Until recently, I was the kind of person who could barely get out of bed in the morning, even if I went to sleep at 10:30 at night. Everyday, I felt tired and powerless as I attempted to find my energy resources so I could focus on accomplishing even the easiest tasks. With three coffees a day and still feeling sleepy, I told myself it was time to start making some changes in my diet and lifestyle. I started exercising, consumed less coffee, and incorporated fruits and vegetables that give energy in my diet.
It helped a lot, which is why I'd like to share a list of super energy foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy carbohydrates, the body's primary energy source.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, the main source of energy for the body, are sugars found in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and sweets. They play a crucial role in maintaining a feel-good mood, regulating appetite, and aiding concentration. However, not all types of carbs are good for the body. That’s why it’s important to know how they work after reaching your body.
Complex carbohydrates or polysaccharides are carbohydrates that contain higher amounts of nutrients, including a high dose of fibers for slower digestion. Starch and fiber are two examples of complex carbohydrates. Fiber is an essential carbohydrate because it plays a role in regulating intestinal transit and cholesterol. Along with being the principal source of energy, there are other important reasons why foods that contain complex carbohydrates are helpful:
- Contribute to digestion - the complex carbohydrates contribute to healthy digestion, reducing the risk of diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.
- Reduce inflammation - foods with complex carbohydrates are rich in antioxidants that fight the effects of free radicals and help prevent inflammation.
- Rest better - by lowering cortisol, you can enjoy a peaceful sleep.
- Improves mood - it participates in the synthesis of serotonin (or the hormone of happiness) leads to a state of well-being.
Known as refined/simple carbohydrates, unhealthy carbs have lost almost all their nutritional value in the production process (which may include industrial extraction, concentration, purification, and enzymatic transformation). Refined carbohydrates don’t exist in nature and include sugars and processed cereals, which are found in many of our favorites: bread and white rice, children's cereals with added sugars and flavors, pasta, pizza, fries and chips, pastries, biscuits, sweets, flavored yogurt, powdered milk, and carbonated drinks. These foods don’t contain dietary fibers or nutrients, contribute to weight gain, and get converted into fat cells.
What foods give you energy & boosts your mood?
Vegetables & what they do for your body
Consuming a variety of vegetables gives our body all the nutrients it needs and helps us become healthier, more energetic, and happier. Their main benefits are:
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and high blood pressure.
- Some vegetables are high in antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids and protect cells against free radicals (we find them in spinach, oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.).
- Fiber from vegetables helps lower cholesterol levels and keeps our digestive system happy.
- The consumption of vegetables and fruits (especially green leafy vegetables, berries, and broccoli) has been associated with a lowered risk of diabetes.
- In general, vegetables are lower in calories than other foods, so eating a more comprehensive range of vegetables can decrease your overall calorie intake.
- Good source of vitamins and minerals that make you feel healthy and full of energy.
- You can find them easily and they are perfect as snacks, especially when you are on the run; plus, they are absolutely delicious.
Celery contains sodium and potassium, which play an important role in energy production, and is also rich in vitamins C, B, and fiber. It has diuretic properties, so it helps eliminate water from the body. At the same time, the consumption of celery facilitates digestion, so that food will be digested much faster and more efficiently.
Lack of iron in the body causes anemia, with the main symptom of this condition being fatigue. Spinach has a high iron content, essential for increasing energy. Although it won’t happen as it does to Popeye, regular consumption of spinach will improve blood circulation, make you more active, and make it easier to focus on the tasks you need to perform.
Spinach is low in fat and is a source of vitamins such as folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as rich in beta-carotene lutein, xanthine, and chlorophyll. It also strengthens immunity, satisfies your hunger, and can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Carrots contain many vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, A, K, B, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. They are also rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals in the body. They are easy to digest, detoxify the digestive tract, reduce cholesterol levels, and are a natural energy bomb. Drinking a cup of carrot juice in the morning can give your regular cup of coffee a run for its money without the adverse effects on the body.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of energy-rich complex carbohydrates, and their high fiber content slows down digestion so that energy is released slowly and steadily. Sweet potatoes also contain protein, with essential antioxidant capacity. Basically, an average potato produces a third of the antioxidants that the body normally produces alone.
Beans are delicious, versatile, and an excellent source of plant protein. Their healthy fibers that reach the gut are full of energy-boosting carbohydrates. Beans are also a prime source of iron, which is essential for energy because it regulates hemoglobin that helps carry oxygen to the blood. A meal containing beans is ideal, especially after training, as it’ll replenish the stock of protein and carbohydrates and provide energy for the rest of the day.
Energy-boosting fruits & their benefits
There are many reasons why you should include fruits into your daily diet:
- they contain vitamins, minerals, fibers, and carbohydrates, but also proteins and sometimes healthy fats.
- are rich in antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals and strengthen the immune system.
- are the best source of hydration that exists.
- they contain the purest water, having, in addition, the role of maintaining electrolyte balance.
- the fruits that contain fiber help improve digestion and prevent constipation.
- fruits are full of vitamins and minerals that can strengthen the skeletal system, and maintain dental health, hair, and skin.
- regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Bananas are a snack that should not be missing from your daily diet. Compared to other fruits, they have a low-calorie count and are rich in antioxidants and sugars such as glucose and fructose. Being easy to digest, they are quickly absorbed by the body and are converted into energy.
Pineapple is an excellent energy source, and includes vitamin C and manganese, nutrients that play an important role in managing the body's energy resources. Due to the high level of sugars found in pineapple, it should be consumed in moderation if you suffer from diabetes or are trying to lose extra pounds.
According to specialized studies, apples are a better way to wake up in the morning than coffee. They are among the top 5 fruits that give you full energy! Carbohydrates, fiber, and glucose turn apples into a fruit that is digested at a slow pace, but which provides a constant supply of energy for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, these properties are lost if the apples are cooked or turned into juice. Therefore, it’s best to eat fresh, peeled apples. And for a satiating effect, you can add a cheese cube to this snack.
Oranges have a high content of water, fiber, carbohydrates, and vitamins, which will instantly recharge you with energy. In addition, consuming oranges helps blood circulation in the brain, which stimulates the whole body. This citrus fruit is full of vitamin c and natural sugars that will raise your energy levels. For a strong start to the day, eat an orange for breakfast or have a glass of fresh juice.
If you want to enjoy some extra energy, grapes are the ideal solution. They contain countless health benefits, including ensuring proper functioning of the nervous system through vitamin B1. Consuming grapes will ensure that you maintain an optimal level of iron and minerals in your body. Iron is very important; a lack of iron will trigger fatigue and lack of energy, as well as making it difficult for you to concentrate.
What foods decrease weakness?
The following foods may give you energy fast when you feel weak and tired:
Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are good sources of protein, fatty acids, and vitamin B, making them the perfect food to include in your diet. A serving of salmon or tuna provides the recommended daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, a common cause of fatigue.
Eggs are an extraordinarily satisfying food that can help you stay energetic and active all day. They are full of proteins that provide you with a constant and sustained source of energy.
In addition, leucine is the most common amino acid in eggs and stimulates energy production in several ways. Leucine helps cells receive more blood sugar, promotes energy production in cells, and increases fat digestion to produce energy. Moreover, eggs are rich in B vitamins. These vitamins help enzymes fulfill their functions in digesting food and converting it into energy.
Dark chocolate has a higher cocoa content than milk chocolate. Cocoa antioxidants have many health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the body. Improved blood flow helps deliver oxygen to the brain and muscles, which enhances their functioning and is especially helpful during exercise. In addition, the increase in blood flow produced by the antioxidants in cocoa can help reduce mental fatigue and improve well-being. Dark chocolate contains stimulant compounds, such as theobromine and caffeine, which improve mental energy and uplifts your mood.
Greek yogurt is an excellent food that can energize your day. It’s delicious and a healthy source of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, making breakfast a balanced and incredibly satisfying meal for your body as a whole. In addition, yogurt is the base from which you can create a more complex meal if desired. Nuts, seeds, and fruits can all be incorporated into yogurt for an even more satisfying snack, which will keep you full until at least noon.
Water is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It’s responsible for cellular functions, including energy production. Dehydration slows down the body's functioning, which will make you feel weak and tired. To make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, you can use an app that reminds you when your body needs water.
What happens if you don’t eat vegetables?
Vegetables, especially when consumed raw, play an essential role in health and contribute to the proper functioning of the body and the brain, ensuring a good mood, more vitality, and higher energy.
In contrast, insufficient consumption of vegetables can have adverse effects in your body and overall well-being, some of them being:
- Vitamins and minerals deficiency.
- Weight gain.
- Digestive problems.
- Lack of energy.
- Increased blood pressure.
- A higher risk of developing diabetes.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can contribute to maintaining high energy levels. Providing your body a daily intake rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins will help you feel more vigorous and full of vitality every day.
What other vegetables that give you energy are a part of your daily routine?