4 Food-Focused Ways to Boost Your Energy

UPDATED: April 6, 2023
PUBLISHED: March 11, 2021
woman drinking coffee to boost energy

It’s no secret that humans are a tired bunch. But because there are dozens of causes, trying to pinpoint the cause of fatigue is nearly impossible. The reasons can range from lack of sleep to anemia, medication side effects or not enough exercise

But here’s a quick hint that might help you increase your energy: Food is a major contributor.

Unfortunately, when we turn to artificial or unhealthy stimulants such as simple carbohydrates to give us the spark we need, we get peppy and zippy and think all is well. But that simple-carb high is very soon followed by a crash, which leaves us feeling even more fatigued.

What are the best energy boosting foods?

In a dream world, we would use quality sleep, regular exercise and stress management to restore our energy levels. But here’s how you can add food to your power-boosting arsenal:

1. Water

Dehydration is one of the many causes of fatigue and inadequate sleep. Keep water by you and sip it all day long. However, instead of focusing on drinking eight glasses per day, focus on your body’s response to determine how much water is enough for you.

2. Healthy fats

Fat is an energy-dense food. Healthy fats (think salmon, nuts and avocados) let you take advantage of the slow energy release fat provides without all the risks of crashing.

3. Protein

Proteins, such as those in lean meats (think chicken, turkey and some types of fish), are excellent energy-boosting foods. You can also get protein from nuts and beans. Eating protein early in the day may be beneficial.

4. Coffee and tea

You already know these are staples of an energy-boosting diet. Both are great, and caffeine can even provide its own energy boost—a pilot study found that people who took a “‘caffeine-nap’ showed marked improvements in both performance and alertness”—so it’s OK to have them, provided you don’t load them with sugar and cream.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine and has been updated. Photo by ImYanis/Shutterstock