What foods are good for energy?

February 23rd, 2023

Maintaining high energy levels is crucial to effectively tackle daily tasks. While lifestyle habits like regular physical activity and good sleep patterns play a vital role, different foods might also has an impact on energy levels. Did you know B Vitamins, nitrate, hesperidin and Ashwaganda root are all part of these foods? Read more in this article!

Foods-for-energy

These foods will help you maintain your daily energy

To finish your daily tasks at home or during work it is nice to be fully energized. It allows you to perform well and to get the most out of your day. Spending time full of energy, is time well spent!

Lifestyle habits influence your energy levels. You should take care of your sleep pattern and engage in physical activity frequently, but did you know that your diet also influences your energy status?

And no, we’re not talking about jacking up your caffeine intake, because this might cause some negative side effects that some people are more susceptible to than others. That’s why we wrote this article about alternatives to caffeine to get a mental boost.

In this article, we will dive in the 4 best natural compounds to boost your overall energy!

B Vitamins for energy

B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that function as coenzymes in many bodily processes. There are eight different B vitamins that you can find in foods such as meat, seafood, and dairy.

Unlike instant energy boosters, B vitamins optimize the pathways which convert ingested food into energy for the body. Furthermore, certain B vitamins help in the formation of red blood cells, which are important to carry oxygen through the body. This oxygen is then used to energize your cells.

Supplements may help to boost energy levels of people who are deficient in vitamin B12. People that follow a varied diet are usually not short on vitamin B, but a deficiency might occur when people follow a vegan or vegetarian diet (1).

Nitrate containing foods to support energy levels

Nitrate is present in high amounts in beetroot and green-leafy vegetables such as arugula, spinach, celery, and lettuce. Dietary nitrate is a precursor of nitric oxide, which is an important signaling molecule in the body.

Nitric oxide induces vasodilation, which increases blood flow. When blood supply is enhanced, more oxygen and nutrients can reach the muscles, which is needed to provide energy to the working muscle.

Dietary nitrate also improves the efficiency of the mitochondria; the powerhouses of the cell. With the use of oxygen, mitochondria convert food into energy in the form of ATP. Dietary nitrate reduces the oxygen cost of ATP production, making it easier to produce energy on a cellular level.

Moreover, dietary nitrate reduces the amount of ATP used to contract your muscles, meaning that it takes a longer time before you are out of energy.

For submaximal endurance type physical activity, and for high-intensity physical activity it is especially beneficial to consume dietary nitrate (2)

Foods that contain hesperidin

Hesperidin is a polyphenol abundantly present in citrus fruits, like oranges. Once ingested, hesperidin is converted into hesperetin by bacteria in the intestines. Hesperetin is then absorbed into the blood and transported to different parts of the body.

The mitochondria are the main providers of energy for the cells, by turning carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into ATP. By increased stress on the mitochondria, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created, which makes you feel less energetic. This happens during exercise for example. Hesperidin can boost your energy by inhibiting the production of ROS (3).

Hesperidin also increases the availability of nitric oxide, leading to increased blood flow to fatigued tissues leading to a higher supply of oxygen and nutrients. Additionally, pro-inflammatory markers are reduced upon hesperidin exposure.

These properties make hesperidin most suitable to enhance recovery after physical activity, optimize the oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscles, and boost your energy! That’s why there are many reasons for including hesperidin in supplements.

Ashwagandha root

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a traditional herb from India, and its extract is obtained from the root of the plant. Ashwagandha is an apoptogenic herb, meaning that it helps the body’s response to stress.

Due to its diverse composition of phytochemicals, Ashwagandha root extract has many biological implications. It reduces inflammation, and supports the protection mechanisms against infections, and metabolic and neurological illnesses. (4)

Ashwagandha root extract is suggested to enhance endothelial function, improve mitochondrial function, and reduces ROS. As a result, this extract is able to improve aerobic exercise capacity, clearly indicating its energy boosting capacities! (5)

Foods to support your energy levels

In conclusion, there are several natural compounds that can help boost your energy levels without resorting to caffeine or other instant energy boosters. B Vitamins, nitrate, hesperidin, and Ashwagandha root are all natural compounds found in various foods that can help optimize bodily processes, increase blood flow, reduce oxidative stress, and improve mitochondrial function. Incorporating these compounds into your diet, along with maintaining good sleep patterns and engaging in regular physical activity, can help you maintain high energy levels and perform well throughout the day.

Want to know more about nutrients that help your mitochondrial health? Read about it here!