Energy Boosting Foods: Highly Energetic Food For Your Diet

energy boosting foods

If you’re looking to level up your exercise goals and hit your fitness goals faster, getting your daily fill of energy-boosting nutrients is essential. But what are the best energy-boosting foods, and what should you include in your diet? Let’s find out. 

Without the necessary calorie intake, you can burn out and feel sluggish rather than enjoying the ‘high’ you should get after exercise. 

Keeping on top of your energy reserves is essential to push through the barriers and reach your goals. 

So, if you're feeling drained and don't have enough energy to get on top of your exercise schedule, don't worry—help is at hand.

Are you ready for sustained energy, day after day? 

Great, let’s do this…the Smart way.

Why might you have low energy?

There are several reasons why you need more energy. Underlying health conditions might be the cause—but the main reason is likely to be your lifestyle. Sleep and a calorie deficit are among the most common energy-sapping lifestyle factors.

Making sure you get a minimum of eight hours of quality sleep each night is essential. So if you're struggling, try going to bed earlier and eliminate any distractions—like noise and mobile phones.

Consuming surplus calories will also help you with energy production, especially if you like to work. And it's not just the calorie surplus—certain nutrients have been scientifically proven to boost energy. More on that in a moment.

SmartTip: Check out our Smart Guide on increasing your energy levels with the right supplements and nutritional choices for more insider tips.

The role of diet in boosting energy

Your body needs to find energy from somewhere to perform even the most minor of tasks— and if you don't have the necessary stores in your system—you'll feel fatigued. 

Consuming the right amount of vitamins and minerals will allow you to perform at your best throughout your entire workout—enabling you to progress much more quickly. 

Eating the right energy-dense foods, keeping hydrated and avoiding the type of food that will make you feel lethargic will also give you more energy throughout the day.

Food that has a lower nutritional value won't do much to boost energy, and it can also start a chain reaction of bad eating habits, such as snacking when you begin to feel tired. 

A common misconception is to think that just because your stomach feels full, you'll have the necessary nutrients to provide you with enough energy for a challenging workout. 

On the flipside, if you arm yourself with the proper knowledge and know which high energy foods to consume and avoid—you can stay on top of your game and push yourself through.

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The key areas of nutrition for keeping energy levels up

Let's have a look at some of the most critical points when it comes to energy production in your body. If you get this right, the job will become much easier.

But first, a quick meal planning tip to help you on your way to energy-boosting excellence.

Smart Tip…

Plan your meals

Most of us have hectic lives, and if you're rushing from here to there, trying to fit everything in, your meals may become an afterthought, or you might even decide to skip them.

This often means grabbing whatever is available at the time, regardless of its nutritional value.

Consistency is key, and regularly packing in the correct healthy nutrients will keep your energy stores high, and help to give you sustainable energy.


Eat balanced meals

Meals with a healthy mix of protein, carbs, and fats are essential to get the balance right. 

A mixture of the proper nutrients will give you a steady, slow release of energy and enhance your athletic performance. 

If you arm yourself with the correct nutrition, you'll be able to work out with confidence.

Avoid processed foods

Quality high-energy food should always be on the top of your shopping list as it should enable you to go from meal to meal without craving snacks and allow a slow, sustained energy release. 

Processed foods lack the nutrients to keep you going consistently and can add unnecessary ‘added ingredients’ to your system, often making you feel sluggish or even bloated. And who wants that?

Cut down on sugar

Sugar in moderation is refined, but you can expect adverse effects if you go overboard. 

Controlling your sugar intake might seem straightforward, but watch out for food containing added sugars, as it's sometimes difficult to spot them. 

Cut down on sugary carbonated drinks and moderate alcohol consumption to help you stay on top of your sugar levels.

Essential high-energy foods and nutrients to add to your diet  

So, which nutrients should we be looking out for? Some are more obvious than others, but we've put together an essential high-energy foods list that you should consider adding to your diet to keep your energy levels up.

Let’s dive in.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an electrolyte which is essential for bone strength, but it's lesser known for its ability to help your body produce energy (1) when you need it the most. 

It does this by supporting your nervous system, particularly the nerve impulses. As if that wasn't enough, magnesium has also been shown to improve sleep quality, helping to re-energise you. A healthy dose of magnesium can provide plenty of health benefits, and will provide energy to your system when you need it.

Shopping list…

  • Greek yoghurt
  • Soy beans
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Low-fat milk
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Black Beans
  • Dark chocolate

Iron

For your body to perform at its optimum level, oxygen must be pumped around your body in an efficient manner. Iron helps by enabling your body to produce red blood cells, which transport oxygen around your system. Iron has also been shown (4) to help with cognitive function, which will help keep you mentally energised.

Shopping list…

  • Red Meat
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Nuts
  • Liver
  • Beans
  • Dried fruit

Zinc

Zinc helps to ensure your immune system works to its total capacity and supports a healthy metabolism. 

It also helps build strong muscle tissue, so getting a regular top-up with zinc is essential if your workout recovery process goes as smoothly as possible. 

Studies (2) show that zinc can help to reduce fatigue in athletes. 

Shopping list…

  • Salmon
  • Black Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts

BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids - or BCAAs (3) - can slow the onset of fatigue during workouts. This means you can work harder, for longer and get a longer-lasting energy. 

They can give you a steady energy release, which will help you to stay strong throughout your exercise, as well as helping to reduce muscle soreness. 

Shopping list…

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat Milk
Range of healthy carbs
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Complex carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important to our diet, and not least because of the additional energy boost they provide. 

Complex carbohydrates (6) are particularly useful when it comes to exercise as they release energy at a slower pace, making your workout more sustainable, as they take longer to absorb. 

Shopping list…

  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Starchy Vegetables

Vitamins

A healthy, balanced diet should include plenty of foods containing a range of vitamins. But some are more important than others when it comes to helping your body to produce more energy. 

Vitamin B12 is one of the best sources if you're looking for an energy boost, as it helps fight fatigue.

 1. Vitamin B12

B vitamins have a big reputation when it comes to providing energy. Vitamin B12 is the best place to start if you're feeling sluggish and need a pick-me-up—it's the only vitamin that directly contributes to your energy levels. 

Studies(5) have shown that people with low B12 levels are more likely to suffer from fatigue, as it helps to produce red blood cells and support the nervous system. 

Shopping list…

  • Fish
  • Dairy Products
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Cereals

2. Vitamin B3  

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, will give you energy by helping to maximise the amount of energy produced from the food you consume. 

It also helps to control your blood pressure, which can help with cognitive health by relieving stress. Niacin has been shown (7) to help with your digestive system. 

Shopping list…

  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Bananas
  • Brown Rice

3. Vitamin B6

When we talk about energy, it's not just the physical kind that's important. Your mental energy pushes you to the gym and keeps you going through tough workouts. 

Mental fatigue can lead to poor concentration in the gym. Scientific studies (8) have shown that vitamin B6 helps produce serotonin, which regulates mood and sleep. 

Topping up with B6 makes the difference between whether you can be bothered to perform the workout! 

Shopping list…

  • Green Vegetables
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Cereals
  • Soy products

4. Vitamin B9 

Vitamin B9, known as folic acid, is perfect for boosting energy levels (9). It assists in converting complex carbs to glucose and - like B6 - helps to increase your serotonin levels and regulate your mood. 

It's great for giving your body a lift at a time when you need it the most. 

Shopping list…

  • Dairy products
  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Fortified Breads

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin is probably best known as the go-to vitamin when you have a cold, but its lesser-known properties include boosting energy (10). 

Vitamin C helps to produce dopamine and epinephrine, which helps to elevate your mood. 

Shopping list…

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers

6. Vitamin D

The ‘sunshine vitamin’ is not only great for immunity, it helps to regulate serotonin levels and raise your mood. It's been proven (11) to help combat fatigue and is great for getting you mentally recharged and ready for the tasks at hand. 

Shopping list…

  • Fatty Fish
  • Cereal
  • Eggs

7. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is essential in getting oxygen around the body by helping to improve blood flow and helping regulate nerves. 

This can also have both a calming and energy-boosting effect. It also helps with immunity (12)  and blood vessel regulation. 

Shopping list…

  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
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How else can you increase these nutrients?

Taking care of what you eat should be your main aim when you are looking to get your energy stores high. But if you want to get all the nutrients you need, topping up with the right supplements is the way forward. 

Dietary supplements will ensure that you get all the key vitamins and minerals to give your body the energy boost it needs to cope with a heavy exercise schedule. In turn, you’ll be able to push harder and squeeze every last drop of value from your workouts.

Smart Protein has a range of energy-boosting supplements packed with all the important  nutrients to boost your body and mind and ready for action.

Try our triple-threat Energy-Booster Kit to get your fill of everything you need to improve your workouts and elevate your everyday.

Sources

Smart Protein is committed to sourcing only the best and scientifically-backed research in our articles.

1. National Institute of Health:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#:~:text=Magnesium%20is%20required%20for%20energy,RNA%2C%20and%20the%20antioxidant%20glutathione. 

2. Science Direct:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/014976349500002V

3. National Library of Medicine:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9571679/ 

4. Medical News Today:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287228 

5. Harvard Health:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-b12-deficiency-can-be-sneaky-harmful-201301105780 

6. Medical News Today:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325171#:~:text=Instead%2C%20the%20review%20found%20a,more%20lasting%20elevation%20in%20energy. 

7. National Institutes of Health:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Niacin-HealthProfessional/ 

8. National Library of Medicine:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35851507/ 

9. Medical News Today:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287677#foods-high-in-folate 

10. Research Outreach:

https://researchoutreach.org/articles/energy-transformation-living-cells-role-vitamin-c/ 

11. Nature.com:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-39359-z 

12. Harvard Health:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/ 

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