Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Read this article to know what to eat for more energy. P.S. Eat these foods that boost energy and make you feel energized.
Food for Thought and Energy
Nutrition is one of the most important things for health and vitality. But it also directly impacts your energy levels and how you feel during the day.
- This article will tell you what foods to eat to have more energy all day every day.
- It also includes some information on what micronutrients to consume and how you can increase your overall vitality.
So if you don’t want to become a zombie then watch it until the end, but also share it with someone who looks like a zombie.
#1 Get Enough Iron
- Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the cells.
- Iron deficiencies cause fatigue and impair endurance.
Great sources of iron are spinach, sesame seeds, liver, clams, oysters, salmon, beef, lentils, and beans.
To improve iron absorption you should consume it with a good source of vitamin-C, such as citrus, broccoli, or berries.
Be careful with taking supplements because the body doesn’t excrete a lot of iron and thus it gets stored in the tissues. Iron in high amounts can actually be dangerous. You’re probably fine if you eat whole foods but before supplementing take a blood test to see how much iron you already have.
#2 Be Strategic With Caffeine
The go-to drink for boosting energy in the Western world is coffee – that black java. Caffeine is like a double-edged sword – of course, you’ll feel energized but you can also crash and burn afterward.
To gain the wakefulness promoting benefits of coffee without the jitters or without the slump, you have to consume it in smaller dosages and less frequently as to not build intolerances to caffeine.
You want to gain as much energy as possible from less amounts of caffeine. So you wouldn’t have to consume 12 kilograms of coffee a year like the average Finnish person does. Geez, guys…what are you doing up there?
- An average cup of coffee has 100 mg of caffeine
So, instead of brewing yourself a very strong cup of coffee, you should choose less caffeinated versions or use fewer coffee grounds. That’s being strategic with your coffee.
Other options are green tea or black tea that have more than 50% less caffeine but give you long lasting energy. Decaf coffee has almost no caffeine but it still has the other health benefits of coffee, like the high amounts of antioxidants and better blood sugar regulation.
#3 Avoid the Energy Traps
What comes up must come down – that’s the rule of caffeine but it also applies to the foods you eat.
Whenever you consume something that raises your blood sugar, you’ll experience a short high – the pancreas releases insulin and begins to shuttle those nutrients into the cell. However, after that, you’ll also have another drop, which may make you tired.
That’s why you usually want to fall asleep after eating a carbohydrate rich meal – you’ll feel energized for a moment, but you’ll hit a slump quite shortly.
The solution is to avoid high glycemic carbs, such as bread, rice, potatoes and even some fruit, and add more fiber, protein, and fat to your meals. This will blunt the blood sugar response and slows down the rate at which you gain energy from food.
Don’t consume energy drinks either because those things also have a ton of sugar in them, which will make your downfall even faster. Sugar will increase the speed at which caffeine hits your brain, but it will lead to a massive crash.
#4 Make Sure You Get Enough Micros
To keep your body healthy and energized, you want to consume a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from your diet.
Not enough iron is already a possibility, but other common deficiencies are magnesium, omega-3s, and vitamin-D3. They are essential nutrients that your body can’t survive without.
- That’s why you need to get a lot of natural sunlight because it directly affects your energy levels and mood. Seasonal Effective Disorder is caused by people sitting in doors when the Sun is out. And that’s probably why the Fins drink so much damn coffee – they don’t get enough sunlight already and they’re deficient in vitamin D. I myself live just under Finland in Estonia and we don’t get a lot of sunlight up in here either. So, I supplement vitamin D3 but I also spend a lot of time outside whenever I can.
- Omega-3s are needed for healthy cell metabolism, they reduce inflammation and protect the cardiovascular system as well. Great sources are wild-caught fish and eggs, which are also abundant in DHA and EPA, which are crucial for the brain.
- Magnesium is used in almost all of the body’s physiological processes. It’s required for energy production and muscle contraction. Great sources are chard, spinach, nuts, avocados, black beans, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate.
If you want to gain as many micronutrients from your food then you should consume them whenever they’re in season but buying frozen vegetables is equally as good because the plants get flash-frozen right after harvest.
#5 Take Care of Your Gut
Your gut has a huge impact on your overall health, how your brain functions and what mood you’re in.
90% of serotonin the relaxation hormone actually gets produced in the digestive tract. You don’t want to become serotonin deficient but you don’t want to pass out during the day either.
Foods that release serotonin are high in carbs and sugar – that drop of insulin will make you sleepy, which can be great in the evening.
During the day you want to also eat foods that promote a healthy gut microbiome, such as fermented foods, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha or raw kefir.
#6 Not Enough Sodium
Like fat, salt has got a bad rep and it’s thought to cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.
Sodium is essential for life – however, you only need a certain amount of it to be healthy. The problem is that prepacked products and processed foods are already full of extra sodium.
If you’re on whole foods based diet like you would be – if you were awesome – then you may neglect sodium.
Not getting enough electrolytes will cause muscle cramping, headaches, and exhaustion. So, you can definitely add more salt to your foods if you eat a healthy diet.
The RDA for sodium is 1500-2300 mg/day, which is one teaspoon or 6 grams of salt. Don’t go over 3000 mg/day.
One of the biggest reasons you get tired during the day is because your brain doesn’t get access to fuel. It runs out of glucose and thus you’ll start to lose your focus and you may hit the wall completely.
Of course, you could eat something that would raise your blood sugar back up but it’s going to last you for only until you reach another slump.
To avoid the constant blood sugar rollercoaster, you want to give your brain long-lasting fuel. That’s why consuming more healthy fats is good for your cognition.
- First off, you’d want to eat fewer carbohydrates and more ketogenic foods in general. So your body would become more keto-adapted and could know how to burn its own fat as energy.
- Secondly, you can consume foods that would promote the production of ketone bodies. Ketones are actually the brain’s preferred fuel source. Ketones will also reduce hunger and increase performance.
Here are some examples of ketones:
- MCT oil is derived from coconut oil and it consists of medium-chained triglycerides. They’re fatty acids that can be converted into energy quicker, unlike long chain fatty acids that take a lot longer. MCTs can be consumed with a teaspoon, in powdered form or it can be added to your coffee. This will slow down the rate at which caffeine enters your blood stream as well.
- Exogenous ketones are ketone supplements that raise your ketones and theoretically put you into ketosis. You can even consume them on a high carb diet and be in ketosis within a few hours. However, the effects would last only until the supplement wears off so you’d still want to eat a ketogenic diet.
Which brings us to the easiest change you can make in your diet to gain more energy.
For optimal cognitive performance and stable energy levels, the ketogenic diet is probably the best one out there. But you don’t need to be on keto 24/7 to gain the benefits of ketosis.
#8 Less Carbs More Fat
Being keto-adapted is a lot more important and sustainable – it means your body is efficient enough at using fat for fuel and it won’t bonk whenever you skip meals or don’t consume coffee with carbs.
The idea is to lower your overall carb intake and eat more vegetables, more healthy fats, some protein and maybe some healthy starches. How many carbs and calories you should eat depends on your physical activity, your insulin sensitivity and the amount of lean body mass you have.
It’s simple – if you’re overweight then you obviously need to eat less. And if you’re bonking in your training, you need more calories.
What to Eat for More Energy
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the foods that are „energy-safe“ and that won’t cause slumps.
- Fibrous vegetables, leafy greens, salads, sea vegetables
- Low carb starches like carrots, turnip, beetroot, squash
- Whole proteins, like meat, fish, eggs, chicken. Eating lean proteins with no carbs and no fats won’t give your brain enough energy. That’s why…
- Healthy fats, like MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocados, olives
- Nuts and seeds – pumpkin seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts. Be careful not to consume roasted nuts because they’re inflammatory and will decrease mitochondrial density.
- Dark Chocolate that’s above 80% is low in sugar and full of antioxidants and polyphenols. It also has a small amount of caffeine in it so it will give your brain a lot of energy.
Become Keto-Adapted to Have Energy All Day Every Day
The benefits of becoming keto-adapted are huge.
- You experience less hunger
- Your brain will have more energy
- You don’t have to eat that often
- You’ll burn your own body fat for fuel
- You’ll have stable energy levels throughout the day
But to become keto-adapted you need to first get into ketosis and go through the process of eating a ketogenic diet for at least a few months.
That’s why I highly encourage everyone to try it out at least once. Not only to see how it feels but to also reignite these metabolic pathways inside your body that your body will never use on a regular diet.