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What Are the Most Popular Natural Energy Boosting Foods?

Updated on August 1, 2012

Fatigue and low energy levels are among the most common complaints. Ironically, they tend to be more common among people who work in jobs with a low level of physical intensity, from office workers and lawyers to stay-at-home parents. High levels of physical exertion actually seem to be less tiring than extreme stress and long working hours.

Drugs are one option for combating this epidemic of fatigue, but they can be addictive and often have unpleasant side effects. That's true even for drugs as mild and common as caffeine. Because of the problems associated with stimulant medications, many people are looking away from conventional medicine and towards natural energy boosting foods to solve their problems. Here's a look at some of the most popular choices.

Hot Peppers

Capsaicin, the hot substance in chili peppers and cayenne, acts as a neurological stimulant. That's one of the reasons it's so effective at fighting arthritis pain and related problems. It may also be able to improve circulatory function and provide increased strength to the heart. Putting a little hot pepper on your lunch may not provide the same pep as coffee, but it might wake you up a little.


Carbohydrates are one of the ways your body produces quick energy, converting them to glucose in the blood. Not all carbohydrates are the same, however. If you haven't eaten much lately or your last meal was mostly simple carbs, you might find yourself feeling sluggish. Adding a spoonful of honey, which contains not only blended fructose and sucrose but also vitamins and antioxidants that may increase the resulting energy boost.

Chocolate Milk

While many athletes look to scientifically formulated sports drinks when they feel tired, these products aren't necessarily the best choice. A study dating to 2006 showed that chocolate milk offers an equal or greater potential for refueling. That's because milk contains more protein and basic vitamins in addition to sugars and electrolytes. Chocolate milk is likely to work especially well after a workout or long day.

Bee Pollen

Usually taken in supplement form, this natural substance is known for its very high weight to energy ratio. Made of pollen stored by bees for later consumption, bee pollen is altered by bacteria and fungi into a food that actually contains more energy and vital nutrients than the pollen that acts as its basic ingredient. The information on whether bee pollen provides the same benefits for humans as for insects is inconsistent, but many athletes and other high performers swear by the energy-boosting potential of this supplement.

Pumpkin Seeds

Nuts and seeds are great choices for anyone who wants to boost energy. Just a small amount of this food provides protein, essential fatty acids, and many other important nutrients. Pumpkin seeds stand out from the rest, however, with high levels of phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and manganese. You can also get the benefits of these seeds without consuming any pepitas; look for pumpkin seed oil supplements instead.


This popular fish isn't just delicious in sushi; it's also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been connected with greater heart health and improved neurological condition. The American Heart Association recommends consuming this or other fatty fish twice a week, for a total of about 7 ounces. That's enough to provide possible energy benefits and improve your overall health and well-being.

While these natural energy boosting foods won't provide the same really obvious results as a wake-up pill or a cup of coffee, they're much gentler on your system. They can also support better overall health, making it easier to feel active and get things done.


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