Tired. Drained. Pooped. No matter how you put it, you’re beat and need to drum up some energy. You are not alone. Many people have trouble getting in gear in the morning, experience the afternoon slump, or just want to crash on the couch in the evening.

The exhaustion can be a constant problem for some folks. Fatigue is a common complaint associated with many factors. It is found in all populations and generally reported by more women than men. Sluggishness can be caused by many factors, but experts say poor nutrition is a big culprit. A well-balanced diet, on the other hand, can boost energy.

Food is truly our body’s fuel. What we choose as our fuel is going to absolutely impact the performance of our bodies.

The best strategy is to eat small meals of energy-promoting foods several times throughout the day, rather than infrequently bingeing on huge meals (you also need to exercise, get enough sleep and control stress, but that’s a whole different segment.) With that in mind, I offer you 6 foods that are guaranteed to charge your batteries and stave off the dreaded afternoon and early-evening head-nods.

1. Oatmeal: Don’t forget the oatmeal ever! Start your day with oatmeal. This is an excellent healthy food that not only makes digestion easier but also stabilizes blood glucose level (because of its complex carbohydrates and fiber content). Fiber content in the oatmeal helps you to get a steady stream of energy. Oats also contain Vitamin B which helps transform carbohydrates into usable energy.

2. Almonds: Not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats such as butter and cheese tend to make you lethargic by lowering the amount of circulating oxygen in your bloodstream. Monounsaturated fats such as almonds provide essential fatty acids, known as omega-3s and omega-6s, that produce an alert mental state. Other healthy fats to include in your diet are avocados, seeds, nuts, olive oil, fish oil and canola oil. Of course, with the possible exception of fish oil, eat all of these in moderation

3. Lentils: Lentils provide both carbohydrates and protein, making them a great addition to any meal. They’re also a great source of fiber–which translates to a slow release of glucose–as well as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and copper. And they’re low in fat and calories to boot. If you don’t eat beans often, start with a small portion or you’ll experience the flatulence factor and end up dining alone. Some other good choices include navy beans, chickpeas and kidney beans.

4. Blue Berries: Blueberries are high in manganese, fiber and Vitamin K. All these are great to reduce blood cholesterol level and improve condition of the heart. Blueberries are the number one antioxidants fruit. Antioxidants help to get rid of free radicals and balance the protein level.

5. Sardines: A lean protein food- contains an amino acid called tyrosine. This helps to improve mental function. Besides sardines, salmon (rich with omega 3 fatty acids) is also very good for health.

6. Chocolate: Not just a pick-me-up-in-the-love-moment for women, chocolate can elevate your energy levels by way of certain bioactive compounds such as tyramine and phenylethylamine, says a study in the Journal of Food Science. Chocolate has also been claimed to improve anemia, awaken the appetite, aid in digestion, improve longevity, and increase sexual appetite. Chocolate does contain sugar and caffeine along with fat and calories, so consume in moderation and, when possible, opt for dark chocolate, 70% or more, which has the fewest calories and the most antioxidants.

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