Foods that Boost Energy

Daily Health Solutions, Nutrition
on September 7, 2008
Mark Boughton

There's another energy crisis in this nation—but this one has nothing to do with the price of crude oil. We're talking about the kind of personal energy crisis that can have you dreaming about naptime before noon.

Sure, exercising, sleeping well and managing stress can increase your energy reserves. But what you eat and drink may play a much larger role than you think in whether your motor is super-charged or flat out of gas.These tips will kick up your energy and help you get more mileage out of your day.

  1. Start the day with fiber. Aim for 10 grams of fiber at breakfast from fruits and whole grains. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, which keeps you from feeling sluggish—and because whole grains are low on the glycemic index, they give your body a steady stream of energy.
  2. Eat more snacks. Having smaller meals at regular intervals keeps your blood sugar from dipping, causing you to crash. Strategic snacking also can help you maintain a healthy weight, because you're less likely to overdo it when mealtime rolls around. The best snacks are high in protein because they keep you full.
  3. Get a buzz from green tea. Green tea gives you a milder jolt than coffee, so it's less likely to mess with your sleep. Plus, it packs an added bonus: 4 cups a day can actually rev up your metabolism by 80 calories. And green tea (like most liquids) keeps you hydrated and delivers nutrients throughout your body.
  4. Power up with protein. Include protein at every meal and snack to keep your muscles strong so you won't be dragging at the end of a long day. The best sources are lean meats, poultry, legumes, low-fat dairy and fish.
  5. Energize with iron. It's no news that low iron can cause your energy to flag, but still, one out of five women is iron-deficient. This mineral carries oxygen to your tissues, delivering the fuel it needs to burn carbohydrates. Lean red meat is the best source of iron, but you can boost the absorption of iron from plant-based foods like spinach and edamame if you combine it with vitamin C-rich ingredients like tomatoes.