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Almonds, salmon, blueberries and 17 more foods that will make you more alert, energetic and ready to take on the world.

It’s three in the afternoon, your energy is flagging and all you want to do is take a nap, but instead you have to sit through a boring meeting. While you could just have a second – or seventh – cup of coffee, you could also have some pumpkin seeds, an apple, a few red bell pepper slices with hummus or a piece of dark chocolate. These 20 foods can help relieve fatigue, sharpen your focus and give you the jolt of energy that you need to avoid falling asleep at your desk.

Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, arugula and chard. Virtually every variety of leafy greens is flavorful, packed with vitamins and minerals, and a low-calorie addition to your meals. Not only do they contain vitamins C and A, which are important for energy levels, they also contain depression-fighting folate.

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews contain protein for endurance and coenzyme Q10, a nutrient that helps produce energy inside our cells. This combination makes them an ideal fuel choice for both a quick energy jolt and long-term endurance.

Lean Meats

Skinless chicken, turkey and other lean cuts of meat contain the amino acid tyrosine, which helps fight fatigue. They also have lots of iron, B-vitamins and the protein your muscles need for endurance whether you’re working out, competing in an athletic event or just trying to get through a hectic day.


Salmon has two grams of essential fatty acids per four-ounce serving, and these EFAs do more than just regulate insulin and facilitate healthy brain function. They also help ease inflammation, so stiffness in your joints or muscles won’t slow you down.


There are plenty of foods that provide the protein vegetarians need, but perhaps none do so in such a powerful, compact package as an egg. Eggs offer many of the same benefits as lean meats, including protein, B-vitamins and iron.

Whole Grains

It’s common knowledge that consuming carbs will give you a quick energy boost, which makes them great before a long workout. But the pick-me-up from refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice won’t last; within 30 minutes you’ll be feeling sluggish again. Choose refined carbs like brown rice, oats or whole-wheat bread instead.


This one’s a no-brainer. The caffeine in coffee is perhaps the most powerful and well-known energy-booster there is, and millions of people rely on it every morning just to get out the door. But when you combine some of these other pick-me-up foods in each of your daily meals, you may find you don’t need coffee as much as you used to.


Like coffee, black tea and green tea both contain caffeine, but they’ve also got the amino acid L-theanine, which can aid in alertness and memory.


Lean protein, iron, B-vitamins and amino acids make beans an obvious go-to for energy, but another big benefit comes from their fiber content. Fiber slows digestion, giving your body a longer-term source of energy.


Fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants have a lot of energy-boosting power on their own, but apples also contain fructose, which is quickly and efficiently processed by our bodies for energy.


A favorite of bodybuilders, bananas offer potassium, which helps muscles contract properly, as well as the fruit sugars fructose and glucose. Glucose is rapidly digested and turned into energy, so that you’ll start feeling more alert right away.

Pumpkin seeds

Like nuts, pumpkin seeds contain muscle-sustaining protein, vitamins and healthy fats. They’re also full of magnesium, which helps convert food into energy.

Water with lemon

When you’re feeling a little slow, take the time to drink a glass of water, preferably with a slice of lemon for a little bit of added vitamin C. Dehydration can sap both metabolism and


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