How To Increase Stamina Naturally Through Food

Medically reviewed by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN
Written by Priyanka Sadhukhan , Nutritionist, CDE, Reviewer & Writer

Do you experience low energy during the day? Is your productivity going down? Do you feel out of breath and tired quickly? You may be eating well, but the type, quantity, and quality of foods you eat play a role in increasing your stamina.

Almost all foods are energy-giving foods, but certain nutrients help build stamina naturally to help you stay alert and increase productivity. Here is a list of energy-giving foods that increase stamina. Read on to find out more about them!

Top 28 Stamina-Building Foods

1. Banana 

The magnesium in bananas helps boost metabolism and is a cost-effective energy source that increases exercise endurance (1), (2). A study showed that eating a banana as a carbohydrate source during a 75km cycling performance increased stamina and endurance (3).

2. Nuts 

Nuts are considered to be an instant-energy food. A fistful of nuts is a powerhouse of proteins, bioactive compounds, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (4). Thus, it is a healthy snack to build stamina.

Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help build exercise endurance and increase blood flow to the working muscles (5). Omega-3 fatty acids also act as an ergogenic supplement (substances that increase athletic performance) to improve the health and energy of muscles for exercise efficiency (5).

3. Brown Rice

Carbohydrates are a primary source of energy to keep you active throughout the day (6). About 100 g of medium-grain brown rice contains 112 kcal of energy, 2 g of fiber, 2 g of protein along with essential vitamins and minerals 100 g of medium-grain brown rice contains 112 kcal of energy, 2 g of fiber, 2 g of protein along with essential vitamins and minerals (7).

Brown rice is lower in starch and higher in fiber compared to white rice and, hence, takes longer to digest (6), (8). This helps keep the stomach full for longer, energizes the body, and helps maintain stamina levels. High-carbohydrate foods like rice help to relax your muscles and tissues and offer recovery from fatigue after strenuous exercise  (9).

4. Fatty Fish

Fish is incredibly nutritious and a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.About 100 g of wild salmon contains 142 kcal of energy, 20 g of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins (10).

A study showed that a decreased level of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to chronic fatigue and may reduce immunity (11). Salmon contains 3 mg of vitamin B12, and tuna (a fatty fish) contains 2 mg of vitamin B12 (10), (12). Vitamin B12 helps in energy metabolism, reduces fatigue, and increases stamina (13).

5. Eggs 

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods and a great source of protein. and great sources of protein and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (14). Protein-rich foods help build stamina, maintain positive energy balance, improve exercise endurance, and recover muscle protein remodeling and recovery after a workout (15), (16).

Leucine, an amino acid abundant in eggs, helps in energy metabolism and protein synthesis (14), (17).

6. Chicken 

Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. A whole skinless chicken contains 19 g of protein and 110 kcal of energy (18). High-protein food provides satiety, which leads to lower calorie and carbohydrate intake, and help build endurance, energy, and stamina in athletes (18), (19).

A study showed that chicken essence (a liquid extracted from chicken) can help improve health, metabolism, and exercise performance as well as provide relief from fatigue (20).

7. Apples 

Apples are loaded with energy-giving calories, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, vitamins, and minerals (21). Quercetin – a polyphenol found in apples – helps boost immunity, fights inflammation, and keeps you energetic for longer (22).

Apples are also high in fiber. Soluble fiber, such as that in the flesh of an apple, can help increase satiety, which keeps you feeling full and energetic for longer (23).

8. Sweet Potato 

We often avoid eating potatoes for the fear of gaining weight. However, sweet potatoes are filled with essential nutrients. About 100 g of sweet potato provides 86 kcal of energy, 20 g of carbs, 2 g of protein, and 3 g of fiber (24).

A study conducted on people with diabetes found that complex carbohydrates and fiber take a longer time to digest (25). Thus, they supply energy and help you stay alert for a longer time.

The manganese found in sweet potato helps in metabolizing nutrients to release energy constantly (24), (26).

9. Beans 

Beans are rich in nutrients and a natural source of energy. About 100 g of beans contain 337 kcal of energy, 23 g of protein, 61 g of carbs, and 15 g of fiber (27).

Beans contain slowly digestible starch that causes a slow release of carbs and maintains energy levels (28). They also contain a good amount of magnesium (27). Magnesium is necessary for accelerating biochemical pathways and releasing energy (29).

10. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits provide instant energy. They contain bioactive compounds, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (30). They are also a rich source of sugars that provide energy (31).

You can consume dried fruits when you have high glucose levels and are feeling weak. This is because dried fruits, like raisins, are high in sugar content but have a low glycemic index due to the bioactive compounds and fiber in them (32).

Dried fruitsare also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are responsible for providing energy, building stamina, and increasing exercise endurance (5), (33)

11. Coffee 

Coffee is the first thing that people think of to boost their energy when they are feeling low. Caffeine is a naturally occurring alkaloid present in coffee that helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness (34).

Caffeine stimulates and energizes your brain, making it alert and active. Though excess caffeine or coffee is harmful, it can be consumed in limited quantities to help treat migraines and build your stamina.

12. Dark Chocolate 

Dark chocolate contains more cocoa and caffeine than milk chocolate. It has a stronger taste and flavor and promotes satiety (35). Caffeine not only helps improve memory performance, but at low doses, it can also help reduce anxiety (36).

A study conducted at Kingston University (UK) shows that the consumption of dark chocolate increases exercise performance and helps deliver oxygen to the brain and muscles during moderate-intensity exercise (37).

Another study conducted on 30 healthy individuals showed that cocoa flavonols boost your mood and energy and help reduce mental fatigue (38).

13. Quinoa 

Quinoa is popular because of its protein content. About 100 g of quinoa contains 120 kcal of energy, 4 g of protein, 17.63 g of starch, and 3 g of fiber along with vitamins and minerals (39).

Slowly digestible starch aids the continuous supply of glucose and energy to the body, thereby building stamina and helping you stay active (28), (40).

14. Oatmeal 

Oatmeal is a whole grain that keeps you feeling full for longer. The beta-glucan and amylose content of oatmeal helps in the slow release of glucose (41. This may not only help in glucose management but also increase stamina and provide energy for longer.

15. Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent probiotic food to snack on daily. It is a good source of protein and contains vitamins B6 and B12, along with minerals like magnesium. About 100 g of yogurt provides 63 kcal of energy, 5 g of protein, 17 mg of magnesium (42).

B-vitamins are essential for mitochondrial functions to release energy and keep you active (43).

16. Pomegranate 

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals (44), (45). This fruit can help promote healthy bones, cardiovascular health, and boost immunity (44). Pomegranate supplementation can also help enhance exercise performance, build stamina, and increase endurance (46). You can enjoy a pomegranate bowl as a snack or top it on your cereals.

17. Peanut Butter 

Peanut butter is a concentrated source of energy that keeps you active for long. Two tablespoons (32g) of peanut butter provide 191 kcal of energy, 7 g of protein, 2 g of fiber, and 16 g of fat (47).

The omega-3 fatty acids in peanuts can help boost your energy and increase stamina (48). Since peanut butter has high calorie content, it takes a longer time to digest. Therefore, consuming peanut butter with complex carbohydrates like apples or whole grain bread can keep you full for a long time.

18. Citrus Fruits 

Citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, which can help improve your immunity (49). According to a study, people who consume higher amounts of vitamin C show fewer fatigue symptoms (50).

Therefore, drink a glass of citrus fruit juice or grab a fresh whole citrus fruit to keep your energy at the optimum level each day.

19. Green Tea 

Green tea is a healthy alternative to beverages like tea and coffee. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that helps reduce stress and anxiety levels (51).

A study conducted on mice found that green tea plays a promising role in increasing exercise endurance (52).

20. Green Leafy Vegetables 

Green leafy vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients and are also a great source of iron (53).

Fatigue is one of the symptoms of iron deficiency (54). Therefore, consuming green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and kale, can help boost energy and reduce fatigue. Green leafy vegetables also contain vitamin C that can helpfight fatigue (50), (53).

21. Beetroot 

Beetroot is a low-calorie, low-fat vegetable (55). It has gained popularity recently for increasing stamina and energy. Beetroot contains high levels of inorganic nitrate that increase the blood nitric acid concentration to provide continuous stamina and build exercise endurance 56).

Beets are also high in natural sugars (55). These sugars can help provide you energy throughout the day. Therefore, start your day with a glass of beetroot juice to support a healthy, active lifestyle.

22. Lentils 

Besides being a concentrated and inexpensive source of protein, lentils also provide energy and keep you feeling full throughout the day.

About 100 g of lentils contain 116 kcal of energy, 20 g carbs, and 8 g of fiber (57). Studies have shown that lentils delay gastric emptying, prolong the supply of energy, and improve satiety (58), (59).

23. Corn 

Corn is an excellent low-calorie, high-energy snack that one can enjoy easily (60).Corn or air-popped popcorn is relatively high in fiber. Therefore, it can help improve satiety and boost energy, while being low on carbohydrate content (60), (61).

24. Seeds 

Seeds like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds are a quick source of energy. Seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are helpful in reducing fatigue. Studies have shown that a decreased level of omega-3 fatty acids leads to chronic fatigue (5), (11). Therefore, include seeds in your breakfast cereals or munch on them as a snack to help boost your energy each day.

25. Strawberries 

These juicy fruits are loaded with natural sugars, making them the perfect choice to boost your energy.100 g of strawberries contains only 32 kcal of energy, 2 g of fiber, 7 g of carbs, and 5 g of natural sugar (62).

Strawberries also contains vitamin C that can help increase stamina and reduce physical fatigue (62), (49).

26. Soybeans 

Soybeans are the richest source of plant proteins and one of the best foods to increase stamina. They are high in insoluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals (63).

A study conducted on 179 healthy older adults found that soybeans can help increase muscular strength and provide stamina to sustain physical activity for a longer duration (64).

27. Edamame 

Edamame is a low-calorie snack that provides 12 g of protein, 9 g of carbs, and 5 g of fiber. It is also a power pack of vitamins and minerals like manganese, folate, and magnesium (65).

Vitamins and minerals help release energy and alleviate symptoms of low stamina like tiredness and fatigue (66).

28. Hummus 

Traditional hummus is a mix of boiled chickpea blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. It is a nutrient- and energy-dense dip that improves the nutrient profile of any meal (67).

Chickpea exhibits many health benefits. It is loaded with complex carbs, protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron (67). Eating iron-rich foods (like hummus) may help reduce fatigue and boost your strength (68). Enjoy hummus with pita bread, veggie sticks, or any snack of your choice.

Enjoy hummus with pita bread, veggie sticks, or any snack of your choice.

Check out some foods that are especially great for exercise in the next section.

Stamina-Building Foods For Exercise

Athletes require tons of energy to sustain their performance for longer durations. Some of these foods can indeed be tagged as superfoods as they help elevate the levels of stamina, endurance, and energy. Nutritious foods like bananas, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of energy to increase endurance and stamina.

Conclusion

There is a wide variety of foods that boost your energy and build stamina in your daily life. Foods that are loaded with macronutrients like carbs, protein, and fat act as fuel and aid energy release. Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals also play a supportive role in releasing energy from nutrients. So, if you are feeling low and tired, include some of these nutritious foods in your diet to stay alert!

68 sources

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Priyanka is a nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator. She has over 8 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics with a strong research background. She is passionate about science and how it can be applied to one’s daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine, and proper nutrition is key to achieving good health. She has also written a book on PCOS and its management for doctors and patients. When she is not working, she loves spending quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and endorses healthier alternatives to junk foods to promote good health.
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