The 10 best minerals and vitamins for energy
Feeling sluggish, or falling asleep at your desk? Minerals and vitamins are a solid way to restore your energy supplies.
If you're feeling constantly tired, foggy, lacking in energy, your diet could be the culprit. However, even if you're eating a healthy diet, you can still feel sluggish, which suggests that your body is lacking some key minerals and vitamins for energy.
"How can I boost my energy?"
If you don't provide your body with enough of the minerals and vitamins it needs, it will have to burn its own stores in order to make up for the lack of vitamin levels, which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.
The best way to boost your energy levels is by eating vitamin and mineral-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding quick fixes such as coffee and energy drinks. So if you’re looking to boost your energy levels on the long-term, here are the best 10:
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is the best place to start if you're feeling sluggish—it's the only vitamin that directly contributes to our energy levels. Studies have shown that people with low B12 levels are more likely to suffer from fatigue than those who have adequate amounts of it in their diet. This is because B12 is essential for our nervous system to function properly, which means that a lack of B12 can lead to feelings of lethargy. Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish and dairy products. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, opt for fortified cereals and soy products instead.
2. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 plays a key role in the production of serotonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate moods and sleep patterns. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who consumed more than 50 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6 daily had lower levels of fatigue than those who took less than 25 mg per day. Vitamin B6 can be found in chicken, fish and green vegetables. If you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can also opt for fortified cereals and soy products.
3. Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
Vitamin B9 is great for boosting your mood and energy levels. It’s essential for the production of serotonin in the brain, also known as the “happy hormone.” Folic acid also helps convert carbohydrates into glucose, which gives you the energy needed to get through your day without feeling sluggish or tired. Foods that contain vitamin B9 are dark leafy greens, legumes, dairy products and fortified breads.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins for energy, helping to boost mood and energy levels. It’s essential for the production of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in positive feelings like joy, pleasure and satisfaction. It also helps the body to produce norepinephrine and epinephrine, which are hormones involved in regulating mood. Foods that contain vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, red sweet peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, sprouts, and cauliflower.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body maintain normal levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, two chemicals in the brain that regulate mood. It also promotes the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles, and plays an important role in regulating the immune system, which can help prevent swelling and irritation throughout your body. Foods that contain vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, eggs, and fortified cereals.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps maintain healthy blood flow throughout your body. Vitamin E plays an important role in regulating blood vessels and nerves, which can help relieve symptoms like nerves, panic and worry. It also protects your cells from free radicals, which are atoms or molecules that can damage DNA. Foods that contain vitamin E include almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, avocados, and spinach.
7. Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps your body use carbohydrates and proteins for energy, making it one of the best vitamins for energy and tiredness. It helps regulate blood pressure, which can help relieve symptoms such as panic, low mood, and tension—associated with poor mental health. Vitamin B3 also plays an important role in the functioning of your nervous system, liver, kidneys and digestive system. Foods that contain vitamin B3 include clams, salmon, tuna, chicken, brown rice, legumes, and bananas.
Magnesium is a mineral that your body needs to produce energy and build strong bones—it supports the functioning of your nervous system by helping transit nerve impulses throughout your body. Magnesium also improves sleep quality, and everyone knows a good night's sleep can have you feeling full of beans. Foods that contain magnesium include spinach, almonds, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.
Zinc is a mineral that your body needs to heal wounds and build strong tissue—it supports the functioning of your immune system by helping your body fight off bacteria and viruses. Zinc also plays an important role in regulating your metabolism, and due to the brain-gut axis, a happy gut equals a happy brain. Foods that contain zinc include fish like salmon or tuna, legumes such as black beans or chickpeas, and nuts such as almonds.
Iron is a mineral that helps your body produce red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen around your body. Iron is also very important for brain health, as it helps support cognitive function and memory. Your body doesn’t produce iron on its own, so if you need to get it from your diet: try lean meats like chicken or turkey, legumes, nuts, dried fruit, and liver.
Energy boosting supplements
You may be thinking that this all sounds jolly complicated when it comes to cooking and eating well, and you're not wrong. It can be difficult to ensure your brain is getting all the right ingredients, every single day. That's where you need to make sure you're getting in the right vitamins and minerals—so you can be at your best.