10 Foods That Give You Energy (& How to Consume Them)

Food that give you energy, like coffee, black tea, yerba mate and green tea typically contain substances, like caffeine, that have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. They can be consumed to increase focus and concentration.

Cinnamon, for example, is an excellent energy source as it is  rich in cinnamaldehyde. This is a bioactive compound that stimulates physical and mental concentration and can decrease fatigue.

The following foods can give you plenty of energy and keep drowsiness at bay, especially when you are performing demanding activities, like studying or other work tasks. However, these foods should be avoided for at least 4 hours before bed so that they do not interfere with your quality of sleep.

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Which foods can I eat for energy?

The most common foods that give you energy include:

1. Coffee

Coffee is rich in caffeine, a bioactive compound with properties that stimulate on the nervous system. This drink can help deter fatigue and increase alertness, which can be useful during mentally-taxing work.

However, how caffeine impacts your energy levels can depend on many things, like the quantity ingested, when it is consumed and each person's particular lifestyle habits. 

How to consume: The recommended amount for adults is up to 4 cups of 150 ml of brewed coffee per day. Pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding breasting should consume a maximum of 2 cups of 150ml of brewed coffee per day.

Children over 12 years old should drink a maximum of 130 ml of brewed coffee. People with high blood pressure should limit their consumption of brewed coffee to 2 cups per day.

Also recommended: Coconut Oil in Coffee: Health Benefits, How Much to Add & More tuasaude.com/en/coconut-oil-in-coffee

Cautions: Children under 12 years of age should not consume coffee. It is also not recommended for patients with a history of reflux, ulcers, gastritis, insomnia, anxiety, tinnitus and labyrinthitis.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a great energy source due to its  cinnamaldehyde. This is a compound that speeds up metabolism, improves concentration and boosts physical and mental disposition.

How to consume: The recommended amount of cinnamon intake per day is up to 6 g. It can be added to teas, juices, pancakes or porridge. Learn about how to prepare cinnamon tea and the health benefits associated with this drink.

Cautions: Cinnamon should not be consumed by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. This spice is also contraindicated for people with ulcers or severe liver disease.

3. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate, particularly chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa, contains excellent amounts of caffeine and theobromine. These are bioactive compounds that boost focus and attention, helping to reduce fatigue.

Chocolate also contains carbohydrates, a nutrient that provides energy and improve physical and mental disposition.

How to consume: To obtain the benefits of dark chocolate, simply eat 1 square, or 25 g, per day.

Cautions: Dark chocolate is not recommended for people with anxiety, arrhythmia, insomnia, reflux or stomach ulcers.

4. Matcha

Matcha is a tea that is made from young green tea leaves. It can be consumed to relieve fatigue, improve concentration and boost alertness. It contains high levels of caffeine, a bioactive compound that stimulates the central nervous system. Read more about the health benefits of matcha tea.

How to consume: The recommended daily amount of matcha is 2 to 3 spoons per day, which is equivalent to 2 to 3 cups of tea. Matcha can also be used as an ingredient in the preparation of cakes, breads and juices.

Cautions: Matcha should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children. People with hypertension should also avoid drinking this tea in excess.

5. Ginger

Ginger contains gingerol, a compound with thermogenic properties that accelerate the body's metabolism. This can boost your energy and stave off fatigue.

How to consume: Ginger consumed in tea form can be consumed up to 3 times per day. Ginger can also be be added to recipes such as soups, salads and juices. 

Cautions: Ginger is not recommended for people with a history of gallstones or bleeding disorders, or for anyone on anticoagulant therapy.

People who use medications to manage high blood pressure and diabetes should only consume ginger as directed by a doctor.

6. Yerba mate

Yerba mate tea can also give you energy because it acts in the brain, specifically by blocking the action of adenosine. This is a substance that induces tiredness and sleepiness. Furthermore, this tea increases the production of neurotransmitters with stimulating effects, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and glutamate.

How to consume: Yerba mate can be consumed in the form of hot or iced teas, with a maximum of 1.5 liters of this tea per day.

Cautions: This herb is contraindicated for children, pregnant women and people with insomnia, nervousness, anxiety disorders or high blood pressure.

This herb should also not be consumed by people who use monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO) medications, such as selegiline, moclobemide, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, nialamide, iproniazid or tranylcypromine.

7. Pepper

Pepper helps to boost energy due to the capsaicin in this vegetable. Capsaicin is a bioactive component with thermogenic properties that increase body temperature and accelerate metabolism, which contribute to alertness.

How to consume: You can consume 0.9 to 16 g of red peppers per day, which can be used to season meats, soups, pastas and stews.

Cautions: People with gastritis, GERD, ulcers or high blood pressure should consume pepper sporadically in smaller quantities. Peppers should be avoided by anyone with hemorrhoids.

8. Green tea

Green tea has excellent amounts of caffeine, a bioactive compound that acts on the central nervous system to stimulate concentration and helping to keep you awake.

Green tea also contains catechins, which are substances with thermogenic action that increase body temperature and keep you awake.

How to consume: The maximum recommended intake of green tea is up to 4 cups per day. For people with high blood pressure should only consume up to 3 cups of green tea per day.

Cautions: Green tea should not be consumed by children, pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. This tea should also be avoided by anyone with a history of kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disorders, anemia, gastric ulcers, gastritis and those who suffer from insomnia.

9. Guarana powder

Guarana powder contains caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, which are substances that act on the nervous system to stimulatie concentration and alertness. Therefore arana powder is an excellent food to help you lose sleep and improve concentration.

How to consume: the maximum recommended amount of guarana is up to 5g per day, which can be used in juices, smoothies and teas.

Cautions: Guarana powder is not recommended for children, pregnant women or breastfeeding women. It should also be avoided by people with a history of insomnia, kidney disease, gastritis or psychological disorders such as anxiety and panic disorder.

10. Energy drinks

Energy drinks can help give you energy due to their caffeine and sugar content. These can help to boost concentration and alertness. The taurine that is also often found in energy drinks can additionally enhance the action of caffeine in the body.

How to consume: The maximum safe intake of caffeine per day is 400 mg. Each 250 ml can of energy drink can contain around 80 mg of caffeine, and based on these standards, the maximum recommended amount of energy drinks per day would be around 5 cans, for example.

However, there is still no regulation on how much caffeine energy drinks should contain. Therefore, it is important to always look at the label of each product to check the amount of caffeine it contains.

Cautions: These drinks are not recommended for children or adolescents, nor are they recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.