Low energy is fun, said no one ever. But it’s common. Most of us have had days when no matter what we do, we can’t seem to get a move on.
The alarm clock goes off and you hit snooze several times. Even after several cups of coffee or a quick workout, that pep one relies on to get dressed and out the door is nowhere to be found. It’s like your energy took a vacation and forgot to bring you along.
Recommended Reading: 5 Morning Rituals For A More Productive (and Happier) Day!
Although there are medical conditions that can cause chronic tiredness (low testosterone in men, anemia, sleep apnea), sometimes the culprit is as simple as our lifestyle choices. Stress, lack of exercise, and even drinking too much alcohol can cause the type of fatigue that makes you feel like an extra in The Walking Dead.
And then of course there’s the four-letter word nobody wants to mention: Diet.
We get it. It can be cringe-y but hear us out, because what you’re eating (or not eating) can greatly impact whether you jump up to punch the day in the face or pull the covers back over your head.
How Diet Affects Your Energy
If you’ve ever taken a health class you probably know a little about nutrition and the role it plays in your overall health. There’s a reason why we perform better when we eat a plate of salmon and quinoa instead of a candy bar and dieter’s guilt has nothing to do with it.
In the above-mentioned health class you may recall hearing about macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and how the body uses them for different things. However, you may be less familiar with micronutrients and how they impact our energy levels and performance.
Like the name suggests, micronutrients are the scientific term for trace “micro” dietary nutrients. They are the vitamins, minerals, and water (some experts argue that water should be considered a macronutrient) that enable physiological function.
Some vitamins and minerals aid in metabolism, others in blood production. Some keep our bones strong. Others produce energy, which is really what you want to hear about, right?
You were probably given a daily multivitamin as a kid (does anyone remember chewable Flintstones?!) or take one now. Although that’s a great practice to have (in fact, taking them can help fill nutritional gaps in your diet) supplements aren’t the best way to get these tiny essentials because our bodies can’t always utilize them. Some micronutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins for example, need to be absorbed with fat and therefore taking them on an empty stomach isn’t that beneficial.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency can lead to fatigue, so it’s important to do what we can to get the recommended daily amount. The good news is that you can get most of the micronutrients through a diet that’s high in vegetables, fruits, protein from lean meat and plants, and healthy fats. They’re naturally infused with the essentials that kick your butt into gear and keep you energized. he processed stuff, not so much.
Now that we’ve convinced you to stop crushing those energy drinks and actually chow down, check out these 7 energizing superfoods worth adding to your menu.
Don’t listen to the naysayers. Potatoes, specifically the sweet kind, are not bad for you. One cubed cup is only
114 calories, 2.1 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber.
Like other orange foods, sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene which your body needs to create Vitamin A, an immune system supporter. When our immune defenses are down, we often feel fatigued, so foods that strengthen it are always a plus.
Since they’re a complex carb, sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index and take longer to digest. This means you won’t experience the dreaded spike and crash after eating them. The spuds are also a great source of potassium and Vitamin C which not only also boosts immunity but energy production by facilitating the transport of fatty-acids to mitochondria .
There’s a reason why Popeye always ate this green. Along with being a source of calcium (122 milligrams for a 1/2 cup cooked), spinach is a wonderful source of iron.
Most of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin. It helps produce energy by allowing red blood cells to hold the oxygen that’s carried to muscles. Conditions like anemia (often due to blood loss or the body not producing enough blood cells), can cause fatigue and doctors routinely suggest to patients to up their intake of the mineral.
Experts recommend getting between 17-20.5 milligrams of iron per day. Not only will one cup of cooked spinach give you more than 20 percent of that, but it’s high in Vitamin C which is needed for its full absorption.
This fruit is far more than a healthy form of fat. Avocados have more potassium than bananas, 10 grams of fiber per cup, and are a source of Vitamin B5 and Vitamin B6.
Of all the vitamins, the B's are one of the most highlighted and it’s because they play a big part in converting the nutrients from our food into useable energy.
Because of its fat content (a cup will give you 32 percent of your daily requirement), avocados may also help the body absorb vitamins from plant-based food, specifically fat-soluble ones like Vitamin K, D, E, and A.
Believe it or not, your bathroom habits could be responsible for your lack of gusto. According to one report, 42 million Americans are constipated. We know. TMI.
Besides causing bloating and flatulence, the condition can also cause fatigue. Fortunately, having a serving of chia seeds can help… eliminate both problems. See what we did there?
Two tablespoons of the stuff will provide you with 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 5 grams of heart healthy omega-3 fats. It’s also a source of magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Chia seeds can easily be incorporated into your diet by tossing them into smoothies, sprinkling over salads, or even by adding them to water.
Not energized for the gym? Have some Cordyceps mushrooms instead of that shot of espresso.
They’re adaptogens and interact with your body’s chemicals to make it more equipped at handling environmental stressors.
This medicinal mushroom has been shown to raise adenosine triphosphate ( ATP ) levels, lower lactic acid while encouraging more blood flow. In one study, researchers found that subjects who took 33 mgs of Cordyceps 3 times per day for 12 weeks were more resistant to fatigue during exercise in comparison to subjects given a placebo .
Cordyceps can be sautéed similar to other mushrooms but it’s not the easiest to find in grocery stores. The upside is you can still receive its energy packing benefits by taking it in supplement form.
You are officially allowed to indulge your inner chocoholic! Cacao is not only delicious, but actually good for you.
It’s not the same thing as cocoa. While both come from the cocoa bean, cacao is a superfood and taken directly from the cacao seedpod and cold-processed. Because of this, it maintains more of its nutritional integrity.
You may notice experiencing a lift in your mood after having cacao and it’s because of it has Anandamide. It’s a molecule that’s been shown to impact our serotonin levels, explaining why we feel better after noshing on some . Cacao also has flavanols, antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and heart healthy. Perhaps more importantly, it contains magnesium which activates ATP to create energy.
Unfortunately, deficiency of the mineral is rather common. It’s estimated that 80 percent of American adults don’t get the daily recommendation of 310-420 mgs. The deficiency can cause insomnia, leg cramps, and of course, lethargy. But if you eat some of the dark stuff, you probably won’t have to worry about that. Just 2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs contain 52 grams! Pretty sweet.
Feeling inexplicably sleepy? You may need to chug some h2O.
You’ve probably already heard the old adage about if you’re thirsty than you’re already hydrated. And it’s true! Water plays a vital role in digestion, blood circulation, keeping your body at the right temperature, carrying nutrients, and lubricating joints. Along with dry skin, headaches, insomnia and brain fog, dehydration can also cause fatigue and mood swings.
When water is lost (sweating, exercise, breathing), the other systems of the body cannot function properly. Salt and minerals become unbalanced and we feel like crap. And it doesn’t take a lot to throw us off kilter either. Even mild dehydration (about 1.5 percent) is enough to feel the effects.
So how much water should you drink? It depends on your activity level. While many of us are familiar with the whole “8 glasses a day” recommendation, experts from the Mayo Clinic suggest drinking 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women.
Now that you know which foods boost energy, let us know which ones you’ll be eating today, plus check out our extra energizing mushroom coffee below.
Ingredients: ORGANIC RYZE Mushroom Blend (Cordyceps, Reishi, Lion's Mane, Shiitake, King Trumpet, Turkey Tail), Spray-Dried Arabica Coffee, MCT Oil Powder
Vegan | 100% Natural | Keto-friendly | Non-GMO