#1 Vitamin B-12
Silken tofu dessert with currants and lavender syrup
You may have heard of people getting B-12 shots for energy and wondered why there was all the hype. As it turns out, a large number of the population is potentially deficient in this vitamin (15-40% depending on which study you review), leaving people with lower energy levels, trouble focusing, and other effects like tingling in their fingers and toes.
Who is most at risk of a deficiency? People who’ve undergone gastric bypass surgery and those who suffer from an intestinal disorder, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease, have a greater chance of not getting enough of this energy enhancing vitaimin their bodies can’t adequately absorb it.
Foods high in B-12 are beef, mackerel, clams, crab, silken tofu, Swiss cheese and eggs.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): 2.4 micrograms per day.
#2 Vitamin B Complex
Although vitamin B-12 definitely deserves its own mention, all of the B vitamins aid in the production of energy. The other B vitamins are: thiamine (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), biotin (B-7), and folic acid (B-9).
Not only are is it great at giving you a little added oomph, but a vitamin B complex may also help prevent strokes, cardiovascular disease and even depression. So, not only will you feel better right now when you take a B complex, but you’ll also enjoy a lifetime of potential health too!
You can always take a supplement to make sure you get your RDA, but you can also find B vitamins in a number of foods, such as wheat germ, spinach, salmon, potatoes and legumes.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): Thiamin – 1.1 micrograms per day, Riboflavin – 1.1 micrograms per day, Niacin – 14 milligrams per day, Pantothenic Acid – 5 milligrams per day, Pyridoxine – 1.3 milligrams per day, Biotin – 30 micrograms per day, Folic Acid – 400 micrograms per day.
#3 Vitamin D
Vitamin D not only helps boost your energy levels, but it also gives you strong bones so that you have the strength to live an active lifestyle. After all, what good is a bunch of energy if you’re spending a majority of your time laid up with bone breaks and fractures?
To get adequate amounts of vitamin D in your body, you have two options. You can get it in your diet via foods like milk and/or fish (herring, catfish and salmon are the highest) or by taking a supplement, or you can spend some time in the sun and soak it up via the warm, soothing rays.
All it takes is 15 minutes daily. Any more than that and you risk the adverse effects of too much sun, such as skin cancer.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): 600 International Units (IUs).
#4 Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (also known as CoQ10) is essential for overall good health because it keeps your cells functioning at their most basic level. Additionally, it works to keep your cardiovascular system running optimally, which is very important when engaging in regular physical activity. As you age, your body naturally produces less and less and smoking reduces your levels too.
You can buy a coenzyme Q10 supplement at most any health store, but it can also be found in certain foods, like fish, organ foods (such as liver and kidneys), as well as whole grains.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): There is not one so you may want to consult with your doctor to find out what amount is best for you.
raw bloody beef steaks
If you suffer from a chronic lack of energy, your doctor may wish to test your iron levels. If you don’t have much iron in your body, you may be low in iron or anemic, both of which bring about fatigue (in addition to other signs of anemia such as unusually fast heartbeat when engaging in exercise, pale skin and dizziness).
To make sure you get enough iron daily, eat foods such as red meat, egg yolks, liver, dried fruit and iron fortified cereals. Combine them with foods that contain a lot of vitamin C (think oranges, cantaloupe, green pepper and tomato juice) and your body will absorb the iron easier.
Before taking a supplement, check with your doctor as it can be hard on your stomach and intestines.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): 500 milligrams per day.
When it comes to the production of energy, magnesium is right up there. In fact, it aids in many bodily functions, like keeping your blood pressure stable, your nerves and muscles functioning properly and your blood sugar on an even keel. All of these help you feel your best and allow you to have enough energy to make it through your busy day.
Some foods that are naturally high in magnesium include almonds and cashews, spinach, shredded wheat and soymilk. It is also found in bread, avocado, black beans and peanut butter, amongst other things.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): 310-320 milligrams per day.
Finally, to get and keep your energy levels running high, you’ll want to make sure you get enough zinc in your body. It helps keep your immune system strong, aids in growth and, a lesser known fact is that it allows you to properly smell and taste (which are two things that most women LOVE to do).
How do you get enough zinc daily? In addition to supplementation, you can get zinc in your diet via oysters, beef, crab, cereal and lobster. It can also be found in pork, chicken, baked beans and yogurt.