Either you run the day or the day runs you over! And what is that one thing that stops you from running your day? I think it is stamina. Before I define stamina, let’s find out what happens if you don’t have loads of it. Well, it proves difficult to go through the day with your stamina nose-diving, making you feel tired, lethargic and sluggish.
Much like a car would break down in the middle of the road if it does not have enough fuel to power it through the next phase of the journey, stamina is actually your strength or fortitude to sustain a physical or mental effort for an extended period of time. Yes, you need lots of energy to cope with the frenetic lifestyle that sucks out the energy and stamina out of you, leaving you deflated and fatigued.
The only way to keep your stamina going for the better part of the day is to follow a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercising and eating stamina boosting food. While certain foods can actually minimize stamina, some foods have the power to boost it. People associated with sports need loads of stamina to cope up with their grueling schedules. To think of it, everyone does, and the only way you can do that is fueling up right, that is, increasing the intake of food to increase stamina.
A balanced diet means adding foods to your diet that includes nutrients such as complex carbs, vitamin C, fiber, proteins. These nutrients will keep you energized throughout the day and you won’t have to deal with fledgling stamina levels and depend on insane amounts of caffeine to perk you up. There is simply no substitute for good ol’ wholesome foods. So load on these foods and get the essential nutrients you need.
Essential Nutrients – Food for Stamina
If you want to increase your stamina, you need to look for the following nutrients in your energy foods list.
Complex carbs: While people on a diet create a lot of hullaballoo about carbs, the point is carbs should be an integral part of your diet, especially complex carbs that act as the major fuel source for your mind and body. Complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, rice, millets are all the carbs you need to provide you energy all through the day. It is filling and nutritious, the two things you need to sail through the day without having to worry that your energy levels are dipping.Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a great immune system booster and protects you from various infections such as cold and cough, which drains our energy. If you are someone who spends quite a lot of time outside, then you may be more prone to bacterial infections that are detrimental to your health. The best way to boost your immunity is consuming foods rich in vitamin C.
Proteins: Protein is an important nutrient that has a tremendous impact on your health. Right from the development of your bones, repairing your muscle and body tissues. The metabolic rate of protein is quite high; in fact, higher than fat, and it helps a person burn more fat. Protein-rich food helps keep you full for longer and stops you from reaching out for unhealthy snacks every now and then. Healthy sources of protein include fish, lean chicken, eggs, and nuts.
Iron: An iron deficiency can lead to stamina loss. Healthy iron food sources include nuts, vegetables, meat, and beans. If you are not able to get enough from your food sources, you can consult your doctor and get him/her to recommend iron supplements.
Foods to Increase Stamina – Energy Foods List
Foods are the ultimate stamina –booster. The right foods can help you keep at it and you won’t feel a drop in your energy levels till you crash onto your bed at night! Keep a tab on this high energy foods list and start including them in your diet.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a pantry king! This is the nutritional powerhouse food that you must include into your daily diet since it is unprocessed carb, gets digested slowly makes you feel full with a smaller amount, providing you with energy for long hours. The complex carbs keep your blood sugar stable and your body energized.
- Beans: Full of minerals and iron, beans help increase RBCs (Red Blood Cells); that is the oxygen-carrier, helping it reach the muscles especially when you need your stamina to peak the most, during strenuous activity such as exercise.
- Coffee: A mug of coffee a day keeps the energy slump away. Coffee has got a bad rap in recent times, it contains caffeine, and too much of caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycles besides impacting your body in other ways. But in moderation, it can boost your stamina and help fight fatigue. It energizes you, especially when you have it prior to a workout. It also triggers your nervous system.
- Green leafy vegetables: Chock-a-block with micronutrients, green leafy vegetables are great for increasing your stamina and also improve your RBC count. Green leafy veggies are the powerhouse foods that are full of fiber and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Bananas: See a dip in energy levels? Have a banana, it is the best on-the-go food you can have and can be both a pre-workout and post-workout meal. It is full of good carbs and triggers dopamine, a concentration-building, and focus-inducing chemical.
- Peanut butter: Peanut butter is healthy and oh-so-delicious. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids that help in alleviating pain and also boost your heart health. It is a calorie-dense food that digests slowly. Always combine peanut butter with complex carbs.
- Lean meat, fish, chicken, and eggs: When it comes to food that gives energy and stamina, you cannot look beyond protein-rich foods, and that is why foods such as lean meat, fish, chicken, and eggs are your best options. Growth, development, muscle building and repairing – protein-rich foods take care of these things and more.
- Red grapes: The ‘resveratrol’ containing grapes are, in fact, the receptacle of energy. They are full of natural sugars that help build energy and stamina.
- Beetroot juice: Consume a glassful of beetroot juice before your workouts and you can complete your workout with energy and stamina. The potent vitamin C and vitamin A in beetroot juice content prevent exhaustion and rejuvenate you from within.
- Quinoa: Quinoa (Bathua) was regarded as a sacred grain by the Incan Empire since it gave their warriors ample energy to fight wars. Looks like the Incas had got everything right, as it contains vitamins, amino acids, minerals, fiber and a meal in itself. It is easy to cook and great for your health.
- Brown Rice – This weight loss-friendly version of the humble rice is great for providing energy to your body. It releases energy slowly into your blood providing you with the stamina to nail your activities with the right vigor.
- Citrus Fruits – Vitamin C is your secret weapon to slay most infections. So, keep filling your body with generous doses of vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps cleanse your body of toxins, so reach out for a lime juice or orange juice instead of enormous doses of caffeine.
- Almonds – The nutty fix is your go-to when you feel energy levels dipping. That’s not all, among thousand other things, they boost metabolism and stamina. It is what you should keep in your pantry for weight loss. Just a handful every day and you are good to go!
- Fish – Fish is not only rich in omega – 3 fatty acids but also filled with lots of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Eat fish for the sake of your heart as it boosts your heart health, helps in the development of the brain and nervous system, and before we forget, an integral part of the list of foods that give instant energy.
- Green Tea – This anti-oxidant rich tea is a favorite among most health connoisseurs. It detoxifies your system and boosts your energy. There are some other amazing benefits of this tea, that is lowering cholesterol, helping you lose weight and building stamina.
- Maca – The maca root has tremendous medicinal properties and is particularly good for increasing male fertility and libido. It is mainly available in powdered
- Pumpkin – Well, it is not always essential to look for exotic foods to boost your stamina, something as easily available and vitamin-A-rich as the pumpkin can do the job admirably for you. You can also get pumpkin seeds, a storehouse of important minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, and It has a balancing effect on your hormones. The easiest way to increase stamina and energy.
- Pomegranate – Pomegranates are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and It’s great for your bone health, immunity and cardiovascular health. The rich content of polyphenols helps reduce inflammation and soreness too.
- Soybeans – Vegetarians needn’t worry as soybeans are one of the best vegetarian sources to increase your stamina! They are full of vitamins, minerals, and insoluble fiber. They keep your energy for a longer period of time.
- Sundried Tomatoes – Your go-to food for antioxidants, iron, and fiber! And what’s more, they are great for your bones. This food also helps the oxygen to reach your muscles.
Best Foods to Eat for Energy – Tailor-made for Athletes
Now, an athlete’s workout regime is completely different from ours, and so is their diet. They need great amounts of energy to help them play, run or engage in sports activities for long hours. Some of the foods which they consume can even be labeled as superfoods, as it increases their stamina, endurance, and energy. Check out some of the healthy foods that give instant energy to athletes.
- Bananas: What is good for you is good for athletes too! In fact, a banana before a long distance run can help an athlete to sustain energy levels for long hours. They always have a bunch ready with them for a quick energy-boosting snack.
- Kale: Kale is that one powerful food that has the power to protect you from most chronic diseases and can give milk a run for its money in calcium content. It is great for lowering cholesterol and fantastic for your bones. Hence, athletes swear by this particular food.
- Oatmeal: Complex carbs, check; full of fiber, check! Oatmeal is bae when it comes to healthy foods that give you energy. Make your bowl of morning oatmeal even more nutritious by adding fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds, this is the one power-packed breakfast that athletes need for a hectic day ahead.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These nuts are a nutritious way to add crunch to your diet.
- Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes are full of complex carbohydrates and are a great food particularly before a strenuous workout; replenish your lost energy with this fulfilling food.
- Wild Salmon: Salmon is a perfect source of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is particularly good in improving the metabolic processes of the body.
- Chia Seeds: These tiny seeds add the nutritional punch to your morning oatmeal or you can just concoct a quick recipe such as chia pudding to help you feel energized and satisfied. It is full of 20 amino acids and rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
What to eat to increase stamina? Now you know, the above-mentioned foods not only increase your stamina but are also full of nutrients, keeping you fit and healthy. A balanced diet and plenty of water helps you get through the day without feeling listless and deprived of energy. Make sure you add enough physical activities to your daily regime; cardio exercises such as jogging, cycling et al, anything that keeps you energized and happy. However, resting it out is absolutely necessary too, in order to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, you need that rest in between to replenish your kitty of stamina and energy.
Do you feel tired or fatigued right in the middle of the day? What do you use as a pick-me-up food then? For me, it is slices of banana with a large spoon of delicious peanut butter. Complex carbs and a fair bit of protein do it for me! What about you do you have any favorite power foods for energy? Share with us then in the comments section below!
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.