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Natural Foods That Give You More Energy!



Imagine this scenario. You’re going about your day, when all of a sudden, it hits you—the dreaded energy crash. While many factors can cause sluggishness, from a poor night’s sleep to recovering from a tough workout to skipping breakfast, you may believe that these midday energy zaps are inevitable. Well, actually, you can avoid these dips, and it all comes down to good nutrition.

How to select energy boosting foods

“Food is the best way to provide your body with energy,” says Aimée Plauché, RD, LDN, an advising registered dietician for ICONIC Protein. “It is important to focus on nutrient-dense foods that help to fuel our bodies as well as manage our blood sugar levels, since blood sugar spikes and crashes play a large part in our energy highs and lows.”

She adds that eating properly throughout the day may nix the need for that mid-afternoon caffeine jolt you always reach for, something that may only temporarily mask your lethargy.

Jamie Lee McIntyre, MS, RD, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and nutrition consultant at, agrees with this thinking. She says, “It is easy to reach for caffeine as a stimulant, but keep in mind this is, in a way, faux energy. A stimulant, like caffeine, is a substance that alerts the brain and heightens alertness. However, if your muscles and brain do not have the energy to fuel properly, you’ll still be running at a less than optimal performance compared to a nourished state.”

While a single nutritious food, such as a piece of fruit, can boost your energy, both experts believe that combinations of these foods can lead to energy gains. For example, McIntyre says that for long-lasting energy, you’ll want to combine carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats “to prolong the feeling of satiation and slow down the release of energy into the bloodstream for a more stable effect.” Or it can be as straightforward as creating a balanced plate that incorporates several food groups.

McIntyre says, “Many different foods and food combinations can provide energy for the body. The best options offer up carbohydrates, which serve as the body’s primary source of energy, along with fiber and protein for a gradual release of energy. When eaten in this specific combination, you’ll feel sustained fuel and stamina to power through your day.”

For ideas on combinations to include in your daily diet along with specific foods that are shown to improve energy levels, discover these energizing eats.

Natural foods that give you energy

1. Lean meats

Since Plauché explains that eating adequate protein can help one feel fuller longer, something that can lend itself to more energy, she recommends “good protein sources” that include “lean meats, such as skinless baked chicken or turkey.”

2. Plant-based protein

Perhaps you’re a vegetarian or vegan or you’re simply looking to cut down on your meat consumption. In this case, you’ll be happy to know that plant-based protein can also give you an energy boost.

Plauché says, “Plant-based protein options include meatless burgers or plant-based ‘grounds’ for tacos.”

Related: What Does It Actually Mean to Be a Vegetarian vs a Vegan?

3. Seafood

Another great source of energy-enhancing protein to include in your diet? Seafood, such as grilled shrimp or tuna.

Specifically, McIntyre recommends a combo of tuna on rice cakes. She says, “If you’re looking for a satisfying snack but want convenience, look no further than packed tuna on rice cakes. You’ll get a helpful dose of omega fatty acids, which support brain health and fight fatigue.”

4. Low-fat dairy

Low-fat dairy products, such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, are “fantastic protein choices that contain some carbohydrates,” according to Plauché.

“By supplying the gut microbiota with a source of probiotics, yogurt feeds the immune system,” explains Ruggles. “A well-balanced immune system avoids the energy drain resulting from a dysfunctional immune system.”

“Cottage cheese is high in casein, a milk protein that is more slowly digested compared to other types of proteins,” says Plauché. “Protein helps to keep hunger pangs at bay so our energy levels stay up. Top with berries and a sprinkle of nuts for a balanced and delicious meal or snack that is sure to keep you satiated for hours.

McIntyre also recommends enjoying a yogurt parfait with fruit, granola and seeds. “This combination is best enjoyed chilled, which makes it a satisfying, protein-packed choice on a warm day,” she says.

5. Chia seeds

Studies have found that chia seeds can effectively combat sluggishness. One 2016 study says, “With 20% protein content, chia possesses a massive potential to correct and prevent protein energy malnutrition.”

Also,“Chia seeds have been used to boost energy levels since the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. They provide a balanced mix of fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids,” says Holly Klamer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

All that protein translates to greater energy, something that you can savor as a sweet snack that McIntyre loves—chocolate chia seed pudding made from chia seeds, milk, cocoa powder, and blended dates.

She says, “It may not be instant, but this snack is worth the wait. Unlike many ready-to-eat puddings, this mix packs a punch with fiber, omega fatty acids, protein, and deliciousness helping to support a prolonged sensation of fullness following this dish of decadence.”

Related: Chia Seeds—Just How Super Is This Superfood?

6-9. Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)

Low-sugar fruits, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries can also increase one’s energy and give your brain a boost. “A low sugar source of vital nutrients and antioxidants, berries supply a small amount of sugar to support energy production while avoiding the crash that often follows a high sugar intake,” says Marie Ruggles, RD, and author of Optimize Your Immune System: Create Health and Resilience with a Kitchen Pharmacy and The Whole Foods Quick Start Guide.

“Research suggests blueberries may help to fight against age-related cognitive decline,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD and author of “Belly Fat Diet For Dummies and consultant for Sunsweet Growers. As an added bonus, the high water content in blueberries may boost hydration, providing an extra energy boost.

Blueberries are tasty energy-boosting fruits. “They are a great source of manganese, a mineral that plays an important role in metabolism by helping to break down carbohydrates that our bodies use for energy,” says Naturipe’s Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, Jenn LaVardera. “They are also a good source of copper, which has a critical role in cellular energy production. Plus, berries provide a natural, nutritious source of carbohydrates that the body breaks down to use for energy.”

Raspberries and blackberries are also sources of manganese and copper, and they also provide a source of zinc, a mineral that plays a crucial role in cellular metabolism. “Over 50 enzymes in the body depend on zinc to help with catalyzing vital reactions that keep our bodies running,” says LaVardera.

To create an energy-promoting combo, McIntyre suggests topping your cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with berries.  By combining berries with a source of protein and healthy fat and you’ll get a nutrient-dense, satiating snack. A few other classic ideas are berries paired with nuts, nut butters, yogurt and cheese. This combo of a fiber from berries plus protein and fats can help boost energy.

10. Whole grain bread and wraps

“Carbohydrates are the ultimate energy-providing macro,” Plauché says. “Be sure to swap out simple carbs for complex, fiber-containing carbohydrates throughout the day. Fiber plays a super-star role by helping to keep the blood sugars more stable.”

She says that a couple fiber-rich food choices include 100% whole grain breads and cereals.

McIntyre shares a sweetly satisfying way to enjoy whole grain bread as a snack or even breakfast or lunch—peanut butter and smashed strawberries on whole grain bread. She says, “This sandwich is a portable, shelf-stable option when bringing food with you on-the-go. The peanut butter provides healthy fat and protein, while the bread and berries supply the fiber.”

For whole-grain wraps, remember: Not all wraps are created equal. “White flour options are digested rapidly, which can lead to a spike then crash in energy,” says Palinski-Wade. Although wraps can make a great option for creating a convenient on-the-go meal, choosing one made from 100% whole grain and rich in fiber and protein is key when it comes to boosting energy. “Whole grains are rich in slow digested fiber for a filling food that will sustain energy for hours to come,” she notes.

11. Edamame

Edamame, or soybeans, have been long-praised for their energy-boosting benefits. You can eat them dried or heat up frozen edamame for a snack bursting with protein. One 2018 study explains that edamame has the power to provide energy for basal metabolism, or the rate of energy expenditure when a person is at rest, and prevent malnutrition.

Edamame are rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and low in calories and are energy-boosting in several ways. “Folic acid in the edamame beans works together with the iron to help cope with anemia and fight fatigue,” says Dr. Waqas Mahmood, who practices at Uppen Medicine Hospital-University of Pennsylvania and works as a medical health specialist with the, a digital healthcare platform.

12. Plant-based fats

“Always include small amounts of heart-healthy plant-based fats at each meal for increased satiety,” Plauché states. “Use avocado oil for medium-high temp cooking like roasting or sautéing. Extra virgin olive oil is best used for drizzling or dipping, such as in dressing salads or finishing off roasted vegetables. Try swapping traditional sandwich spreads like mayonnaise with smashed avocado or guacamole for a dose of plant fat and fiber.”

13. Bananas

McIntyre explains that bananas, packed with potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, are perfect if you’re looking to push through a morning workout that requires lots of energy. She views bananas as a “low-fat, easy to digest carbohydrate source that will top off your glycogen stores, also known as ‘muscle fuel.’”

If you’re a sweet tooth, one way to enjoy bananas while simultaneously staving off a sugar spike is to make this treat approved by McIntyre—a frozen banana blended with cocoa powder, peanut butter, and milk. She says, “This combination can mimic the taste and texture of ice cream, but instead of a heavy dose of added sugars, you’ll get vitamins and minerals to support your nutrient needs.”

Heather Hanks, a nutritionist with Instapot Life, also believes bananas are an excellent food for boosting energy, noting: “They’re a good source of fiber to promote digestion and boost immunity.”

14. Brown rice

Brown rice, which differs from white rice because it still has all the parts of the grain, including the bran layer, make it an energy-promoting complex carbohydrate. One 2019 study that compared brown rice and white rice states that brown rice contains greater levels of nutrients, such as protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins. The study also says that the high carbohydrate content of rice makes it “a good source of energy.”

15. Steel cut oats

Steel cut oats are an ideal breakfast if you’d like to pump up your energy for the rest of the day. This slow-burning carb helps support energy levels for several hours. Says Hanks: “It’s also a good source of soluble fiber to slow down blood glucose dumping.”

“Tackle your day with this hearty bowl of porridge,” McIntyre says. “Don’t have the time? Fix it the night before and enjoy it chilled as overnight oats the next morning.”

To give your steel cut oats flavor and include even more energizing foods, McIntyre advises cooking the oats in low-fat milk and topping it with chopped nuts, diced apples, and cinnamon.

Related: Is Oatmeal Healthy? Here’s the Truth About This Classic Breakfast Staple 

16. Pumpkin seeds

It’s no secret that pumpkin seeds are very high in nutrients, like vitamin K and magnesium. These high levels of nutrients can translate to better energy as well. It’s a fact that’s been proven through scientific research, like one 2019 study that confirms that pumpkin seeds contain “a high level of energy and nutrition.” These seeds are also a good source of protein, fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids—these nutrients help in the sustained and steady release of energy, says Dr. Mahmood.

17. Smoothies

Smoothies are a wonderful way to drop in several energizing foods into one tasty, nutritious breakfast or snack. McIntyre especially enjoys making a smoothie using Icelandic style yogurt flavored with vanilla extract and blended with frozen cherries, almonds, and milled flaxseed.

She says, “This high protein and high fiber smoothie will fill you and fuel you through a busy morning, even if your appetite has yet to be awakened at the start of your day. Icelandic style yogurt, also known as skyr, is a high protein yogurt with a smooth flavor that many prefer over Greek style yogurt.”

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18. Beets

“Beets have gained popularity recently due to their ability to improve energy and stamina,” says Kelsey Pezzuti, a registered dietitian and personal trainer. “The naturally occurring nitrites in beets are converted to nitric oxidize, which helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.” Pezzuti notes that this can lead to increased energy, especially during athletic performance.

19. Water

Even though it’s not technically a food, water is one of the most energizing things you can include in your day. In addition to “avoiding foods and beverages concentrated in added sugar,” Plauché says that ensuring proper hydration is “paramount in keeping energy levels stable.”

Pezzuti seconds that, noting, “Water is essential for many cellular functions, including energy production.” Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, making you feel tired and sluggish. Staying hydrated can help fight feelings of fatigue and give you a boost of energy.

Related: Wondering Why You’re Always So Tired? Here Are Some Clues

20. Popcorn

Popcorn can be an excellent low calorie, energizing snack. “This low-calorie, whole grain is packed with fiber and carbohydrates to give you a steady release of energy,” says Pezzuti. Just make sure you don’t add fattening extras, like butter.

21. Dark leafy greens

“These vegetables provide the B vitamins that are needed for energy production, while also including a host of additional vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that help both restore your energy and can even help boost your productivity,” says Freshly’s Director of Nutrition, Dr. Brooke Scheller.

Lauren Minchen, RD, nutrition consultant for Freshbit says: “Spinach is an excellent energy-booster because it contains no sugar but provides excellent fiber, B vitamins and chlorophyll, which is the compound that gives veggies their green color and boost oxygen levels in the blood—all resulting in better energy for your day.”

22. Applesauce

Maybe you haven’t eaten applesauce as a snack since you were in grade school, but perhaps that’s why you had all that energy on the playground!

McIntyre explains why applesauce is energizing, saying, “Since the apple has already been broken down for you, your digestive muscles won’t be competing with your heart, lungs and leg muscles for energy,” something that she says is particularly important during a workout.

No applesauce on hand? Apples themselves are high in fiber and contain more moderate levels of sugar than several other fruits, which provides a balanced release of energy. “Some of my favorite ways to eat apples are topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, which can also help blood sugar levels; paired with a small portion of nuts, like almonds, cashews or walnuts; or a tablespoon of nut or seed butter. I find this not only keeps me satisfied but also focused for longer,” says Dr. Scheller.

23. Sardines

Sardines help to produce the production of acetylcholine which facilitates brain function, memory and energy says Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a board-certified cardiologist and certified nutritionist.

24. Avocado

Another good energy-boosting food is avocado, says Dr. Scheller. “I love to make homemade guacamole using avocado, a splash of lime juice, salt, and pepper and pair it with fresh sliced veggies like peppers and carrots,” he says. Avocados contain both healthy protein and healthy fats. “They are filled with fats that keep you full and satiated. After consuming fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off appetite,” says Addison LaBonte, a certified holistic health coach. In addition, avocados are low in sugar, keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking.  Eating avocado early in the day promotes increased energy and concentration for a productive day ahead.

25. Salads

“One of my favorite ways to combine a number of energizing foods is in a salad,” says Dr. Scheller. He suggests mixed greens, like spinach, add beets and apples, throw in avocado and then top with nuts.

26. Kombucha

Dr. Katina Martin, founder of Vermont Natural Family Health says: “Boost energy naturally with kombucha. Unlike traditional sugary beverages and energy drinks, kombucha provides a natural and healthy energy boost.” Kombucha contains energizing B vitamins and hydrating minerals that can enhance energy, without the adverse side effects of high doses of caffeine.

Related: Is Kombucha Good for You or Just Another Wellness Fad?

27. Cucumber, lettuce and celery

Foods high in water content and low in sugar should be a go-to. “Things like cucumber, lettuce, and celery helps you stay hydrated, which is key to giving you the energy needed to get through the day,” says Dr. Tania Elliott, Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist and Internist.

28. Lemon, grapefruit and orange

If you’re looking for something to quickly boost your energy or provide you with a pre-workout push, look to oranges.

Citrus foods that have a strong aroma, but are low in calories are also great to boost energy. “Lemons, grapefruit, and orange stimulate the olfactory system which can boost mood and energy,” says Dr. Elliott.

McIntyre says, “Oranges will not only give you a good dose of carbohydrates before exercise, but you’ll also get a boost in vitamin C, which can help combat post workout inflammation as well.”

29. Eggs

Protein-filled eggs are a great way to liven up your energy levels. And McIntyre has a particularly delicious way to eat them—an egg and reduced fat cheddar cheese wheat wrap. “No drive-thru needed for this quick dish, which takes minutes to prepare but combines protein and fiber for lasting satiety and energy,” she says.

“A diet high in lean proteins, like eggs, can give you the energy boost you need. Try a healthy omelet for breakfast instead of processed cereals or bars,”  says Lisa Richards, Nutritionist, and creator of The Candida Diet.

30. Non-starchy vegetables

To create balance between high and low-carbohydrate vegetables, and to reduce calories and increase fiber, Plauché suggests eating non-starchy vegetables for energy, filling half your plate with them “in a rainbow of colors.” These can include carrots, mushrooms, eggplant, radishes, and broccoli.

31. Green Beans

“They have lots of iron so it helps make blood cells strong to deliver oxygen where it is needed. This ultimately helps give you energy,” says Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, MD & PhD, and founder of the Center for Healing Neurology.

32. Asparagus

Asparagus can also help give an energy boost, notes Dr. Ruhoy. “It contains inulin which is a prebiotic and supports a healthy gut microbiome, but it also helps neutralize excess ammonia (that often comes from high meat diet) that can make us feel lethargic.”

33. Dates

Dates are one of the instant energy boosters. Reach for dates as a sweetener, says Registered Dietitian Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a consultant Dietitian for Next Luxury. She explains: “Dates are a great natural sweetener that don’t spike blood sugar levels as much as table sugar and honey due to their lower glycemic index. Lower glycemic index foods promote a more slow and steady rise in blood sugar, which means that the energy you get from these foods is more sustained over time compared to high glycemic index foods.”

High in carbohydrates, dates are an excellent source of energy. Says Dr. Mahmood: “Dates have an excellent nutritional profile and are rich in various nutrients such as fiber, protein, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron and vitamin B6 that helps in energy-boosting. Dates also have a high amount of antioxidants in them, which have many health benefits.”

34. Pomegranates

They are great because they are rich in antioxidants, which clear out any free radicals that can slow down cellular processes. “They also have anti-inflammatory benefits—when inflammation is down, energy is up,” says Leeann Rybakov, Functional Medicine Health Coach at Leeann Rybakov Wellness.

35. Prunes

Poor digestion can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. “Focus on eating to support your gut—I recommend adding a glass of 100% prune juice to your morning routine,” says Palinski-Wade.

“With 3 grams of fiber per serving, and five essential vitamins and minerals, this 100% juice helps to support gut health and digestion so you can feel at your best each day,” she says. In addition, eating foods high in fiber may help to stabilize blood sugar levels which can promote steady energy levels all throughout the day.

36. Kiwi fruit

If you aren’t sleeping well, try adding kiwi to your nighttime routine. “Eating two kiwi fruit in the evening was found in one study to improve both quality and quantity of sleep,” says Palinski-Wade. “So try adding them on top of your dinner salad or enjoying them as an evening snack for a better night’s rest, which will give you energy the next day.”

37. Seaweed

Seaweed is high in antibacterial properties, killing off anything that can slow us down. It is also high in magnesium, which allows for muscle relaxation for future better stamina and endurance, says Rybakov.

38. Grass-fed Beef

“Not only is this high in protein, which gives our body energy, but also has omega-3 fats that add an anti-inflammatory component, increasing our functionality and energy,” says Rybakov.

39. Bee Pollen

“Incorporating bee pollen in recipes relieves inflammation, strengthens the immune system and increases blood flow due to the high volume of amino acids and protein in the pollen,” says Allen Campbell, Tom Brady’s former personal chef and author of The Game of Eating Smart, TB12 Method and the TB12 Nutrition Manual.

40. Chlorella

Campbell explains that “this type of algae is often classified as a ‘superfood’ because it is high in protein (70%) and stocked with varying nutrients, such as iron, vitamin C, and fiber—all of which help to detox the body from toxins and regulates blood pressure and boosts immunity.”

41. Maca Root

“This extremely nutritious root is a great source of carbohydrates but is also extremely low in fat. With large amounts of vitamin C, copper, and iron, consuming Maca Root can give you a boost of energy throughout the day,” says Campbell.

42. Flaxseed Oil

“Mitochondria are the little power houses inside your cells,” explains Ruggles. “They need a healthy supply of beneficial fatty acids such as those found in flaxseed oil for optimal functioning.”

43-44. Nuts (walnuts, almonds and seeds)

Nuts and seeds are great energy boosters. “Mitochondria rely on a steady source of magnesium and other minerals found in nuts and seeds, to supply the metabolic machinery that produces energy,” says Ruggles.

Walnuts are a great energy boosting food because they are packed with key vitamins, minerals and good fats like Omega-3’s,” says Dr. Ellie Heintze, a Naturopathic Doctor. Walnuts have been found to boost energy by supporting metabolism and providing antioxidant properties which gives you not only energy but anti-aging benefits.

Almonds “are great energy boosting foods as they are high in unsaturated fat, Omega 3 fatty acid, fibers, vitamin E and protein, which are good for lowering LDL and cholesterol, and helps in lowering the risk for heart disease,” says Swana de Gijsel, MD at the Institute of Culinary Education.

45. Sea Salt

Regular table salt contains two minerals. “Real sea salt can contain over 80 minerals making it a rich source of trace minerals to feed the mitochondria,” says Ruggles. “Well-nourished mitochondria are better equipped to meet your energy needs.”

46. Chickpea pasta

Plauché says that easy to prepare carbohydrate choices “include pasta and rice made from legumes like chickpeas.” She adds that these foods “are a terrific-twofer because they contain an abundance of complex carbs plus protein.”

47. Beans and Peas

These foods are a powerhouse of nutrients. “They are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates that provide a sustained energy release avoiding sudden spikes and drops in our blood sugar levels,” says Sapna Punjabi-Gupta, MS, RDN, LD, a Culinary Wellness Specialist, Ayurvedic Practitioner and founder of beSPICED. “From an ayurvedic perspective, they provide an astringent taste to our meals that are often lacking in a western diet that is usually high in sweet, sour, and salty tastes.” A bowl of dal or lentil soup provides and sustains energy, is sustainable for the environment, and super versatile.

48. Bone Broth

“While people often think they’ll get an energy boost from a particular nutrient, it’s more about blood sugar balance and being better able to utilize the nutrients you’re getting from food, Sam Presicci, MCN, RD, LD, CPT, Whole30 Certified Coach. “With ample protein, minimal carbs, and nutrients like glutamine, gelatin, and glycine, bone broth is great for blood sugar regulation and healing your gut for improved nutrient absorption.”

49. Mushrooms

“High in vitamin B’s, vitamin D and probiotics, mushrooms support energy production, adrenal function, and healthy gut microbiota, which is closely linked to energy regulation,” says nutritionist and holistic chef Rachael Gorjestani founder of Goldmine. Add mushrooms to soups or vegetable stir-fries.

50. Adaptogens

“Adaptogens are a group of herbs and mushrooms that help the body cope with stress, improving mental clarity, energy levels, and endurance, both physical and mental,” says Gorjestani. “Adaptogens are a great way to ensure you’re energized and focused for your day.”

51. Sweet Potatoes/Yams

“Sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber—meaning that they are digested more slowly, giving you a steady stream of energy,” says Kylie Morse, Registered Dietician. Be sure to eat them with the skins on for added fiber and micronutrients.

52. Peppers

Peppers contain a natural substance called dihydrocapsiate (DCT). “DCT can significantly increase one’s energy expenditure, and on top of that, DCT can significantly increase fat oxidation by pushing the body to use more fat as fuel,” says Mindbody Nutrition Specialist McKenzie Hathaway. “Since sweet peppers and hot peppers are filled with DCT, they make a perfect energy food.”

53. Hummus

Hummus, which contains chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, garlic and spices, is high in protein and fibers which will help keep your energy up. Says Gijsel: “As a dip with raw vegetables or whole wheat crackers, it fits right into the Mediterranean diet known to reduce risk factors for coronary and vascular disease.”

Related: Is Hummus Actually Good for You?

54, Coconut Water

The hype behind coconut water is real, and with good reason. “Filled with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron and calcium, coconut water is mother nature‘s natural energy drink. When the electrolytes that are within pure coconut water enter the bloodstream it’s an immediate hydration boost to the body’s cells, giving abundant energy,” says Hathaway.

55. Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in fiber, vitamin C, iron, B vitamin and chlorophyll, all of which synergistically fight inflammation and boost energy in the body, says Minchen.

56. Lentils

Lentils are a whole food carbohydrate that provide fiber, iron, and plant-based protein to provide energy-boosting amino acids, keep blood sugar stable, and provide consistent fuel and energy, notes Minchen.

57. Green tea

“Green tea provides a potent combination of gentle caffeine, B vitamins, vitamin C and antioxidants, particularly EGCG. B vitamins and vitamin C are essential for controlling inflammation, supporting brain health, and boosting energy in our cells. EGCG is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce damaging inflammation in the body. And a little gentle caffeine is a great energy booster—green tea contains about half of that of coffee,” says Minchen.

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58. Dark chocolate and pure cacao

Besides dark chocolate being a great treat, it also provides some iron, magnesium and antioxidants, which support healthy blood flow and boost energy. The small amount of caffeine also can provide a boost, notes Minchen.

According to Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn, authors of Tone It Up: Balanced and Beautiful 5-Day Reset for Your Body, Mind, and Spirit, pure unsweetened cacao is full of energizing antioxidants and can improve your circulation and lower your blood pressure. The authors love smoothie bowls made with chocolate Tone It Up Protein and sprinkled with cacao nibs.

Next up, find out if you should drink a gallon of water every day.


  • Aimée Plauché, RD, LDN, a registered dietician and advisor for ICONIC Protein.
  • Jamie Lee McIntyre, MS, RD, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and nutrition consultant at
  • Kelsey Pezzuti, registered dietitian and personal trainer
  • Jenn LaVardera, RD and nutritionist with Naturipe
  • Dr. Brooke Scheller, Director of Nutrition at Freshly
  • Addison LaBonte, certified holistic health coach
  • Dr. Waqas Mahmood, Uppen Medicine Hospital-University of Pennsylvania and medical health specialist with
  • Heather Hanks, nutritionist with Instapot Life
  • Holly Klamer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
  • Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet
  • Dr. Katina Martin, founder of Vermont Natural Family Health
  • Dr. Stephen Sinatra, board-certified cardiologist and certified nutritionist.
  • Dr. Tania Elliott, Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist and Internist
  • Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, MD & PhD, and founder of the Center for Healing Neurology
  • Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, consultant Dietitian for Next Luxury
  • Lauren Minchen, RD, nutrition consultant for Freshbit
  • Leeann Rybakov, Functional Medicine Health Coach at Leeann Rybakov Wellness
  • Erin Palinski-Wade, RD and author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies and consultant for Sunsweet Growers
  • Allen Campbell, author of The Game of Eating Smart, TB12 Method and the TB12 Nutrition Manual and Tom Brady’s former personal chef
  • Marie Ruggles, RD, author of Optimize Your Immune System and The Whole Foods Quick Start Guide
  • Sapna Punjabi-Gupta, MS, RDN, LD, Culinary Wellness Specialist, Ayurvedic Practitioner and founder of beSPICED
  • Sam Presicci, MCN, RD, LD, CPT, Whole30 Certified Coach
  • Rachael Gorjestani, nutritionist and holistic chef, founder of Goldmine
  • Kylie Morse, Registered Dietician
  • Swana de Gijsel, MD at the Institute of Culinary Education
  • McKenzie Hathaway, mindbody nutrition specialist
  • Journal of Food Science and Technology: “Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review”
  • IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science: “Utilization of edamame soybean (glycine max (l) merril) as modified of enteral formula high calories
  • Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety: “Brown Rice Versus White Rice: Nutritional Quality, Potential Health Benefits, Development of Food Products, and Preservation Technologies”
  • Heliyon: “Comparative study on nutrient contents in the different parts of indigenous and hybrid varieties of pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima Linn.)

With additional reporting by Judy Koutsky. 

Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

These Popped Sorghum Snacks Will Satisfy Your Crunchy Cravings



In the category of crispy snacks, popcorn has the edge over its chip and cracker competition: with a few spices, it can take on any taste profile, makes your entire kitchen smell of melted butter and can be eaten in large portions, without your stomach feeling like it has exceeded its maximum capacity. Still, munching has a big trap: it leaves sharp pits in your gums and teeth, forcing you to floss a few minutes after each snack.

The equally delicious solution to the dental problem: Swap your popcorn for popped sorghum. The age-old whole grain has a barely visible shell that won’t slip between your teeth when chewed, and it offers the same light and fluffy, but extremely crunchy texture as the OG pop snack. And despite its tiny size (seriously, the grain is about 3 millimeters in diameter), sorghum is full of nutrients; half a cup of the unroasted, naturally gluten-free grain contains 6.5 grams of fiber, 51 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for magnesium (a mineral that regulates muscle and nerve function) and 85 percent of the recommended daily allowance for manganese (a mineral that helps Energy and protect your cells from damage), according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

How to Pop Sorghum

To gather these nutrients and satisfy your cravings for a crispy nibble, you have several options. If you’d rather cook your popped sorghum from scratch, simply pour grains of sorghum (Buy It, $ 13, into a hot stainless steel saucepan, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over medium heat under constant pressure Shake the pot. As soon as you hear about two-thirds of the grains popping (you should listen carefully), take the stove off the stove, pour out the cracked grains, and repeat the process with the uncooked ones until they are all cracked and ready to eat. After Bob’s Red Mill. (Related: The Puffed and Popped Food Trend Is A Healthier Way To Eat Snacks)

The story goes on

Try pre-made sorghum snacks

However, for a chaotic and stress-free snacking experience, stock up on one (or all) of these popped-up sorghum snacks. Whether you prefer salty or sweet, bite-sized or in chip form, there is a nibble that will satisfy your stomach and taste buds.

Poplettes Poplette Sorghum Snacks

When you have a firm belief that smartfood is the GOAT in the popcorn department, turn to Poplettes. The brand’s white cheddar sorghum snack has the same flavor as the OG munchie, but each bite is roughly one-sixth the size (sweet!). Those with more adventurous palettes will enjoy the Bollywood Masala variety, which contains bold spices like dried mango powder, red chilli powder, and ground turmeric, or the Mediterranean Magic variety, made with sumac, toasted sesame seeds, thyme, and garlic powder.

Poplettes Poplette Sorghum Snacks

Ka-Pop! Pounded chips

These popped sorghum munchies are made for snackers who are allergic to virtually anything under the sun. With sorghum flour and puffed sorghum kernels, Ka-Pop! Popped Chips are vegan certified and free from GMOs, gluten and the 12 most common allergens. And while they look slightly like a styrofoam-like rice cake, reviewers say the chips – which come in five flavors including non-dairy cheddar, salt and vinegar, and red and green sriracha – are far from boring. “[They] taste a million times better than all popcorn snacks or rice cake snacks I’ve ever eaten, “wrote one buyer. (ICYMI, pasta chips are one thing – that’s how you make them.)

Ka-Pop!  Pounded chips

Ka-Pop! Pounded chips

Chasin ‘Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

If you need a sweet treat at 2pm, grab a bag of these cracked sorghum snacks from Chasin ‘Dreams Farm. Founded by women, run by women, the brand offers three types of popped sorghum, including a kettle corn flavor that perfects the balance between salty and sweetness, a cinnamon flavor that is reminiscent of cinnamon buns, and a cocoa flavor that tastes of grains that have actually been in dipped in hot chocolate. But these nibbles are not just for eating; The company recommends sprinkling a few pieces on a scoop of ice cream, mixing them in trail mix or granola, or using them as an edible cake topper. There are no wrong answers here.

Chasin 'Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

Chasin ‘Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum

Made exclusively from organic sorghum, avocado oil and sea salt, Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum snacks are as simple as possible. The nibbles are free from the 12 most common allergens, GMOs, preservatives, additives and natural flavors. Despite the short and sweet list of ingredients, reviewers are clearly obsessed with calling it “a dream come true”. “I literally can’t get enough of this stuff,” said one shopper. “This is the best thing since sliced ​​bread, no kidding. I probably eat at least one bag a week.”

Nature Nate's Popped Sorghum

Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

With flavors like cheddar, cauldron cooked, and salt and pepper, this popped sorghum could easily be mistaken for the popcorn you’d find in giant snack tins during the holidays. Aside from the simple variety (with one ingredient: sorghum), the snack packs are made from three to five ingredients, including a base of sorghum and sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil. To make sure you get only the largest chunks of the tiny grain, the company sifts its pops three times, not once or twice. By filtering out crumb-sized pieces that are difficult to eat, your snacking experience will certainly require less cleaning. (Related: 11 Natural Snacks You Will Want To Stock Up On)

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

These popped sorghum slices are coated with a sweet-hot-hot-smoky spice mixture and a dead ring for potato chips with BBQ flavor – only they are air-popped instead of deep-fried and are also made with quinoa, chia seeds and. made brown rice. The snack is project-verified, gluten-free, vegan-certified and, according to reviewers, “light as pop-chips, but has the crispness of Stacy”.[‘s] Pita Chips. “Eat them as is or dip them in your favorite dip to balance the heat.

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

10 Foods That Weaken Your Immune System



We often hear about foods that can boost our immune systems, but did you know that there are dietary choices that can actually weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection? Studies show that highly processed foods and those full of empty calories with no nutrients can be harmful to your health.

Our immune systems exist to protect us from bacteria and other microbes like viruses and parasites, and with a healthy diet you have a better chance of thwarting these diseases and pathogens. A balanced diet contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals in addition to the calories we need to survive.

So we know what helps us, but what hurts us?

1. Sugary foods


When we think of sugary foods, we think of baked goods, candy, chocolate, and other processed sweets. But dried or canned fruits or juices also contain a lot of added sugar, which can upset your system. The microbiome that lives in our gut keeps harmful bacteria at bay, but the glucose and fructose in sweetened foods feed these unhealthy microbes and make it difficult to fight infections. In addition, sugar creates a craving for more sugar as the yeast and other sugar-loving microbes in your body get used to the added sugar in your body.

Additionally, adding too much sugar to your diet can raise your blood sugar, which increases inflammatory proteins – especially in diabetics, whose blood sugar stays high for longer. High sugar levels could also inhibit immune cells that protect the body from infection.

People on a high-sugar diet can also be more prone to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Salty foods

The food tastes much better with salt. It brings out the natural taste and spices up boring dishes. But it’s bad for you It can stop the normal functioning of immune functions, alter your gut bacteria, and increase your risk of autoimmune diseases. Preliminary research shows that the rate of autoimmune diseases of the western world. It can also make existing autoimmune diseases like colitis, Crohn’s disease, and lupus worse. A small study from 2016 showed that men on a high-salt diet had higher levels of monocytes and inflammatory markers, indicating an excessive immune response.

3. Processed meat

It’s time to give up hot dogs and sausages – eating no processed meat is no longer just for pregnant women. This meat has been linked to several diseases, including colon cancer.

This meat is high in saturated fat and has been shown to contribute to immune system dysfunction and inflammation in some people.

The meat also has advanced glycation end products, which are harmful compounds that form when fat and protein mix with sugar in the blood. Most AGEs come from the food we eat and when we have too much of them we cannot regulate them and they cause oxidative stress and inflammation. Fried bacon, hot dogs, fried chicken legs, and steak are high in AGE.

4. Fast food

Burger and fries


Everyone knows that fast food is not good for you, but sometimes the convenience and deliciousness outweigh these facts. However, fast food is not only bad for your weight, it can also damage your immune system. It’s bad for your gut biome and can increase inflammation. Not only does it contain much of the salt we just talked about, it also contains chemicals, sometimes from plastic or styrofoam packaging, that disrupt human hormone production, weaken immune responses, and even cause dysfunction.

5. Food with additives

The more processed a food is, the more additives it contains – to improve texture, taste, preservation, and the like. These additives, especially emulsifiers and carrageenan, can cause dysregulation of the immune system by changing intestinal bacteria and increasing inflammation. Studies have linked these additives to immune dysfunction in rodents. Which foods are heavily processed? In addition to meat and bacon for lunch, canned soups, canned vegetables, frozen meals, snacks and everything else with a long shelf life.

6. Certain fatty foods

Onion rings on plate

Michael Rheault / Moment / Getty Images

There are some fats that are good for us, but saturated fats are bad for the immune system. They can activate inflammatory pathways that inhibit the immune response and they suppress the function of white blood cells, which can increase the risk of infection. Studies in rodents have shown that a high-fat diet can even damage the lining of the intestines, increasing the susceptibility to disease.

The western diet usually contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids and far fewer omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-6 fats have been shown to promote inflammatory proteins that weaken our immune system. Studies also show that omega-6 fats may increase your risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis.

7. Artificially sweetened foods

It’s not just sugar that can damage your immune system. The sweeteners we use when trying to avoid sugar can be just as harmful, if not more. They are linked to altered gut bacteria, more inflammation, and a slower immune response. Sucralose and saccharin, in particular, can cause an imbalance in the intestinal biome. It could even fuel the progression of autoimmune diseases.

8. Fried food

Fried foods compete with fast foods and processed meats for AGE levels. Remember, these end products increase the risk of cell damage and inflammation. They also deprive your body of antioxidant mechanisms, disrupt intestinal bacteria and lead to cell dysfunction. All of this could lead to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and even malaria. As much as we’d like to sit back and enjoy fried delicacies, forego french fries, potato chips, fried chicken, bacon, and fish and chips for a healthier response to germ control.

9. Caffeine and alcohol

Beer on a table on a terrace


Caffeine by itself is not bad for your immune system, but lack of sleep does, and consuming caffeine just before bed can wake you up in the early hours of the morning. We’re not just talking about coffee. Certain teas, chocolate, even protein bars can contain the stuff.

Alcohol suppresses the immune response by reducing the number of cells that fight infection. This makes you more prone to sepsis, poor wound health, pneumonia, and pneumonia.

If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a night for best results. Consider replacing the drinks with fruit-infused water or teas (without caffeine).

10. Refined carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are bad for you; they give you a long-term energy boost, especially the whole grains. But refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bleached flour, and of course sugar can cause an imbalance in gut bacteria that weakens your immune system. They are also highly glycemic foods that raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause free radicals and inflammatory proteins to migrate around the body.

Bring away

It’s not just diet that affects our immune system. Other factors include age (the older we are, the less efficient our organs become at producing immune cells), the environment (if you are a smoker or live in an area with increased air pollution), weight (heavier people have more problems with chronic inflammation, stressing the immune system), chronic physical or mental illnesses such as autoimmune diseases or prolonged stress and lack of sleep.

For real immune health, we must lead balanced lives with careful choices about diet, exercise, and self-care.

Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer and professor at the University of Florida with degrees in communications and ecology.

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Ugly Side Effects of the American Diet, Say Dietitians



You may not know the term, but you probably know the concept of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Imagine all of the typical “American” foods and put them all together – burgers, french fries, pizza, soda, sugary cereals, packaged and processed foods, ice cream, the list goes on. While occasional consumption of these types of foods is fine for an overall healthy, balanced diet, regular consumption can have some ugly side effects on your body’s health.

According to a report entitled “Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols” The Standard American Diet includes a diet high in calories, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. It includes a very low intake of essential nutrients for the body such as fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

The main benefit of the Standard American Diet is that it lacks fruits and vegetables, which are the best way to include a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

“A 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute found that nearly the entire US population was eating a diet that was not as recommended,” said Theresa Gentile, MS, RDN, CDN, owner of Full Plate Nutrition. Gentile also points out from the American Cancer Society that about 18% of cancer cases are due to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Developing a serious chronic illness like cancer isn’t the only ugly side effect of consuming the Standard American Diet regularly, which is why it is considered the No. 1 worst diet for Americans.


“The SAD is the quintessentially American diet that emphasizes red meat, processed foods, refined grains, sugary foods including sodas, with low consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, beans, and legumes,” said Lisa R. Young, PhD , RDN, author of Endlich Full, Endlich Slim and a member of our panel of medical experts. “It’s low in fiber, antioxidants, and high in calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt.”

Because of the types of foods included (or absent) from the SAD, weight gain can easily become a side effect of consuming such foods on a regular basis.

“It contributed to the high rates of obesity and overweight in the United States (nearly 75% of the population are overweight or obese),” says Young. “It has also led to chronic diet-related diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.”

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“Most Americans don’t get enough fiber, which is needed for healthy digestion,” says Jinan Banna, PhD, RD. “The SAD is low in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other such foods. This is just one of the digestive problems that can arise.”

The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume between 25 and 38 grams of fiber per day, but reports show that Americans only consume an average of 10 to 15 grams per day. A lack of fiber can cause problems with the digestive tract as well as the colon.

“Fiber is essential for heart health as soluble fiber (found in oatmeal and foods made from oatmeal, almonds and seeds, fruits you eat the skin in, etc.) is MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member our medical expert panel. “Fiber also plays a role as a prebiotic for gut health by nourishing the good gut bacteria and helping push things through your system to improve regularity.”

Here are the dangerous signs that you are not eating enough fiber.

Burger and friesShutterstock

The types of foods typically consumed in the SAD are foods linked to chronic inflammation which, according to Balance One Supplements’ Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, can have devastating effects on physical, mental, and emotional health .

“Low-level chronic inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body, which leads to many of the chronic diseases common in Western nations,” Best says.Foods known to be flammable include gluten, refined carbohydrates, and sugars, and in general all processed foods from refined or fortified sources – all of which are the basis of SAD. form. “

“These foods are flammable because the body has a hard time breaking them down through natural meals like enzymes and good gut bacteria,” continues Best. “This leads to an inflammatory response in the body’s immune system, which is usually a natural and deliberate response, but in some cases an overreaction to otherwise harmless foods.”

Best points out that inflammation can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Cheese friesShutterstock

“With popular foods like hamburgers, deli, and fried foods, the Standard American Diet contains excessive amounts of saturated fat and sodium,” said Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “This can be problematic as too much saturated fat has been found to increase blood cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Too much sodium can also be a problem as it is linked to high blood pressure, which is another risk factor for the heart is. ” Illness.”

Burgess recommends looking for ways to reduce the saturated fat and sodium in your diet with small swaps. Focusing on healthy sources of fat like fish, avocados, and nuts can promote heart health, and buying low-sodium items from the grocery store (soups, sauces, unprocessed meat, to name a few).


While chronic inflammation and too much saturated fat or sodium play a big role in causing chronic illness, simply overdosing on calories can also put you at increased risk.

Shannon Henry, RD of the EZCare Clinic points out four different diseases that can develop from a high calorie diet – either from eating high calorie foods or simply from consuming too many foods or beverages in general. These include Type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease, and kidney and gallbladder defects.

“Above all, our passion for fast food is sad,” says Henry. “For example, although the federal government recommends consuming at least two to five cups of fruits and vegetables a day, surveys show that the average American only eats three servings a day, and 42% say we eat less than two servings.”

French friesShutterstock

Many Americans suffer from the concept of overfed calories but undernourished of valuable and essential nutrients“says Amy Goodson.” The calories they consume are mostly from saturated fat and added sugars, while they consume very little fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and more. “

These types of foods are high in vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body’s health and usually add the “color” to your meals.

The typical American diet often lacks colorful fruits, vegetables and other whole foods“Says Burgess. “This means that most Americans miss out on the myriad benefits of fruits and vegetables, such as their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. In addition, a diet with few colored fruits and vegetables can contain insufficient amounts of important nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C. “

Burgess recommends finding simple ways to add fruits and vegetables to your meals, such as: B. Berries with yoghurt, peppers with pasta or leafy vegetables in your lunch wraps. Plus, these 15 best frozen fruits and vegetables are easy to use.

Club sandwichShutterstock

“Following SAD can lead to poor bone health, as these foods are typically low in bone building nutrients like calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN.

“In addition, a diet low in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables can influence the metabolism and digestion,” continues Schlichter. “Foods high in fiber can help improve gut health and digestion, while the use of highly processed foods reduces the diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiome, which also affects mood and overall health.”


Changing your gut microbiome isn’t the only reason your energy levels feel depleted after SAD.

“Coast-to-coast Americans skip meals, eat large amounts of carbohydrates with little quality protein, stock up on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and these habits can prepare you for spikes and drops in blood sugar,” says Goodson.

Because of this type of diet, Goodson advises that your blood sugar levels will go up and down like a “roller coaster” throughout the day, which can negatively affect your energy levels.

“The way to fight this is to have balanced meals with high fiber carbohydrates and proteins every few hours,” she says.

Buddha bowlsShutterstock

“The ACS recommends at least 2 1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit daily for cancer prevention, and the USDA recommends 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day,” says Gentile. “This goal can easily be achieved by adding fruit or vegetables to every meal and including more vegetable-based meals in your rotation, which can lower your risk of cancer.”

For even more healthy eating tips, read these next:

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