Do you ever find yourself extremely tired, but you’re not sure why? Waking up just to hit snooze over and over again, or maybe feeling that “midday drop” that you can’t seem to beat? Boosting your energy and finally beating fatigue can sometimes feel impossible, but thankfully it’s not! If this sounds like you, keep reading to learn more about our top 5 energy boosting foods, and why you should include them in your diet.
Fatigue often happens when your body is lacking sleep and certain essential nutrients. For example, if adequate fluids (like water) are missing, not only will your energy run short, but blood sugar and blood pressure levels can drop dramatically too, increasing your level of fatigue.
Anemia, or low iron levels in the blood, is another common cause of low energy and often occurs for a variety of reasons. Some potential reasons include consuming a diet low in animal products (which are naturally higher in the more absorbable form of iron), menstruation, extreme exercise, or overconsumption of certain foods like coffee (which blunts iron absorption). Finally, sleep deprivation or getting too little quality rest is a common reason many experience chronic fatigue or low energy. When we sleep our bodies repair our cells and muscles, detoxify toxins built up in the brain, integrate information, and so much more. When we consistently have poor quality sleep, or sleep too little, we deprive ourselves of all of those important benefits and cause ourselves to operate in an energy deficit. Sprinkle in a bit of work/life stress combined with extra screen time and you have a classic recipe for low energy.
We need a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for good health and even better energy and making simple additions to your diet through whole food options will set you on a path for a healthier body and clearer mind. Let’s dive into our top 5 foods you can eat to boost your energy and beat fatigue.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Coming in at number one on the list is water! Everything on earth, humans included, needs water to survive. Water is an essential nutrient for many bodily functions including supporting liver detoxification, temperature regulation, transporting nutrients to the cell, healthy digestion, the absorption of water-soluble vitamins, and so much more1.
The key to staying hydrated is not only drinking enough good quality filtered water, but also ensuring you’re getting a good source of electrolytes in at least one of those cups of water per day. This is especially important for active individuals or those living in hot or humid climates. Adding electrolytes helps your body and cells absorb the water and hold onto it just a little bit longer. Looking for a good quality electrolyte supplement? We recommend Trace Minerals Research Power Pak Lemon Lime.
Food Rich in Vitamin C
Regularly consuming foods rich in vitamin C levels impacts our energy greatly, especially when we experience stress. When we’re under stress our body (specifically the adrenals) uses more vitamin C to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that prepares our bodies to deal with stress in fight-or-flight mode. Unfortunately, many of us operate in a chronically stressed-out state, which zaps our energy and leaves us feeling burnt out and fatigued. This state of chronic stress drains many nutrients (like vitamin C), which makes including them in our diet even more important.
Foods rich in vitamin C can help to replenish energy and fight off free radicals. Some of our favorite food options include kale, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, oranges, or pineapples. Tossing these on a salad or into a smoothie can make for a balanced lunch or energy boosting pick-me-up. Looking for an easier way to get vitamin C through supplementation? We recommend Thorne's Vitamin C with Flavonoids.
Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods you could eat, and unfortunately is not eaten by enough people! This traditional food was eaten thousands of years ago by our ancestors who had the innate wisdom to understand the importance of consuming the entire animal, including organ meats, and how it benefits our health. Liver is extremely high in many energy boosting nutrients including vitamin A, Iron, the B vitamins and protein2. If you find yourself feeling extra fatigued, it’s likely that a weekly dose of liver might be just the energy boost you need!
Although it might feel intimidating, making a delicious and nourishing meal using liver is actually quite easy. Some of our go-to’s include pan-searing liver with onions and potatoes, currying beef liver into an Indian-inspired dish, making it into a pate, or grinding it up to make meatballs (which also hides the taste for those who find it less appealing). If eating liver isn’t your thing, try it in supplement form! We recommend Vital Proteins Beef Liver Supplements.
Berries of all kinds!
Carbohydrates are typically the body’s most preferred fuel source and choosing the right type of carbohydrate is important for not just energy, but sustained energy. One of our favorite types to include for healthy energy levels is berries. Berries are one of the most nutrient dense foods you could include in your diet and are a great source of healthy carbohydrates that will leave you feeling nourished and fueled all day long. They are also high in antioxidants which fight off oxidative stress and boost our immune system, two important factors that support energy levels. Some of our favorite berries include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and cranberries. Throw them in a smoothie, add them to a salad, or eat them by the handful (or two, or three!).
Whether you fish them out yourself or go to the market, wild-caught fish is full of top tier nutrients and is one of the best energy boosting foods you could eat. Packed with healthy omega-3s and lean protein, which are necessary for consistent energy, there couldn’t be a better food to include. Enjoying fish also helps with tissue repair and muscle development as it is high in healthy protein and amino acids, making it a great option for athletes, growing kids, and older adults alike. Looking for examples of healthy fish? Some of our favorites include wild-caught fish like salmon, trout, bass or Alaskan pollock.
Not a fan of the taste of fish, but still looking to get all of the benefits? A balanced fish oil supplement might be the way to go. We recommend you try Nordic Natural's Balanced Omega Supplement.
Although there can be many culprits behind low energy, including energy boosting foods and supplements can be a great way to beat fatigue and feel energized. By optimizing your diet along with making appropriate lifestyle changes like engaging in regular exercise, stress management, self-care, and getting outside, you can rest assured that you’ll feel energized in no time! Feel like you could use some more support? Our Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are here for you! Schedule a session now to receive individualized support to help you reach your energy goals.
About the author
Emily Alexander, M.Ed, FNTP—Emily is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with Curated Wellness. She is passionate about supporting others in their journey to improve their relationship with food and their body through gentle nutrition and is a firm believer that understanding the bio-individual components of nutrition is one of the best ways to do so. Emily completed her Master’s of education in health education and promotion with a concentration in eating disorders, and draws from both her educational background and life experience to help her clients improve their energy, understand their bodies, boost their athletic potential, and break down diet myths one at a time. Read more about Emily.
The information presented on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any specific condition or disease, nor is it medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health conditions or concerns. One should always consult a qualified medical professional before engaging in any dietary and/or lifestyle change or new health program. Curated Wellness does not take responsibility for any health consequences of any person or persons following the information in this educational content.
1. Barry M Popkin, Kristen E D'Anci, Irwin H Rosenberg, Water, hydration, and health, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 68, Issue 8, 1 August 2010, Pages 439–458, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304
2. Geng, Caitlin. “Beef Liver: Nutrition, Benefits, and Risks.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 25 May 2021, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/beef-liver-nutrition#health-benefits