Food has a huge influence on how we think, feel, and ultimately how we perform throughout the day. You’ve heard the saying, “you are what you eat”. Anyone who has eaten fast food knows this to be true. On Monday morning when you are working on your first assignment of the week and then you begin to feel the slow fatigue set in and lunch is still a few hours away, this is when you will start wishing you made better choices at breakfast. For this reason, I have listed the top five best foods for energy, so that, like the energizer bunny- you can last all the way through the week without crashing.
Green tea I consider to be the best food for energy for an ample amount of reasons. First, everyone knows that caffeine is amazing for staying alert, and green tea does have caffeine, but one of my favorite things about green tea is the amount of L-Theanine it contains.
“While caffeine is a well-known stimulant, theanine has a relaxing effect.” (1) So, instead of getting a high jolt of energy and then a crash you’ll have more of a longer lasting calmer energy that sustains for longer periods of time.
I’m sure you have heard of the many benefits of green tea by now. Aside from the fact that it is delicious, it’s also high in polyphenols (about 30% of green tea actually) and catechin called EGCG (Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits). EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is one of the most powerful of all the compounds in green tea.
In this study, “EGCG was found to exhibit a wide range of therapeutic properties including anti-atherosclerosis, anti-cardiac hypertrophy, anti-myocardial infarction, anti-diabetes, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.” (2)
Slow Digesting Grains
I’m not a big fan of grains because of the fact that many are high glycemic so they break down to sugar fast and can cause dips in energy (you can find the glycemic chart here to see the glycemic rating for each carbohydrate-containing food).
However, grains like lentils and quinoa are some of the best foods for lasting energy because they are slow digesting and high in fiber so they break down into energy (in this case glucose) at a much slower rate compared to white rice or bread. This means that your energy will be much more stable and full for hours after you eat.
Contrary to popular belief, good fats are the quintessential healthy food for the amount of energy they give you and the nutrients they provide without all the downfalls like sugar and other processed foods. They are definitely one of the best foods on the planet for having long-lasting energy.
However, not all fats are created equal. Refined vegetable oils and industrial seed oils are poison and should be avoided. Those fats kill. But traditional fats like coconut oil, avocado, nuts, fish oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), red palm oil, chia seeds, and flax seeds all provide the body with EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids), monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats reduce inflammation (3), increase feelings of fullness for longer periods, and are brain food that gives your mind and body what it needs for hours on end to operate optimally.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Thanks to photosynthesis the sun gives us light to create plants which we eat giving us life. The main benefits of plants are thanks to Chlorophyll they contain which allow the vitamins within the plants to be synthesized. When we eat green vegetables like Wheatgrass, Spinach, or Swiss Chard we get a detoxifying and anti-cancer effect thanks to the properties in them (4). With fewer toxins and less cancer comes extra energy for living. Anything green you should look at and think, “that’s one of the best energy giving food because I’m basically eating the sun.”
Grass-Fed Pasture Raised Meats
At the top of my list of the best foods for energy goes high-quality meats. Protein is essential for building muscle so it’s only obvious to assume that the more protein you have the more energy you have as a result. Protein breaks down slower than carbohydrates and they tend to increase satiety.
Eating grass-fed pasture raised meats is more favorable because when the animal you ate has been grazing on grass, had plenty of outdoor exposure, lots of physical activity, and treated humanely it’s only normal to assume it has higher quality nutritional value than an animal that ate grains or corn, never saw the light of day and was treated poorly or abused. Studies show that grass-fed animals have higher vitamins and higher concentrations of antioxidants, and higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids (5,6). The more life-giving food your food ate the more life you will have as a result of eating them.
Also Read: Try Yoga For Digestion Relief
No matter what your goals are you need the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to get you and your hard-working brain there. If the food you eat is making you tired then that means it’s taking more energy to digest than it is giving you. Garbage in equals garbage out. The Pomodoro technique is great and all but no amount of breaks can replace a junk food diet. So, eat more of the foods listed above throughout your day and you will need to eat less and take fewer breaks because your high energy will last much longer.
If you want to take your health to the next level then email me to book a FREE strategy session with me a Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in Functional Movements and Ancestral Nutrition to see how I can help you get your diet and lifestyle in order to help you have more energy, less body fat, and add more muscle than you ever imagined.
- Eng, Qian Yi, et al. “Molecular Understanding of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Jan. 2018,
- Boros, Klára, et al. “Theanine and Caffeine Content of Infusions Prepared from Commercial Tea Samples.” Pharmacognosy Magazine, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2016.
- Cruz-Teno, Cristina, et al. “Dietary Fat Modifies the Postprandial Inflammatory State in Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome: the LIPGENE Study.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2012.
- McQuistan, Tammie J, et al. “Cancer Chemoprevention by Dietary Chlorophylls: a 12,000-Animal Dose-Dose Matrix Biomarker and Tumor Study.” Food and Chemical Toxicology : an International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2012.
- Daley, Cynthia A, et al. “A Review of Fatty Acid Profiles and Antioxidant Content in Grass-Fed and Grain-Fed Beef.” Nutrition Journal, BioMed Central, 10 Mar. 2010.
- McAfee, A J, et al. “Red Meat from Animals Offered a Grass Diet Increases Plasma and Platelet n-3 PUFA in Healthy Consumers.” The British Journal of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2011.