Diet and nutrition

Georgina Camfield, AXA Health physiologist and Registered Associate Nutritionist

Energy boosting foods

Diet and Nutrition

1 April 2021

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Find your Feelgood Health

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Find your feelgood health

Leading a physically active lifestyle is a great boost to your health, but a balanced diet is just as important to stay energised. If you lead an active lifestyle but are feeling sluggish and lacking in energy, it can be a sign that you’re not fuelling your body optimally. Making small changes to your diet and eating patterns can go a long way to increasing your energy levels and can help us achieve feelgood health and wellbeing by tweaking rather than giving up everything that we love.

AXA Health physiologist and Registered Associate Nutritionist, Georgina Camfield, shares her nutrition tips to help increase your daily energy levels:

  • Include complex carbohydrates - such as wholegrains, whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, pulses and legumes as they release energy over time. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates, such as sugar-sweetened drinks and confectionary items, as they provide a temporary energy boost followed by a sharp decline (you’ll feel sluggish again quite soon).[1]
  • Eat foods rich in fibre – legumes, wholegrains, whole fruits and vegetables are all high in fibre, which not only provides a steady supply of energy, but also helps to keep our gut healthy. A healthy gut goes a long way in boosting our energy levels.[2]
  • Look after your gut – Nurturing the bacteria in our gut can help to harvest, store and expend energy from the food that we eat. A gut boosting lifestyle includes plenty of fresh foods (particularly plant-based foods), keeping hydrated, managing stress levels, keeping active and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Include foods that contain iron – Having low iron levels can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia which could make you feel lethargic.[3] It’s not just red meats that we can get this from - green vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, legumes and fortified cereals all offer good sources of iron too.
  • Incorporate lean meats into your diet – meats such as chicken, turkey and lean beef provide a variety of nutrients that can help you feel more alert, including vitamin B12 which helps the body convert the food we eat into energy.[4]
  • Eat breakfast every morning – kick start the day with a nutritious breakfast. Swap sugary cereals and white bread for energy-boosting eggs, yogurt, oats, fruit, and whole wheat toast. Looking for inspiration? Click on the link to find out what our health experts eat for breakfast - and why.
  • Eat at regular intervals throughout the day – This will keep your energy levels stable throughout the day and will help to keep you energised and focussed. When snacking, go for nuts, fruit, yogurt and cereal, vegetable sticks with hummus, or oatcakes.
  • Stay hydrated – don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate. All kinds of drinks count towards your fluid intake, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, which are great sources of water (apples, melons, tomatoes and cucumber all have a high water content). Try to drink at least six to eight glasses of water of every day and remember that you will need more in warmer weather or if you're exercising. 

Feel good foods

Whether you’re looking for a quick energy boost, or an improvement in your overall health and wellbeing, increasing your intake of these feelgood foods can help you feel better than ever!

  • Blueberries – are rich in antioxidants which help to support the immune system.[5]
  • Broccoli – guards against cancer and is rich in a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, folate and iron.
  • Melons – such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. 90% of their weight is water, so can help to maintain your energy levels and keep you hydrated!
  • Carrots – are high in beta carotenes, known to help maintain good eye health.[6]
  • Beetroot – bursting with minerals, beetroot has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.[7]
  • Brazil nuts – you only need to eat two or three a day to benefit from their great combination of nutrients: vitamins E, B and selenium.
  • Grapefruit – has antiseptic, wound healing and anti-bacterial properties.[8]
  • Garlic – has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.[9]
  • Cranberries – best known for helping to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, especially cystitis in women, cranberries have both anti-fungal and antiviral properties.[10]

Sources and further reading


[1] Vlachos et al. (2020) Nutrients, 12(6):1561. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

[2] Garcia-Montero et al. (2021) Nutrients, 13(2):699. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

3 – Mansour et al. (2021) Adv Ther, 38(1):201-225. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

4 – Sayar et al. (2020) Turk Pediatri Ars, 55(2): 139-148. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

5 – Iddir et al. (2020) Nutrients, 12(6):1562. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

6 – Johra et al. (2020) Antioxidants (Basel), 9(11):1046. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

7 – Baiao et al. (2020) Antioxidants (Basel), 9(10):960. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

8 – Mozos et al. (2018) Front Pharmacol, 9:521. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

9 – Shang et al. (2019) Foods, 8(7):246. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

10 – de Llano et al. (2020) Molecules, 25(15):3523. (Accessed 1 April 2021)

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