Kickstarting your morning with the proper fuel is one of the best ways to stay alert and charged. Without energy-boosting foods in your diet, it can become quite difficult to power through the day. You may even find yourself grabbing a second cup of coffee or an energy drink before the afternoon hits. However, sometimes relying on these beverages can cause a crash later on in the day. Not to mention, munching on processed snacks can make us feel even worse.
Luckily, there are plenty of healthy foods proven to keep you alert and energized. In this next article, we’ll take a look at some of the best foods to eat to avoid being sleepy.
Avocados have many health benefits, contain nutrients such as B vitamins, potassium, and fiber, and are seen as a superfood. What makes avocados a unique fruit is they’re packed with fats proven to provide you with energy. Unlike saturated fat, healthy fats are packed with essential proteins and play a role in helping you fight off fatigue. Healthy fats also work to help your body slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and help prevent a sugar crash.
You may be surprised to see dark chocolate on our list; however, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants and improves blood circulation. An increase in blood flow helps reduce mental fatigue and improve your overall mood.
Dark chocolate also has a small amount of caffeine— significantly lower than the amount of caffeine you get from coffee. Consuming little bits of caffeine allows your energy levels to rise at a steady pace, and prevents you from feeling jittery or crashing. But remember, you should consume dark chocolate in moderation because too much of it can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Starting your morning with oatmeal is a great way to boost your alertness. Whole grains, like oatmeal, digest slowly and provide a steady supply of energy. Oats are low-glycemic carbs and contain nutrients like niacin, thiamin, and folate, which work together to help your body metabolize energy. Not to mention, oatmeal is quick and easy to prepare, making it breakfast go-to when you’re in a rush.
Almonds are one of the most convenient snacks to fight off fatigue because they are packed with magnesium. Magnesium helps your arteries relax and improves the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. Fatigue is commonly associated with poor circulation, so the extra magnesium may keep you feeling energized. Additionally, almonds contain high levels of protein to wave off feelings of drowsiness during the day.
5. Dark Leafy Greens
Iron is an essential nutrient for your body, especially if you want to stay focused. Diets lacking iron are commonly associated with fatigue and drowsiness as a result. Luckily, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are loaded with iron and contain filling protein to recharge your body. Furthermore, iron promotes red blood cell circulation, helping you feel more alert and improving your concentration levels.
6. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is an excellent source of protein and contains B vitamins to help fight off drowsiness naturally. Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines also have high amounts of omega-3. Omega-3 not only works to improve brain function but also reduces inflammation throughout your body. Since inflammation is linked to fatigue, eating fish can be extremely beneficial for relaxing your muscles and boosting your overall mood.
Berries, including blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are the perfect snack to help you power through the day. Not to mention, their natural sweetness may even help curb your sugar cravings. They contain powerful antioxidants, energy-boosting carbs, folate, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Research suggests these nutrients help the body and mind recovering from stress. Anxiety and stress can lead to fatigue, so munching on berries may help decompress your mind.
Bananas are a great choice to keep you energized, especially if you are looking for a pre-workout snack. Though bananas contain three different types of sugar, fructose, glucose, and sucrose, they absorb into your blood at different speeds. As a result, you get a quick energy boost without experiencing a slump shortly after. The sucrose in bananas helps keep your glucose levels stable. So you can enjoy this deliciously sweet fruit and avoid blood sugar spikes.
9. Lean White Meats
Eating lean white meats can help your body produce more orexin, a hormone responsible for wakefulness, to keep you on your toes. Protein-based foods like chicken or turkey offer a slow release of energy and recharge your body. Some lean white meats like turkey have a reputation for making you feel a little sleepy. This is because they contain tryptophan, a sleep-promoting protein. However, eating turkey in small amounts is fine and may give you the fuel you need to get through a long afternoon.
Brown rice is an extremely nutritious food. Compared to white rice, it’s less processed and retains more nutritional value from fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is a great food to eat when you’re feeling sleepy or sluggish because your body absorbs complex carbohydrates more slowly than simple, refined sugars such as white bread or pasta. Since the digestion process is slower, this allows your body to receive energy for longer periods.
What can I drink to boost my energy?
One of the best things to drink to boost your energy is a glass of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue because it impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain. This causes your heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood to your organs, making you more tired and less alert. Staying hydrated will keep you energized throughout the day.
In addition, drinking green tea can boost your alertness because it has a small amount of caffeine and contains antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
What foods cause you to feel sleepy?
Typically foods with high amounts of protein and carbohydrates make people feel sleepier than other foods. The amino acid tryptophan is present in many protein-rich foods and helps the body produce serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that plays a role in regulating mood and sleep cycles. Additionally, carbohydrates help your body absorb tryptophan, and the combination of this is why you may feel a bit tired. Some sleep-inducing foods include chicken, turkey, salmon, pasta, and white bread.
Is it okay to drink coffee in the afternoon?
It’s perfectly fine to drink 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day to kickstart your day. However, we suggest you stop drinking coffee at least six hours before bedtime. Caffeine can disrupt your sleep up to 4-6 hours after consuming it and can slow down the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. If you think your caffeine consumption is interfering with your sleep, it’s best to limit your coffee consumption to the morning or early afternoon.
Why do I feel sleepy after eating lunch?
Experiencing a post-lunch slump is a common occurrence for most individuals. Our alertness is most prominent when we first wake up, so sleepiness is most likely to occur in the mid-afternoon and night. Post-lunch slumps typically happen 7 hours after you wake up, as the day nears its midpoint. A combination of a dip in your circadian rhythm and after-lunch digestion is why you feel sleepy around lunchtime.
What should I do if I am feeling sleepy in the afternoon?
One of the best ways to counteract daytime fatigue is by taking a short 10 to 20-minute nap. If you have some time during a break at work, try to find a comfy place to rest so you can recharge your body. If you are having trouble falling asleep, do not force yourself to nap. This will only make you frustrated. Instead, try taking a 15-minute walk. Even just 15-minutes of slow walking can give you a burst of energy.
Relying on sugary drinks and caffeine throughout the day may seem like a good idea, but the truth is these items can cause you to feel sluggish. It’s best to try incorporating natural food into your diet because not only do they provide nutritional value, they also keep you full and energized. If you are eating these foods and still find it hard to get through the day, try taking a 10 to 20-minute nap. It’s always a great idea to rest to re-energize yourself when you are feeling sleepy. Additionally, practicing good sleep hygiene and getting regular physical exercise can boost your alertness throughout the day.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.