10 Foods That Help You Stay Awake
Try a few of these science-approved snacks when you need more energy in your day
According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a 2010 study revealed that over one-third of adults (age 51 and older) report feeling fatigued. Luckily, there are science-proven snacks that can help fight fatigue. And, best of all, you don’t have to overhaul your entire diet to do it.
Why: Caffeine and Polyphenols
British researchers from the University of Hull and the Hull York Medical School conducted a study that showed how dark chocolate could help tiredness in patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The one caveat to adding chocolate to your list of snacks is to make sure it’s dark chocolate:the darker it is, the higher the cacao content. Cacao is the magic ingredient that contains caffeine (as well as polyphenols) that pump up your serotonin levels and stave off sluggishness.
Choline is an often-overlooked part of a healthy diet. An organic compound associated with the Vitamin B family, choline aids in both metabolism and nutrient transport—both vital components to boosting energy levels. Iot only is choline proven to help with tiredness, but also there are also countless other benefits such as treating inflammation and improving memory function, according to one, in-depth study from UNC–Chapel Hill. With egg yolks rich in choline, you’ll find eggs hard to beat when it comes to a quick and easy source of energy.
Why: Caffeine and L-Theanine
Green tea is a popular alternative to coffee, and it’s easy to see why. Green tea still contains caffeine, but in smaller doses for less of a jolting effect. Studies out of the University of South Australia show that the amino acid L-Theanine helps promote alertness and cognitive improvement. So, think of green tea as a combative one-two punch for knocking out tiredness and increasing your brain activity.
Spinach, Kale, and Chard
Why: Vitamin C, K, Folate, Calcium, Beta-Carotene
Rich in energy-elevating nutrients and vitamins, any salad would be a little emptier without at least one of these powerhouse plants. Researchers who studied the effects of Vitamin C on tired office workers found significant declines in fatigue in those who increased their intake of the antioxidant. So, pepper them into your salad rotation—along with some red bell peppers and broccoli (more energy-boosting veggies) for a lunchtime reprieve from listlessness.
Why: Omega-3 fatty acids
A salient source of omega-3’s, salmon is a surefire way to raise your energy levels–as well as boost your brainpower. Several studies show a direct link to a decrease in fatigue when adding omega-3 fatty acids to a patient’s diet, giving you all the more reason to look into this fortified fish.
Why: Omega-3 fatty acids
Salmon a little too upstream for you? Try walnuts, another healthy snack chock-full of omega-3’s and considered the salmon of the nut world. In fact, these sweet nuts also help weight loss.
Though not technically food, water is an essential element when it comes to boosting your energy. Water aids in digestion and without it, all the energy-packed snacks in the world will have an uphill battle trying to make their way through a sluggish system. You can also increase your water intake with H2O-saturated snacks like watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes, oatmeal, and coffee. Remember that proper hydration keeps the energy flowing—literally.
Wheat Bran Cereal
Not only does wheat bran boast hunger-fighting fiber, but it also rounds out your breakfast with Vitamin B for that much-needed source of energy. What a winning combination.
Why: Complex carbohydrates
We’ve all heard of a sugar crash. While white bread and refined sugars metabolize quickly, causing a sugar rush, whole grains digest slowly for a steadier energy release. And even though sometimes any energy boost is better than none, wouldn’t you prefer one that sticks around?
Known as “good bacteria,” probiotics are responsible for keeping your digestive tract on track. When microorganisms become unbalanced, stomach aches happen—a leading symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome. Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that study subjects experienced less fatigue after adding yogurt to their diet. So not only is yogurt rich in protein, but it’s right there on the front lines: establishing order when bad bacteria come to town.
Finding extra energy to make it through the day can be a challenge, so use a few of these healthy snack alternatives when you feel like your reserves are running low. If trying to sleep is more your problem, read more about foods that can help you sleep here.