Add these foods to your daily diet to boost energy and feel vibrant!

Acetyl L carnitineAshwagandhaB complexMagnesiumVitamin B12Vitamin CIronEnergy

Add these foods to your daily diet to boost energy and feel vibrant!

Food provides us with the nourishment necessary for us to function in our day-to-day life. It’s only through energy-packed wholefoods that we have the physical and mental fuel to take on the challenges of each day.

A balanced diet is what supports basic metabolic processes (11), so it’s imperative that we become more conscious of what we consume each day. Metabolic processes are what makes food usable for our bodies; they convert the foods we eat into energy and into proteins to make us stronger and more energised. They also eliminate waste from our bodies so that we only store what’s needed to keep us well and healthy.

The key to fending off low energy, or fatigue and tiredness, is focusing on eating healthy foods for energy. While it's ideal to get all our nutritional needs met by a balanced diet, this isn’t the reality for most adults. Energy supplements can help boost energy by ensuring you consume the right nutrients sufficiently.

The five food groups

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating identifies five food groups that your body needs to function: dairy and alternatives, fruit, grain foods, meat and fish, and vegetables and legumes (18). Eating foods from these five different groups every day can ensure that the body remains healthy.

Meat and fish

Eating meat is a good way to boost your energy levels because they contain generous amounts of iron, a key mineral that our body needs to support energy production. The redder the meat, the higher the iron content (19). Excellent sources of iron include beef, lamb, and veal (19).

Healthy foods for energy

Iron plays a part in physiological processes such as metabolism and oxygen transport (1). Without enough traces of it in our body, we would have trouble getting the most out of what we eat. Consumed food would just pass through our digestive tract and our bodies wouldn’t be able to extract, and then use its energy-boosting nutrients.

In addition to this, incorporating iron-rich foods in your diet can maintain and support energy levels. Iron stimulates energy production through heme enzymes, iron-containing compounds that contribute to cellular energy production (2).

However, many individuals may have dietary or lifestyle restrictions that prohibit the consumption of red meat, so other non-meat sources of iron can be eaten as alternatives. Healthy foods for energy such as nuts, legumes, dark leafy greens, pasta and bread are popular options (14).

One alternative to meat is fish, and other seafood. While fish are a good source of iron, they also hold powerful energy-boosting properties. Fish is rich in acetyl L-carnitine which plays an important role in energy production by transporting long-chain fatty acids into our cells’ powerhouse, the mitochondria (9). With an under-fed mitochondria, our cells wouldn’t have the fuel they need to fulfill their purposes, a result of which could be us feeling tied, lethargic, and generally unable to get through the day.

Acetyl L-carnitine is also abundant in poultry and dairy products.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, iron and acetyl L-carnitine can also be taken through supplements.

*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.

Vegetables and legumes

While there are plenty of vegetables that provide a great variety of vitamins and nutrients, it is helpful to especially consume leafy green vegetables to boost your energy levels.

Healthy foods for energy

Leafy vegetables support energy production in our body by providing us with magnesium. The body does not produce magnesium naturally, yet it remains to be a key factor in supporting energy production.

Besides leafy, fibrous veggies for magnesium, you can take legumes, nuts, and dairy products (15).

Magnesium supports energy levels. A magnesium deficiency could result in low energy, as our bodies are unable to absorb nourishment from food. Problems with nutrient absorption means our bodies have nothing to convert into energy, so even though we might be eating large quantities of food, we might still feel under-energised if what we eat lacks magnesium (5).

Grains

Whole grain foods are readily available, easy to prepare, have relatively long shelf lives, and can be prepared in a variety of tasty ways.

Whole grains also boost energy as a great source of several B vitamins that make up vitamin B complex.

Healthy foods for energy

B vitamins are found in other sources as well, including fish and other seafood, dairy products (including yogurt), plus a whole manner of veggies and fruits perfect for vegetarians and vegans.

Together, B vitamins that we get from healthy foods for energy can support energy production by releasing energy from fat and carbohydrates, breaking down amino acids, making sure our body gets enough oxygen and energy-containing nutrient, and aiding in the catabolic process of generating energy within our cells (7, 8).

Fruits

Fruits are a great addition to your table for the many vitamins and nutrients they provide. But to get that energy boost, you can try citrus fruits.

Citrus fruits, many of which are found in Australia and include oranges and mandarins, as well as lemons, limes, and grapefruit, are great for maintaining and supporting energy levels (16). They’re excellent sources of vitamin C, a vitamin crucial in keeping us energised.

Healthy foods for energy

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water soluble vitamin that is needed in beta-oxidation—the cellular process where fatty acids are broken down and turned into energy (11). It’s also a potent antioxidant, which means it guards against the effects of energy-depleting factors like stress, illness, fatigue, and even mental tiredness (10).

Veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and tomatoes also contain Vitamin C (12). Vitamin C supplements are also available in the market should you be unable to consume it through fruit or other natural sources.

Dairy products

Milk and dairy products play an important role in providing our bodies with enough of the vitamin B-12 (20). Cow’s milk specifically is a good source of vitamin B-12 (21).

Healthy foods for energy

Vitamin B-12 maintains energy levels and production by converting carbohydrates into glucose, an energy source the body is dependent on (13).

Dishes with seafood like clams, mussels, crab, and salmon, are also packed with vitamin B-12 (17).

Herbal tea

While not a food group per se, herbs and teas may also count as healthy foods for energy.

Among these is ashwagandha, a medicinal herb found in India, Africa, and parts of the Middle East. It’s been used in traditional healing practices for centuries, with modern research finding that it is one of many healthy foods for improved physical endurance.

Healthy foods for energy

Ashwagandha not only supports stamina, but it also maintains muscle strength. In addition, ashwagandha helps support healthy stress responses in the body and enhances the body’s adaptation to stress, which can reduce fatigue throughout the day.

The herb is frequently taken as an herbal tea, but in Australia, ashwagandha energy supplements have increased in popularity due to their convenience.

Foods should be the priority when it comes to beefing up bodily energy. If for any reason adjusting your diet proves to be too difficult, you may want to consider a vitamin subscription such as that provided by Vitable Australia. Vitable offers custom supplements and personalised vitamin packs that can provide your body the right support it needs, including for energy production. We also offer vitamin delivery right to your doorstep!

Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:

Iron | Ashwagandha | Magnesium | B complex | Acetyl L-carnitine | Vitamin C | Vitamin B12

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

  1. Abbaspour, N., Hurrell, R., Kelishadi, R. “Review on iron and its importance for human health”. National LIbrary of Medicine: PubMed.Org. Published February 2014 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999603/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  2. Linus Pauling Institute Content Team. “Iron”. Linus Pauling Institute-Micronutrient Information Center: Lpi.OregonState.Edu. Published May 2016 on https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iron#electron-transport-energy-metabolism. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  3. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. “An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published July 3, 2011 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  4. Cleveland Clinic Content Team. “What is Ashwagandha?” Cleveland Clinic: ClevelandClinic.Org. Published May 2021 on https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-ashwagandha/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  5. Zhang, Y., et al. “settings Open AccessReview Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance?” Nutrients. Published August 19, 2017 on https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/9/946/htm. Accessed September 16, 2021
  6. Jahnen-Dechent, W., & Ketteler, M. (2012). “Magnesium basics.” Clinical Kidney Journal. Published  February 1, 2012 on https://doi.org/10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  7. Harvard School of Public Health Content Team. “B Vitamins”. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Hsph.Harvard.Edu. Published September 18, 2012 on https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins/vitamin-b/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  8. Kennedy, D. “B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published January 28, 2016 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  9. National Institutes of Health Content Team. “Carnitine”. National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published March 29, 2021 on https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  10. Linus Pauling Institute Content Team. “Vitamin C”. Linus Pauling Institute-Micronutrient Information Center: Lpi.OregonState.Edu. Published May 2016 on https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  11. Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., & Scholey, A. “Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence.” National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published January 12, 2021 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019700/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  12. Drouin, G., Godin, J. R., & Page, B. “The Genetics of Vitamin C Loss in Vertebrates”. National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published August 12, 2011 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145266/. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  13. Mount Sinai Health System Content Team. “Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)”. Mount Sinai Health System: MountSinai.Org. Published on https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-b12-cobalamin. Accessed September 12, 2021.
  14. Health Direct Content Team. “Foods high in iron”. Health Direct: HealthDirect.Gov.Au. Last reviewed January 2021 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-iron. Accessed September 15, 2021.
  15. Health Direct Content Team. “Foods high in magnesium”. Health Direct: HealthDirect.Gov.Au. Last reviewed March 2021 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-magnesium. Accessed September 15, 2021.
  16. Health Direct Content Team. “Vitamin C”. Health Direct: HealthDirect.Gov.Au. Last reviewed March 2020 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/vitamin-c. Accessed September 15, 2021.
  17. Health Direct Content Team. “Foods high in vitamin B12”. Health Direct: HealthDirect.Gov.Au. Last reviewed December 2020 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-vitamin-b12. Accessed September 15, 2021.
  18. Healthy Kids Association. "5 Food Groups". Healthy Kids Association. Published (n.d.) on https://healthy-kids.com.au/food-nutrition/5-food-groups/. Accessed September 16, 2021.
  19. Health Direct Content Team. “Foods high in iron”. Health Direct: HealthDirect.Gov.Au. Last reviewed January 2021 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-iron. Accessed September 16, 2021.
  20. Gille, D., Schmid, A., "Vitamin B12 in meat and dairy products". National Library of Medicine: PubMed.Org. Published February 2015 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26024497/. Accessed September 16, 2021.
  21. Matte, J., Guay, F., Girard, C., " Bioavailability of vitamin B₁₂ in cows' milk". LIbrary of Medicine: PubMed.Org. Published June 2011 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21733330/. Accessed September 16, 2021.