Chew Your Way to Power: Top 7 Energy-Boosting Foods

Woman and chocolate

Whatever you eat is responsible for the amount and quality of energy you have during the day. That’s why energy bars, chocolate bars, power drinks, and highly-caffeinated beverages seem to be on everyone’s grocery list these days. Aside from several trips to the coffee vending machine on any given work day, these so-called high-power food items conveniently put back the bounce in your step when your energy has hit rock bottom. But are they all that they seem?

The truth about energy drinks: Researchers from the School of Medicine at John Hopkins University are concerned about the constant consumption of energy drinks and other heavily caffeinated beverages, stating that any food item which contains more caffeine than coffee does must come with a warning label. They give you an energy boost alright, but they also cause nerve jitters and heart palpitations, and the energy they provide is flitting. Once the body is ridded of the effects, it slumps down to an even lower low.

What’s unsaid about sugars: What about consuming food with high amounts of simple sugars (think: white bread, candy, sodas, etc.)? While it is correct to think that sugar is needed for energy, the type of sugar consumed is the determining factor to whether or not it is healthy and body-friendly. Simple sugars get digested quicker, so they take your energy levels on a roller coaster ride before pulling it down extremely low. The result: Adrenaline surges, aka sugar rush, and sugar crashes scientifically known as hypoglycemia. Erratic levels of sugar causes irritability, inability to concentrate and lack of attention.

A high-power diet the safe and healthy way: Nothing beats natural. Whether you need just about the right amount of energy to get through your 8-5 job, or have an exhaustingly active lifestyle, your diet, coupled with enough sleep and adequate positive thinking, could be your weapon against energy dips. The best energizing diet is a perfect combination of complex carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.

Click "next" below to see the top seven naturally wholesome foods to give you energy boosts all day long!

Here are the top seven naturally wholesome foods that keep your power revved up all day long minus the hangover that caffeine or sugar gives:

Oats: Oats burst with fiber but aren’t high on the glycemic index, so you get a constant flow of energy throughout the day. Because of the fiber, you get to avoid hunger pangs that may also cause energy lows. Oats are rich in B vitamins which are known to keep nerves healthy and reduce stress levels. Looking for alternatives to oats? Try brown rice, bran, whole – grain breads and rice.

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>> Read more: Skinny Mom Guide to Oatmeal

Yogurt: Yogurt is a great addition to your cereal, smoothie, or fruit. Its magnesium content makes carbohydrate metabolism more efficient. Magnesium is also crucial for those times when you need a boost of explosive energy (such as when you are breaking into a run, or are lifting weights). When choosing yogurt, go for low-fat or Greek yogurt. Great substitutes are skimmed milk or low-fat cheese.

Lean steak: A little bit of red meat can give your body the wakeup call it needs. Depleted energy may be caused by a deficiency of iron in the blood. When there isn’t enough iron, cells have a hard time burning and using carbohydrates because they can't get enough oxygen. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron to prevent your body (as well as your mind) from becoming sluggish. If you’re keeping off the meat, however, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach work like a charm, too.

Sardines: If your body has all the energy it needs but your brain could use a boost, open up a can of sardines and indulge. Sardines are packed with tyrosine, which stimulates the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that stimulate brain function and improve mental focus. If sardines don't appeal to your taste buds, try shellfish, chicken, turkey or pork tenderloin.

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Almonds: Go a little nutty in the name of energy! Almonds are a rich source of healthy fats which provide valuable energy for both the body and the mind. These fatty acids are called omega-3s and 6s. Unlike the fats found in dairy, they increase oxygen from within the bloodstream. The fiber in these nuts also keeps your energy stable and prevents hunger pangs.

Bananas: Rich in potassium and readily-digestible sugars, bananas are great for maintaining muscle and brain processes. They make a great emergency snack for athletes and folks who sweat excessively that have a higher risk of depleted energy stores.

Chocolate: No wonder those Emergency Chocolate bars are becoming overly popular these days. Besides the fats and calories it contains for energy, it also gives you that feel-good factor because of its tyramine and phenylethylamine content. Chocolates are great for longevity, digestion, and appetite stimulation. Choose dark chocolates; they have the same effect, but have the highest levels of antioxidants.