5 Foods to Boost Your Energy

by in Healthy Tips, May 26, 2009

Forget the energy drinks, supplements or packaged sports bars — get your zip from naturally energizing foods. Try these 5 to get extra oomph every day.

1) Whole-Wheat Bread
The body’s primary source of energy is carbs. I’m not referring to jelly beans and lollipops (a.k.a. simple sugars). If you load up on them, you’ll end up hitting the wall within 20 minutes. Whole grains burn off slower, giving you longer-lasting vigor. They also contain loads of B-vitamins, which work together to boost energy and your metabolism.

Other whole-grain sources: Whole-grain cereal (like raisin bran or shredded wheat), brown rice and oatmeal. Kashi makes great whole grain hot and cold cereals that we love.

2) Strawberries
Need an immediate burst of energy? Have a handful of strawberries. They’re coming into season now at your farmers’ market or produce grocer — this means they’re sweet and juicy. Strawberries also contain fiber, which helps your body more slowly absorb the carbohydrates you eat. Fresh fruits make a great mid-afternoon snack, especially for that 3pm slump.

Other energy-boosting fruit: cherries, apricots …. just about any fresh fruit will give you a lift.

3) Broccoli
Believe it or not, one cooked cup of broccoli actually contains as much vitamin C as an orange. Why is that vitamin important? Well, an Arizona State University study found that 1 in 3 women were not getting enough in their diets. After upping their intake to 500 milligrams a day, they reported feeling better and more energized. Forgo vitamin C supplements and just up your broccoli snacking or sides. (This applies to men, too).

Other vitamin C-packed veggies: cabbage, radishes and spinach

4) Pork
To keep energy levels constant, you need to get enough iron. Unfortunately, iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the US (and in the whole world). This mineral helps transport oxygen to wherever your body needs it by hooking onto red blood cells. Common iron deficiency symptoms? Low energy and fatigue.

Not only does pork contain iron, it’s also a good source of the B-vitamins like thiamine and niacin, which are both involved with your metabolism. Choose lean cuts of pork, like tenderloin and pork chops — higher fat foods can weigh you down and make you sluggish.

Other lean proteins: beef tenderloin, chicken breast and shrimp

5) Water
Our bodies are two-thirds water. Water helps control body temperature and digestion and, of course, we need it to produce energy. Even slight dehydration can make you tired. Classic recommendations say 8 cups a day, but this can vary per person. Keep a glass by your side and sip away all day. And don’t count out food — eating foods with high water content (fruits and veggies especially) count towards your daily water needs.

The Most Important Thing
Don’t skip meals! Too much time between meals causes your body to start running on fumes, and you’ll be more likely to overindulge at your next meal. Eating larger portions then makes you feel tired and sluggish, too. Stick to 3 balanced meals and 2-3 small, healthy snacks daily — this way you’ll replenish your energy at a slow and steady pace.

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Comments (89)

  1. Laura says:

    Pork, not the best option for health, considering hormones, risk of disease, saturated fats, environmental impact, etc….

  2. Sydney says:

    PORK?! you have to be kidding me! that is one of the worst foods out there.

    and for me and most people water doesn’t boost energy…..it just hydrates you

  3. Lauren says:

    Pork is okay if you plan to do a parasite cleanse regularly. Though Americans don’t like to admit it, most people have parasites right now. One study showed that pork was the leading carrier of parasites- some which are not killed by cooking. Aside from that, many people are allergic to pork (like myself) and do not even realize it. It is one of the leading causes of migraines. I’ll stick with spinach and grape nuts for my iron. :)

  4. Barb says:

    It isn’t the “pork” that is unhealthy…it is the cut you choose. If we are talking bacon…yes…very unhealthy…but there is more to a pig than bacon…

  5. Daniela says:

    Pork is the Best meat to eat, they are the cleanest animals to eat, there exterior is filthy, but ther in take is all veggies, and fruit…. Italy that is all they ate in the old days, and u know what they all friggin live till they are 90+ Here we are this is not good, and that is not good and we croke in our 40’s. Eat like tha old days…

  6. susy says:

    actually its better to have 6 meals a day, but not like big meal…small meals that doesnt make you bloated or starve…every 3 hours…

  7. heelerpup says:

    what the heack…..they had professionals do many tests and studies on this, yet everyone on here thinks THEY have the right idea. unless u have a degree in this field, u dont honestly have any idea. Pork is just fine!

  8. Ann says:

    I find it funny that the arguments regarding pork refer to protein when the article, if you bothered to read it before getting all in a snit, is referring to IRON in the pork and IRON’s effect on your energy levels. There are lots of articles here on Healthyeats.com as well as many other sources for what foods contain IRON if meat or pork is not your cup of tea, so to speak.

  9. R. Sweeton says:

    To the lady who said religions downplayed pork it may be because pork used to have trichinosis and had to be cooked well done= or you could get intestinal parasites. I do believe the threat of that is gone now in this day & age(?)

  10. doug says:

    i can't believe some of you can't figure out that there are lean cuts of pork and today…this day and age…it IS one of the cleanest animals to eat..pork loin is lean and a great alternayive to chicken. many ways to cook it! bacon…bad….lean white pork loin…good! just don't cook it till its as dry as the Sahara desert!! mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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