Avocados

Avocados are awesome treats you should have included in your diet plan, the fiber in avocado provides nutrient to the body and helps to maintain a steady energy level, it is also a great source of vitamin B which your body uses to convert food into energy (12).

10. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are packed with vitamins and iron which easily increases energy. Dark leafy greens such as kale, swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, and spinach contain filling protein, are nutrient-dense as well as nutrients and antioxidants. All dark leafy greens are high in nutrients and are rich in chlorophyll but yet low in calories (13).

11. Strawberries

Strawberries are another nutrient-based fruit for gaining getting quick energy, besides fighting inflammations, strawberries provide you with carbs, fiber, and sugar that can enhance energy level. Strawberries can be incorporated into many meals or used in smoothies, parfaits or salads (11).

12. Seeds

Studies have shown seeds like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds to contain lots of benefits, they are rich sources of fiber and fatty acids which translates to quick energy, seeds serves as gut-friendly fuel to athletes and quite healthy too. (15).


Generally speaking, all foods supposedly gives energy but some foods are better at giving you the energy kick you need, most of the foods listed above give you a natural energy boost but it is advised to eat moderately as most energy-giving foods contains calories which could easily lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Read more on healthy eating and its benefits:

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