Feeling a little fatigued? Put some pep back in your step with these nutrient-boosting foods

By The Editors of Huffington Post Healthy Living
March 13, 2013
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Recently, we've been focused on methods to help foster good sleep hygiene and a healthy sleep environment. But what happens after the nap? Diving back into your day after a healthful, restorative nap can be a challenge. And an afternoon caffeine boost might interfere with later sleep. Instead, we rounded up the most energy-boosting snacks that could help you transition back into your day. Or start it-it's no coincidence that many of these items are frequently found on breakfast tables across America.

Of course, all food is for energy. But that doesn't mean all foods are created equal when it comes to their enhancing powers. Energy-boosting foods are also metabolism-boosting foods: foods that support our bodies' abilities to convert food into energy. B-complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most energy-boosting nutrients available, but many other nutrients and flavors are associated with increased wakefulness and alertness.

Read on and tell us in the comments: what do you eat to boost your energy levels?

1. Salmon. This oily fish is a powerhouse of omega-3 fatty acids, which are used by the body as building blocks for muscle and other tissues, and for energy.

2. Citrus. Chock full of immune-boosting Vitamin C, these fruits help enhance energy and improve alertness just from their scent, according to Marie Claire.

3. Eggs. Thanks to their richness in choline, an essential nutrient in the B vitamin family, eggs contribute to energy in several ways. For example, choline is involved in metabolism and also helps the central nervous system to function.

RELATED: Eggs are the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions! Check out these tasty and easy ways to cook the high-protein, low-cal superfood.

4. Beans. B vitamin-rich beans also pack a punch when it comes to protein and complex carbohydrates, offering sustained energy throughout the day.

5. Walnuts. Walnuts have the most omega-3 concentration of any nut, making them a great energy builder.

6. Leafy greens. Kale, chard, watercress, and other nutrient-packed greens help promote energy with high levels of brain-boosting Folate, Vitamins C and K and calcium and beta-carotene.

7. Bran cereal. Thanks to a healthy dose of B-complex vitamins and complex carbohydrates with the sustaining effect of fiber, bran cereal is a food for lasting energy.

8. Dark chocolate. We're talking really dark here. If you're eating chocolate for energy, you want the highest cacao concentration possible. That's because cacao has nutrients that fight stress and boost energy and focus. Dark chocolate also contains a kick of caffeine, which helps to boost energy levels quickly.

RELATED: What's on your plate can dictate how healthy your skin is! Avoid these six food offenders if you want a glowing, dewy complexion.

9. Coffee. Speaking of caffeine: coffee is an obvious pick-me-up. While we don't recommend drinking it in the late afternoon, when it can interfere with bedtime, a cup of joe can certainly help with alertness and focus. Long-term studies show that java is a good thing for overall health, reducing risk of dementia, heart failure, and even some cancers.

10. Water. We believe in the power of drinking water for many reasons, but energy is chief among them. If you're feeling sluggish, it could be from dehydration, of which fatigue is a very common symptom. So a good first step in the fight for greater wakefulness is to drink some H20.

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