The Top 5 Superfoods That Support Energy
Do you find yourself struggling to get up in the morning after a good night’s sleep or feeling sluggish come mid-afternoon, fighting to stay alert throughout the day? Or perhaps you’re feeling just plain exhausted 24/7?
If you answered yes to these questions, it’s time for a change!
Thankfully there are easy, affordable ways to banish tiredness and get a spring in your step once again, naturally.
And no, it’s not drinking copious amounts of coffee or certain risky “energy” drinks. The answers I am about to provide can be found in delicious, energizing foods.
The following is a list of the top five foods to enhance your energy.
The Top 5 Superfoods That Support Energy
Maca has been around for thousands of years and has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes by the Peruvians. It belongs to the Brassicaceae plant family and is related to crucifers such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
The maca root is dried and then generally ground into powder. You can find it online, in health food stores, or even in some grocery stores.
There are three varieties (yellow, red, and black) that have unique effects on the body, but yellow maca (which is actually a light brown powder) is the most popular. Maca is an adaptogen meaning it can help your body adapt to life’s doozies. It aids your body with reacting to or overcoming both short and long-term physical or mental stress, an important feature considering stress is one of the biggest causes of energy loss throughout the day.
Research shows adaptogens like maca can combat fatigue, enhance mental performance and help you thrive rather than muddle through.
How to Use Maca
There’s no shortage of easy ways to add maca to your eating habits, thanks to its powder form and mild caramel flavor.
Start your day by adding maca to your smoothie, overnight oats, chia seed puddings, and hot or cool beverages like lattes or ice coffee. You can also add a scoop of maca powder to homemade granola, energy balls, pancakes, or homemade baked goods.
The options are endless!
One to two tablespoons is a typical serving size, but it’s best to start with 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon every other day so you don’t overwhelm your digestive system. Maca can cause digestive distress if you don’t safely incorporate it into your diet.
You may want to avoid maca before bed as it can be stimulating in some individuals.
Cacao is another wonderful energy-boosting food, primarily because of its high theobromine content.
Theobromine compounds influence in a positive way our moods and state of alertness. Researchers have found that theobromine is associated with energy increases. One of the most common medicinal uses of cacao over the past 500 years has been stimulating the nervous system.
As well, when combined with safe amounts of caffeine, such as that found in matcha, theobromine has also shown great promise in supplying the body with long-lasting energy during exercise.
How to Use Cacao
This powerful food comes in various forms including cacao powder, cacao nibs, and cacao butter. You can easily find cacao at health food stores or in the natural food aisles at your local grocery store.
Cacao has a rich chocolate taste with no added sugar. Unfortunately, your average chocolate bar isn’t potent enough to deliver all that cacao has to offer, but don’t worry there are plenty of decadent yet nourishing ways to incorporate cacao into your eating habits.
Try this superfood in desserts, smoothies, cookies, or overnight oats.
You might also really love: 5 Plant-Based Snacks to Supercharge Your Day
The whole egg, with the yolk!
The protein and healthy fats in the whole egg help to keep blood sugar levels stable. This is key to preventing afternoon slumps and sugar cravings which tend to come after eating refined carbohydrates, or a period of stress.
Additionally, leucine is the most abundant amino acid in eggs, and it’s known to stimulate energy production in a few ways. Leucine can help cells take in more blood sugar, stimulate the production of energy in the cells, and increase the breakdown of fat to produce energy.
How to Use Eggs
One of my favorite ways to start the day is by eating a nourishing, fulfilling breakfast that includes eggs. Whether scrambled, lightly fried, poached, or hard-boiled, eggs are the perfect breakfast, dinner, and snacking food.
Eggs are incredibly versatile and can truly be eaten at any time of the day.
Berries are an amazing energy-boosting food that also helps to keep the brain healthy.
They are high in fiber, anti-inflammatory, and packed full of antioxidants. These colorful powerhouses can help fight fatigue and give you energy. They are particularly helpful in boosting energy levels when you have a craving for something sweet.
How to Use Berries
Berries are undeniably delicious and can be eaten in many forms. They make a wonderful snack or dessert, whether you use one type or a mix of two or more.
Practice adding berries to everything: add fresh berries to overnight oats or coconut yogurt in the morning, as a morning or mid-day snack, and frozen berries to a smoothie or homemade muffins for dessert.
One of my favorite ways to eat berries is to simply dip them in almond butter.
5. Sweet Potatoes & Yams
Yams and sweet potatoes have sustained human life for hundreds of years and through many harsh winters.
They are full of complex carbohydrates which means they are digested slowly to promote fullness, stabilize blood sugar and provide you with a steady stream of energy to help increase productivity.
How to Use Sweet Potatoes & Yams
Sweet potatoes and yams are another versatile food: they can be cooked as the base of savory dishes, baked alone, or even pureed to suit desserts.
They make delicious side dishes baked, steamed, or sliced into fries. You can even use them as your sandwich buns. My favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is making them the base for nachos.
Honorable Mention: Water
Water deserves a shout-out as it is essential for life. It’s involved in many cellular functions including energy production. In fact, not drinking enough water may lead to dehydration, which can slow bodily functions, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
Drinking water can give you an energy boost and help fight feelings of fatigue. You can avoid dehydration by drinking water even if you’re not thirsty. Aim to drink at least two liters of water a day.
Will You Try These Superfoods?
As you can see there are many energy-boosting food alternatives to your regular go-to coffee, energy drinks, and sugary treats.
The best way to combat fatigue during the day is to be prepared.
Carry energy-boosting snacks like berries, hard-boiled eggs, or energy balls made with maca, so you always have something to grab when you need that extra boost. Many of us are guilty of not eating enough and that is a huge contributing factor to why so many people are so tired all the time.
So along with being prepared with your nourishing, energy-dense foods make sure you are drinking enough water, getting quality sleep, and staying away from foods with added sugar (read your labels!).
Get even more superfoods: The Top 5 Digestive Superfoods