Georgina Camfield, AXA Health physiologist and Registered Associate Nutritionist

Energy boosting foods

15 January 2021

Girl playing with a ball

Find your Feelgood Health

At AXA Health, we know that everyone’s journey to Feelgood Health is different. Discover more ways to boost your body and mind in a way that suits you on our hub.

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 with the right food. 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 - eat foods made of whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and brown rice as they release energy over time. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates, such as sugar-sweetened drinks, pastry and white bread, as they merely provide a temporary energy boost followed by a sharp decline (you’ll feel sluggish again quite soon)
  • 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.
  • 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. 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 covert the food we eat into energy.
  • 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 – frequent meals help to stabilise your blood sugar and energy levels. 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 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 are 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 – the ultimate immune-boosting food, blueberries are rich in antioxidants.
  • 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 fight fatigue by keeping you hydrated.
  • Carrots – are high in beta carotenes, known to help maintain good eye health and the immune system.
  • Salad greens – bitter varieties such as chicory and endive stimulate the liver, making them great detoxifiers. Spinach and kale contain valuable amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Beetroot – bursting with minerals, beetroot has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
  • 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 immune-boosting, antiseptic, wound healing and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Garlic – strengthens the heart and blood and has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It’s also thought to help lower blood pressure.
  • Honey – a great natural source of carbohydrates, which provides strength and energy to our bodies. It can also help boost your immune and digestive systems.
  • Cranberries – best known for helping to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, especially cystitis in women, cranberries have both anti-fungal and antiviral properties.
  • Ginger – stimulates the immune system and circulation.

Sources and further reading

Useful resources

Got a health question?

We’re here to help you take care of your health - whenever you need us, wherever you are, whether you're an AXA Health member or not.

Our Ask the Expert service allows you to ask our team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives, counsellors and pharmacists about any health topic. So if there's something on your mind, why not get in touch now.