No matter who you are, you could probably use a little more energy.
Although sleep and caffeine are wonderful ways to get an energy boost, sometimes sleep just isn’t in the cards, and caffeine doesn’t serve you (hello, coffee jitters).
Thankfully, there is another way to gain energy: eat energy-producing foods.
A quick internet search and a few interviews helped us zero-in on a handful of foods that are purported to pack an energy punch. I tried the items listed below and can attest that most of them did live up to their potent energy producing claims.
1. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are called a “superfood” because they contain fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. These properties “promote slow digestion and a subsequently steady stream of energy,” reports Bon Appetit. “Chia seeds also contain key minerals like calcium and magnesium, and all nine essential amino acids.”
Chia seeds make the ultimate topper to any meal. Although I’ve used these seeds in many recipes through the years, I notice their energy-boosting potential most in the morning.
I typically sprinkle a teaspoon of chia seeds over my morning yogurt and fruit when I have to be at the bakery I work at by 6 a.m. The meal itself includes four energy boosting foods—all of which are on this list (chia seeds, a banana, a cup of greek yogurt, and a handful of nuts)—and is easy to assemble and eat when I’m barely able to open my eyes at 4 a.m.
Although I already mentioned that I eat bananas in the morning before a shift, I also munch on this wonder fruit in the middle of a shift when I feel a crash coming.
“Bananas are packed with B vitamins and potassium which help the body function for long periods of time by effectively maintaining positive energy levels,” says Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics.
Backe adds that bananas are rich in iron, so, they are perfectly equipped to fight against anemia and fatigue. “Surprisingly, your brain converts the banana’s high levels tryptophan into serotonin, the body’s happiness neurotransmitter,” he says. “This enables bananas to improve your overall mood, which contributes to your energy and motivation.”
Although I eat all sorts of nuts—cashews and peanuts are my favorites—almonds seem to be the best nut to eat to help a person maintain energy levels. “Almonds contain B vitamins and magnesium, both of which are crucial for keeping energy up,” explains Kristen Scheney, nutritionist at CCS Medical.
Apparently, B vitamins help convert food into energy to keep a person fueled during the day, and magnesium helps activate the ATP within human bodies. “This is important because ATP is responsible for transporting energy within the cells,” adds Scheney. “A shortage of magnesium can result in muscle cramping, headaches, and fatigue. It is best to consume almonds raw as opposed to roasted due to the fact that roasting does reduce the potency of some of their nutritional benefits.”
4. Honey, turmeric, and pepper tea
Although this tea didn’t give me the caffeinated boost I’m used to, it did provide a nice, mid-day pick-me-up—I try to avoid consuming caffeine after 1 p.m.
The tea’s taste was enjoyable and its pepper added a lovely kick that cleared my head. Next time I brew up this beverage, I plan on adding in the cayenne pepper option.
Winter Sun Turmeric Tea, via The Chalkboard
Servings: 1 cup of tea
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp dried turmeric
1 tsp paste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Combine honey and turmeric, and add a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
To make the tea, take paste and place in mug. Pour hot water over and add a squeeze of lemon. Next, add cayenne pepper (optional).
5. Beet infused juice blend
I want to give a shoutout to a local-to-me cold-pressed juice shop recipe.
Luckyberry, a downtown eatery and cold-pressed juice shop in Lawrence, Kan., was kind enough to share a juice recipe that’s purported to increase energy. Thankfully, I can state that this juice tastes great, hydrates, and gave me the energy bump I needed after a long day at work.
About the blend: “We usually juice our batches in large amounts, so I broke this recipe down for a smaller batch. This is our Beetnik Blend, which is a restorative recipe intended to oxygenate the blood, increase energy, and flood the body with plant-based nutrition!” — Luckyberry
Serving: small batch that can be saved and consumed within a few days. Refrigerate any remaining juice.
3 large beets
1 bunch of kale
1-inch piece of ginger
Cold-pressed juice method, via Good Nature
Wash the vegetables and fruit in cold water; let them air dry. Cut each piece of produce in half; don’t grind the produce. Prepare your press by opening it so it can accommodate 1-2 pieces of produce; place the produce in the press. Press slowly and keep full pressure applied until juice flows to a slow drip.
6. Greek yogurt
Although I would never say no to any type of organic yogurt, organic Greek yogurt is my favorite. Thankfully, Greek yogurt seems to be the best energy booster out there.
According to Everyday Health, Greek yogurt varieties “can deliver twice the amount of hunger-satisfying protein as regular offerings (with 17 grams per 6-oz container), making it a supercharged breakfast, lunch, or snack.”
While I typically limit my yogurt intake to early in the morning, I have a single serving stash in the work fridge for unexpected long days. One single serve package can typically get my energy and hunger levels under control until I can get home to enjoy a real meal.
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