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The 5 Best Foods to Give You an Energy Boost

Face it, we've all been there before. You know that time of day when you always feel like you've hit the proverbial (and maybe literal) wall...you start to drag, time passes very slowly, and you feel like it is a superhuman effort to even barely keep your eyelids open. Maybe you turn to coffee, energy shots, or even worse, energy drinks loaded with ingredients you can't pronounce and that could have potentially harmful effects. You need to stay alert and you need a boost. So, where do you turn? How can you keep your energy level up?

Why not try some of these delicious, and energy boosting, power foods the next time you are in a little lag.

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The Math Behind Calories

Before we get any further with these foods, let us clear the air first. All foods give you energy. That energy is in the form of calories. These calories come from the contents of the food: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, all foods, while having caloric value, are not created equal. This list is to give you an idea of which foods give you the healthiest "bang for your buck." It's a good idea to keep some of these foods handy as they can help you not only to get into better eating habits, but help you stay energized and, get this, they are good for you, too! Not only are these foods all that, but most of them will help jolt your metabolism, which is the way the body uses caloric energy to produce actions and functions, like everything from breathing to weight lifting to typing at your desk. So stock up on these foods and use them when you need a boost!

The List

1. Nuts

Nuts are some of the best on-the-go snacks you can pack on a daily basis regardless of place or time. While some nuts are better than others, nuts in their raw form (unroasted preferably) are pretty good for you. Not only are people who eat nuts less likely to eat junk food, they are high in protein, omega-3s, and the energy boosting B and E vitamins. Rich in fiber, nuts are also high in content of minerals like magnesium and another energy chemical, potassium.

2. Aqua


While technically not a food, water is a great combatant for sluggishness. Many times, that feeling of lethargy may be attributed to symptoms of dehydration, including fatigue and tiredness. Getting plenty of water will help to keep the body hydrated and functioning correctly, as well as helping regulate digestive and other bodily functions. Remember, things like alcohol and other beverages can cause you to become dehydrated, so drinking plenty of water in those situations is a great idea.

3. Fish

Fish (whitefish, oily fish, or shellfish) is high in protein, fat-soluble vitamins, and provides other great nutritional benefits, including energy boosting minerals. Varieties like salmon and tuna are chock full of omega-3s and building block proteins that are used for muscle building and repair; and are great low calorie, high energy foods that are high in essential fats and protein, which you can think of like "high test" gasoline in a performance race car.

4. Fruits

For a fruit-flavored energy pick-me-up, try different types of fruit the next time you need it. Dried fruits, citrus fruits, apples, pears, whatever! Most of these are chock full of nutrients, minerals, and vitamin C, as well as packing a load of natural sugars that will have you picking up from there.

5. Dark Chocolate

I had to sneak in something good for all my sweet-toothers out there. If you have to give in to the temptation, pick up the good stuff. Dark chocolate is banked with antioxidants, natural sugars, and natural fats from the cacao bean...a great little perk up that you can sneak in during the day or night.

While these foods are some of the best to help naturally boost your energy, there are many other foods that work well in this regard. Try to do your homework and find foods that are high in natural energy boosters like B vitamins, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, and high in other vitamins and nutrients. Any food that fits these qualifications are going to help you break through the sluggishness and give you the healthy energy you deserve.

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Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous professional, collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields, including professional and arena football players, Mixed Martial Artists, elite runners, international soccer players, and more. 

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the owner and operator of Funky Fitness PA, a personal training studio, in home personal training and personalized fitness planning service. Ryan's work has been featured across the US and the globe, working with clients in all facets of life. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can check Ryan out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, or you can reach him at funkytimefitness@gmail.com.




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