Experiencing a midday slump? While you may be tempted to take an afternoon nap, try grabbing an energy-boosting snack or drink, instead.
When looking for a quick pick-me-up, it’s best to choose something with protein, fiber, and other key nutrients like omega-3s or potassium.
Here are 10 healthy and energizing foods and drinks to get you through the day.
1. Fatty fish
Salmon can be seasoned with lemon, soy sauce, herbs, or other spices.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Additionally, an omega-3 deficiency can leave you feeling fatigued and make it harder to stay concentrated and attentive.
Top oatmeal with raspberries, bananas, and nuts for a healthy breakfast.
Oatmeal is packed with fiber and protein, which provides a slow release of energy and prevents blood sugar spikes. Half a cup of cooked oatmeal contains 5.4 grams of protein — roughly 11% of your daily value (DV) — and 4.6 grams of fiber, or about 18.4% DV.
Bananas make a quick energy-boosting snack.
Bananas are a good source of fiber with 3.3 grams (13% DV) per fruit.
5 scientifically-backed benefits of bananas for weight loss, heart health, and more
Less than 2% of American adults consume the recommended daily intake of potassium, leaving them at risk of potassium deficiency. Because potassium is a mineral essential for energy production, even a mild deficiency can cause fatigue, cramping, and muscle weakness.
Scrambled eggs make an easy breakfast.
“Proteins are a long-lasting source of fuel as they are harder to break down than carbohydrates and have a minimal impact on blood sugar,” says Supriya Lal, RD, a registered dietitian with a private practice.
5. Sweet potatoes
Try roasting your sweet potatoes for a hearty side-dish.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, which are digested more slowly and therefore provide long-lasting energy compared to simple carbohydrates, like those found in sweetened yogurt, sugar, and corn syrup.
Additionally, sweet potatoes are high in B vitamins, such as vitamins B5 and B6. B vitamins help convert calories found in food into energy our bodies can use, which is why B vitamin deficiencies can make you feel fatigued.
Oranges are also a quick and easy snack for an on-the-go boost of energy.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
“Antioxidants play a major role in combating the inflammation in your body that can damage your cells, in which case, can cause the feeling of being tired,” Marin says.
7. Beef liver
You can add beef liver to kebabs.
Beef liver is high in B vitamins, such as vitamin B12. If you’re deficient in vitamin B12 it can cause symptoms like brain fog and fatigue, so some beef liver might be the trick for your afternoon slump.
Moreover, beef liver also contains iron and zinc, which may also reduce fatigue.
If you want to boost your energy try coffee, but don’t drink it too close to bedtime.
“Coffee is a popular morning beverage thanks to its caffeine content, a stimulant that helps us feel alert, full, and energized,” Marin says.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cited a limit of 400 milligrams of caffeine per day for most healthy adults, which translates to about four cups of coffee.
While some people may be able to drink coffee in the afternoon without disrupting their sleep, others should avoid caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. That’s because it can reduce your sleep time, efficiency, and cause restlessness.
9. Green tea
Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, but can still boost energy.
5 benefits of green tea and how it can help your memory, skin, and bones
Green tea is another energy-boosting drink thanks to its caffeine content. An 8-ounce cup of green tea has about 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine which is less than coffee‘s 96 milligrams.
However, green tea contains something coffee does not: L-theanine, an amino acid that metabolizes caffeine over a longer period of time. A small 2008 study found that participants who consumed a combination of L-theanine and caffeine did better on an attention test than those who consumed caffeine alone.
Staying hydrated can help ward off fatigue.
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images
Drinking water may improve energy levels because dehydration causes fatigue, trouble focusing, and confusion.
In a small 2011 study, researchers found fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise in young women resulted in decreased mood, impaired concentration, and increased frequency of headaches. Therefore, rehydrating may help you focus.
Important: Adult men should aim to drink 3.7 liters of water a day while adult women should aim for 2.7 liters.
Certain nutrients in foods and drinks, such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and caffeine can boost your performance and give you long-lasting energy. These nutrients will not only act as a fuel to help your body produce more sustained energy but also improve your overall health. If you’re looking to avoid that slump and feel energized, incorporating the above foods can be beneficial, Marin says.
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