Eating certain foods can help to wake you up by boosting your energy levels and alertness. Whole grains like oats and brown rice provide complex carbohydrates, which are a sustained energy source. Fruits like bananas and berries offer natural sugars and fiber for an immediate and prolonged energy boost.
Lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, and eggs, fuel your energy and prevent hunger. Nuts and seeds like almonds and chia seeds offer healthy fats and protein for sustained energy. With its caffeine and L-theanine, green tea can enhance brain function, while dark chocolate contains stimulants and antioxidants for a quick pick-me-up.
Always balance these foods with a healthy diet to maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day. Moreover, invest in quality sleep time to wake the next day well-rested.
In the following section, we will look deeper at all the foods that fight fatigue and boost your energy levels when you wake up. Moreover, we will answer your questions about foods that will wake you up.
The Science Behind Food and Energy
Food as Fuel: The Energy Connection
In our pursuit of a full night's rest and a vitality-filled day, we often overlook food's significant role in our energy levels. In essence, the food we consume is our body's fuel.
The nutritional value of what we eat profoundly impacts our energy state, much like the quality of gasoline affects a car's performance. The best energy-boosting foods have a high nutritional value and offer specific health benefits that aid in boosting energy levels.
The Process of Converting Food into Energy
Our bodies are complex machines exceptionally skilled at converting food into energy. When we consume food, our bodies break it into simpler molecules during digestion, absorbing them into the bloodstream. Then, they are transported to our cells to undergo metabolic processes to produce energy.
Key Nutrients in Energy Production
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the primary macro-nutrients that our bodies use for energy. Carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and fruits, are the body's preferred source. They are broken down into glucose, used immediately for energy, or stored in the muscles and liver for later use.
The Role of Protein and Fats in Energy
Proteins, found in foods like lean meats and almond butter, are essential for repairing and building tissues, but they can also provide energy if carbohydrate stores are low. Fats, especially slow-burning unsaturated fats like those in avocados and nuts, generally contribute to energy production over an extended period.
The Health Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals in Energy Production
Furthermore, the health benefits of vitamins and minerals should not be underestimated. These micronutrients do not directly provide energy but play a vital role in energy production. For example, B vitamins assist in converting food into energy, while iron helps transport oxygen, a necessary element for energy production, to our cells.
The Nutritional Advantages of Energy-Boosting Foods
The nutritional advantages of energy-boosting foods extend beyond just providing fuel. Foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats are an energy powerhouse, keeping us satiated and thus helping us avoid energy crashes that can occur after consuming foods high in sugar.
Interesting Read: See the nutritional value of Lion's mane mushroom.
11 Energy-Boosting Foods That Wake You Up When You're Tired
1. Small But Mighty Chia Seeds
One of the most nutritious foods, Chia seeds are a sneaky meal that helps you feel energized and satisfied after breakfast. Toss them on your French toast, oatmeal, smoothie, protein shake, or other food. Since they lack taste, they complement all breakfast-related foods.
Chia seeds(1) absorb liquids and, after being digested, can swell up to ten times their original size in the stomach. You will feel satisfied for a more extended time as a result. In addition, they are a great source of fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Chia seeds are low in carbs, making them ideal for everyone, including those with diabetes or those working on weight loss. The seeds will not raise your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes and won't put unnecessary calories in your body if you are working on weight loss.
Interesting Read: See how Chaga tea facilitates weight loss.
2. Everybody's Favorite, Avocado
Avocado is a superfood because it contains good and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and fiber to satisfy you, helping you avoid craving unhealthy fast food products.In addition, the healthy fats in avocados can serve as an energy source to enhance performance. Unlike proteins and carbohydrates, which provide four calories per gram, healthy fats provide nine calories per gram for energy utilization.
As an added benefit, avocados go beyond waking you up to regulate your hormones. The regulation of numerous bodily functions and energy levels is primarily attributed to hormones. They play an essential role in directing cellular activity by enhancing the production of ATP, the energy source that fuels our cells.
Interesting Read: See the best mushrooms for hormonal balance.
3. Eggs: A Complete Protein
Eggs are a very deceptive source of high-quality protein; you can eliminate red meat and steak while consuming many eggs in the morning. In addition, iron, vitamin D, choline, magnesium, and vitamin B 12, among other essential nutrients that fight fatigue, are all abundant in eggs.
Remember to consume the entire egg! The egg's most nutrient-rich component is the yolk, which has the most vitamins, minerals, and protein. Also, don't worry if you're concerned about your cholesterol levels. Research shows that(2) blood and meal cholesterol levels do not correlate.
A study conducted in 2018(3) confirmed that people with diabetes could safely consume a diet with more eggs than currently recommended by some countries—this proves that eggs are a healthy addition to anyone's breakfast.
Interesting Read: See how Lion's mane mushroom fights diabetes.
4. The Versatile Smoothies
Whether you're looking for a post-workout snack, a balanced breakfast, or a late-night treat, smoothies are one of the excellent foods to wake you up. What's great is that smoothies are versatile, allowing you to add anything.
For instance, add some mushroom powder to your smoothies. Cordyceps can enhance your energy levels, while Reishi can help with a good night's sleep. Likewise, Lion's mane added to your smoothies can help clear brain fog, and Turkey tail mushrooms can strengthen the immune system.
With their versatility, smoothies allow you to add all the nutrients your body needs for energy production. Add some berries for vitamin C, ground nuts and almonds to increase iron absorption, leafy greens for additional vitamins and minerals, and dark chocolate to boost your energy and improve your mood.
5. Add Extra Benefits With Mushroom Coffee
Ground mushrooms and coffee beans can be mixed delicately to create a dark, smooth, nutty coffee. Instead of culinary mushrooms, medicinal mushroom extracts are typically used in mushroom coffee. Medicinal mushrooms like Chaga, Reishi, Turkey tail, and Lion's mane combine well with coffee to create this trendy drink.
Mushroom coffees have the potential to boost immunity, lower stress, and reduce inflammation. In addition, by switching to mushroom coffee, you'll be ingesting less caffeine, improving your sleep, and enjoying more energy during the day.
6. The Fool-proof Oatmeal
Breakfast staple oatmeal gives your body slowly metabolizing carbohydrates.It has a low glycemic index—a gauge of how quickly carbs are absorbed and how fast your body convert food into energy.
Unlike energy drinks which contain simple carbs and added sugar that often lead to an energy decline at midday, oats have complex carbohydrates. These complex carbs digest slowly, releasing energy continuously throughout the day and keeping you fueled.
It is a dependable grain that provides a surprising amount of high-quality protein to keep you going in the morning and a lot of fiber that promotes healthy digestion and keeps you full. Furthermore, it is a good base for adding fruits, nut butter, and seeds to create a meal that supplies calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, and other nutrients.
7. Let's Go Bananas
Another essential food to wake you up is bananas. They are high in fiber, and unlike many other fruits, when you eat them, you genuinely feel satisfied. It gives any breakfast dish a robust texture and may even be eaten as a quick, on-the-go morning snack.
It also has a lot of potassium, which makes it a helpful food for regulating your hormones and mood in the morning.
Interesting Read: See how Reishi mushrooms promote hormonal balance.
Compared to an unripe banana, a ripe one will offer more easily accessible energy in the form of natural sugars. Instead of being green, they should be freckled and yellow. Ripe bananas have already transformed their starch into natural sugars, and your body can quickly convert them into fuel.
8. Plain Old Water
It's as simple as it sounds, a plain old glass of water. When your body doesn't have enough water to perform regular activities, you may experience dehydration, making you feel tired.
Most of us are slightly dehydrated in the morning after hours of not drinking water while asleep. Therefore drinking lots of liquids will help.
Instead of going to the office vending machine and getting unhealthy pick-me-up snacks, you should probably go to the water cooler if you start dozing off at your desk in the middle of the day.
9. Say Cottage Cheese
A fantastic source of protein for vegetarians, one cup of low-fat cottage cheese(4) offers 163 calories and 28 grams of protein. In addition to being a great source of protein and energy calories, it has nearly 60% of the daily recommended vitamin B12, which the body needs for several biochemical activities that produce energy.
10. Probiotic-packed Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a food you should add to your morning routine today. It has more protein than regular yogurt, giving you more energy throughout the day. Probiotics, believed to strengthen the immune system and increase vitality, are also present in Greek yogurt.
11. Boost Energy With Bee Pollen
Bee pollen, a healthy superfood, can dramatically increase physical stamina and vitality. It is rich in amino acids, B vitamins, and rutin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant essential for sustaining healthy blood vessels. Enhance your morning smoothie bowl with bee pollen for more energy and vitality.
Foods to Avoid for Stable Energy Levels
The Impact of Certain Foods on Energy Levels
Just as there are foods that can boost your energy, there are also foods that can cause energy crashes, leading to feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. This is primarily due to how these foods affect your blood glucose levels.
Consuming foods high in refined sugars or simple carbohydrates causes a rapid spike in blood glucose. In response, the body produces insulin to decrease these levels, leading to a sudden drop in blood glucose, commonly known as a 'sugar crash.' This rapid fluctuation in blood glucose can make you feel energetic immediately after eating but leaves you feeling drained shortly afterward.
Foods That Can Lead to Energy Crashes
Among the most common culprits are sugary coffee drinks. While the caffeine in these drinks can provide a temporary energy boost, the high sugar content can lead to an energy crash once the initial effects of the caffeine wear off. Additionally, the added sugars and syrups can turn a potentially healthy beverage into a source of empty calories that contribute little nutritional value.
Sugary snacks, such as candy bars, cookies, and pastries, can have a similar effect. However, these foods are often high in refined sugars and low in beneficial nutrients like fiber and protein, essential for sustained energy.
Overly processed foods, including fast food and ready-to-eat meals, can also lead to energy crashes. These foods are often high in simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats and low in fiber and protein. While they may be convenient, their nutritional profile can lead to quick spikes and subsequent drops in blood glucose.
White bread, pasta, and other foods made from refined grains are another category to watch out for. During the refining process, these grains are stripped of their fiber and other nutrients, turning them into simple carbohydrates that can cause rapid fluctuations in blood glucose.
FAQs About Foods That Wake You Up
What Food Gives Instant Energy?
While there are no "instant" sources of energy, some foods can provide a quick burst of energy due to their high glycemic index, which raises blood sugar levels quickly. For example, bananas are rich in carbohydrates and natural sugars, making them a quick energy source. Likewise, dates are high in natural sugars and can provide a quick burst of energy.
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that is slowly digested, but when combined with a small amount of honey, it can provide a quick burst of energy. Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them a great source of sustained energy. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are particularly high in energy-boosting nutrients. Lastly, dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can provide a quick energy boost.
What Drinks Keep You Awake?
Coffee is a popular and well-known source of caffeine, which can help keep you awake and alert. Depending on the strength and quantity of the coffee, the effects can last for several hours. Tea also contains caffeine, but typically in smaller amounts than coffee. Some types of tea, such as black tea, green tea, and matcha, can provide a similar level of alertness to coffee.
While not a source of caffeine, staying hydrated with water can help you stay alert and focused. However, dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased cognitive function, so drinking enough water throughout the day is essential.
Read More: See the best morning energy drinks that keep you awake.
What Foods To Avoid Before Bed?
Eating certain foods before bed can disrupt sleep. For example, spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion, while high-fat foods like fried foods or fatty meats can also be hard to digest and cause discomfort or acid reflux. In addition, foods and drinks high in sugar—for example, soda or other types of sugary processed foods—can cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels, leading to nighttime awakenings and difficulty falling back to sleep.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep, so it's best to avoid caffeine-containing foods and beverages before bedtime. In addition, while alcohol may make you drowsy, it can disrupt your sleep patterns, causing you to wake up frequently throughout the night.
Different foods and drinks can boost your energy levels, helping you stay awake and alert throughout the day. From bee pollen to bananas, chia seeds, mushroom coffee, oatmeal, and other nutritious options, this article shows you some energy-dense foods that can give you a quick boost when you need it most.
You can maintain high energy and focus throughout the day by incorporating these healthy breakfast foods that are better than coffee into your daily routine and avoiding foods that disrupt your sleep. So the next time you're feeling drowsy or need extra energy, try reaching for one of these foods and see how it can transform your day!
Have you tried any of these foods that wake you up? What do you eat when your energy levels reduce? Let's know in the comments below.
- The Chemical Composition and Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds—Current State of Knowledge, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627181/
- Dietary Cholesterol, Serum Lipids, and Heart Disease: Are Eggs Working for or Against You?, (2)https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/4/426
- Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase, (3)https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/107/6/921/4992612
- The satiating effects of eggs or cottage cheese are similar in healthy subjects despite differences in postprandial kinetics, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25772196/