Have you ever thought about which foods really give you energy and stamina to last through the day and some part of the night as well? 24/7 and then 365 days a year? Because the truth is that many of us go about the day looking listless and energy-sapped. So, if there were one magic potion we would all like to conjure up and drink as we go about running all through the day (in our battle for sustenance, as it were), it would have to be the ENERGY potion. 

If you are short of energy, you have probably neglected what you intake in your high-stakes life. This has led to an unhealthy lifestyle that actually does not support the activities you strive to slot in your day-to-day life. So, it is time to eat with some discretion to fuel your system properly.  

Who needs high energy?

It is not only people who do hard physical labour or athletes and sportspersons who need high energy and stamina. Even homemakers with gruelling schedules and students with their heavy workloads, as well as professionals who have to work long hours in mentally draining jobs, need to keep an eye on the sort of food they are eating to keep their energy levels high.

Are there some foods that give us more energy than others? What are these special energy-giving foods? Does your prakruti or constitution warrant a special/unique diet? If so, what are they? We will explore all this in this article, which will enable you to perform all your activities with renewed vigour and energy. 

10 Foods that can increase your energy and stamina

1. Bananas – You would have seen sportspersons take a few bites of a banana during their breaks. So, bananas, as a source of energy, don’t really need an introduction. They are sources of complex carbs, potassium, and Vitamin B6 – all of these help increase your energy levels. For building stamina, complex carbs are essential. They also have Vitamin C, an essential immunity booster in Covid times.

Note: It would be best to avoid bananas if you have a cold or cough.

2. Brown rice – This is another great source of complex carbs. It is rich in fibre and Vitamin B complex. It does not have as much starch as white rice, so it is easier to digest while keeping you feeling full and energized the whole day.  

3. Lentils – They are great sources of protein, iron, manganese, and folate, which helps reduce fatigue. It helps the cells of the body to break down food for energy. In particular, green gram (moong dal) is safe to take every day. 

4. Beetroot juice – Sportspersons would be familiar with the ABC drink – apple, beetroot, and carrot juice. Beetroot juice is filled with iron, manganese, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and many other nutrients vital for your packed day. This power drink energizes you while keeping you feeling fresh and light on your feet all day. 

Nutrients essential for high energy and stamina

  1. Complex carbohydrates
  2. Fibre
  3. Iron
  4. Vitamin C

5. Indian gooseberry (amla) juice – This is also a great source of Vitamin C to guard against the superspreader virus at bay. It also has a lot of fibre content in it. You can take this detoxifying drink in the morning – it helps in digestion as well as in energizing you. Amla is also a good addition to the diet of meditators.

6. Sweet potatoes – If you are looking for that extra boost in your day, sweet potatoes are a great way to go. With a generous mix of complex carbohydrates, fibre, manganese, and Vitamin A, this should be a definite addition to your diet chart. As the body breaks down the sugars in sweet potatoes slowly, it releases energy over the day, keeping you active all day long.

7. Fruits 

  • Apple is high in sugars and fibre. Moreover, the antioxidants present in apples help break down the nutrients slowly, leading to a slow but sustained release of energy. This ensures that you are energized all through the day. 
  • Pomegranates are another good choice of fruits, especially as most of the nutrition comes from carbohydrates. This helps keep your heart healthy and also regulates your blood pressure. 
  • Bael fruit is another option with nutrients like protein, Vitamin B complex, and Vitamin C in it. It is an ideal summer drink that cools the system and boosts your energy levels.

8. Herbs and spices – Herbs such as Ashwagandha, ginseng, and Brahmi have energy-boosting properties that increase the functioning of your brain, improving your memory power and alertness. They also alleviate fatigue and lethargy and calm you, reducing stress levels. These increase your energy levels and stamina to endure for long periods of time. 

9. Quinoa – With its high protein, carbohydrate, fibre content and essential amino acids, quinoa is ideal for boosting your energy levels. The body can break down this heavy food slowly, releasing energy over a long period, helping you endure. It would be best to choose quinoa based on the availability in your region.

10. Nuts and dry fruits – These are great additions to your energy-giving diet meals. Nuts have proteins, carbs, and healthy fats that can help you feel fit and active. Dates, figs, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds can all contribute towards increasing your energy levels.


  1. You can add millet in your diet if it is grown in your locality. It can be a part of your fasting or detox diet routine.
  2. If your body prakruti or constitution is Kapha, you can consider taking oatmeal once in a while. This is a carbohydrate that you could make a quick and filling breakfast of. It gives you a feeling of fullness and energy all day long. They are gluten-free, whole grains that contain many important vitamins, magnesium, iron, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.

Words of wisdom by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar about the food you eat:

  1. Make a conscious choice about the food that goes into your system every day. 
  2. Respect the food on your plate – as you would your life. It is what helps you function. This is one of the most basic lessons of our life. Remember that the food on your plate is life. 
  3. Eat food that makes you feel alive. If you feel dull after eating it, it is not good for you. And your body is telling you that.

Tip: During the hot summer months, herbal teas and light juices like lemon juice can help cool the system and make you feel refreshed and energetic. 

When to eat high energy-giving foods 

Since all these high-energy-giving foods are complex carbohydrates, they are heavy foods that need time to digest. So, it is advisable to eat them in the morning to keep you going all day long. And your body has time to digest them during the most active time of your day.

Foods to avoid

  • There are some instant energy-giving foods such as caffeinated foods – coffee, tea, and some energy drinks. But it would be best to avoid them as they have other side effects.  
  • Also, avoid deep-fried and oily foods. While fat is a source of energy, this will just make you feel sluggish and lethargic. 
  • As always, refined sugar and processed foods also promise high energy content, but skip them for these tastier and healthier substitutes.

What else can you do to boost energy?

  • Eat heavy foods earlier in the day
  • Spread your meals to have small portions at regular intervals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get adequate sleep at night time

Energy-giving food chart for different constitutions

Making the right choice of foods is about aligning a healthy diet with your body’s needs, its constitution, and your food preferences. When you pay attention to your body, you will find yourself feeling fit, energetic, and able to endure for long hours. And with the right foods, you will be able to sustain the diet pattern without feeling aversions and cravings for food. Here is a food chart to help you plan your diet:

Prakruti/constitution & balancing tastesVata – Sweet, sour & saltyKapha – Bitter, pungent & astringentPitta – Bitter, astringent & sweet
Foods that increase energy and staminaSweet potato, brown rice, spicesMoong dal (Green gram lentils), apples, cauliflower,legumesQuinoa, spices
BreakfastBrown rice poha/ ragi banana pancakes, idlimoong dal dosaRagi kanji with coconut milk, idlis
LunchMakke Ki Roti-Sarson Ka Saag/ sweet potato curry, daliya, red riceMoong dal sprouts, millets and lentils khichdi, fresh buttermilkQuinoa rice daliya, khichdi, tapioca, tubers, sweet potato curry
DinnerButternut squash soup/ Pumpkin curry/ Brown rice and lentils khichdiMixed vegetable soups, Bajra roti with leafy greens and gourdsPumpkin, herbs & spices soup, Lemongrass rice with green curries
RecipesVata pacifying recipesKapha pacifying recipesPitta pacifying recipes

As Ayurveda respects the individual body and its special requirements, it is always best to assess your body’s requirements with an Ayurvaidya here.

Balance your energy-giving diet with some energy-giving activities such as yoga and meditation. You can get an ideal blend of yoga, pranayama, meditation, and ancient wisdom from Ayurveda in the Art of Living Happiness Program.

(Based on inputs from Dr. Sharika Menon, Ayurvaidya, The Art of Living)