What is cholesterol and how can you reduce it

Anthony Glock, AXA Health physiologist

Energy boosting foods

Diet and Nutrition

14 July 2023

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 in the right way.

Making small changes to your diet and eating patterns can go a long way to increasing your energy levels and can help us achieve overall feelgood health and wellbeing by tweaking rather than giving up everything that we love.

Anthony Glock, AXA Health physiologist, shares his nutrition tips to help increase your daily energy levels, as well as which foods can help keep you healthy.

Food to help you feel good

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. They are also both low in sugar and a good source of fibre which as a result gives them a low Glycaemic Index (GI). This, together with their high flavonoid content, may help improve insulin sensitivity which is important for managing blood sugar levels.1


Full of vitamins such as vitamin C (helps the immune system), vitamin A (helps vision in dim light and helps your defences against illnesses2) and vitamin K which helps heal wounds.

It also contains various bioactive compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation in your body’s tissues.3


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 and aid eyesight. They can help maintain a well-functioning immune system and 80g of carrots will also give you one of your 5-a-day4.

>Try our  carrot, kale and red lentil soup recipe


Bursting with minerals, beetroot is a great source of folate also known as vitamin B9. Folate is needed in the body to form healthy red blood cells and plays a role in reducing the risk of birth defects during pregnancy.

>Ever used beetroot in a chocolate cake? Try our recipe.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties. Selenium plays an important role in reproduction, metabolism, and immune health.

A single Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, meaning that just one nut per day can provide the daily recommended adult allowance of 55 mcg.5


Garlic is an antioxidant, as well as an anti-inflammatory, and has lipid-lowering properties.

It has shown to have health-promoting and disease-preventing effects on many human common diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, blood pressure, and diabetes.6

>Try our roasted garlic and pumpkin hummus recipe


An 80g serving of fresh cranberries or a single 150ml glass of unsweetened cranberry juice counts towards one of your five-a-day.7

Best known for helping to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, especially cystitis in women, cranberries have both anti-fungal and antiviral properties. They also contain a plant compound that may reduce the risk of gastric ulcers and stomach cancer caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.7

How 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.

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.8

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.

Opt for leaner cuts of meat – 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.

Eat breakfast every morning – kick start the day with a nutritious breakfast. Swap sugary cereals and white bread for energy-boosting eggs, yoghurt, oats, fruit, and whole wheat toast.

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 foods such as:

  • nuts,
  • fruit,
  • yoghurt,
  • 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.

Further reading


  1. Top 5 health benefits of blueberries – BBC Good Food
  2. Vitamin A - NHS
  3. Top 14 Health Benefits of Broccoli - Healthline
  4. Top 5 health benefits of carrots – BBC Good Food
  5. What are the benefits of eating Brazil nuts? – Medical News Today
  6. Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies – National Library of Medicine
  7. Top 5 health benefits of cranberries – BBC Good Food
  8. Iron - NHS

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