10 foods that keep you awake

If you had a sleepless night and you have to work or do some activity, you can choose to eat foods that keep you awake. We tell you what they are.

Last update: December 16, 2021

Nothing better to rest the mind than sleep. However, your routine forces you to get up very early, even when you want to continue sleeping. The first thing you think of is one or more cups of coffee, not knowing that you can consume some foods that keep you awake throughout the day.

These products are healthy, energetic, provide nutrients and components that improve concentration. Instead, according to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine intake should be limited, as high levels could affect health. This organization recommends no more than four cups of coffee or two energy drinks a day.

The foods that keep you awake provide the necessary components that go into wakefulness. Would you be interested in knowing what they are? We will tell you.

Why is it important to be active in our day to day?

When we work or study for a long time without being able to take a nap, the brain gets tired and loses concentration. Then, the day becomes a challenge that can affect our performance.

On the other hand, it is proven that people who activate their brain and their physical state have a better quality of life, relate better, have more initiative and are more independent. Mental health is as important as physical health.

The psychiatrist Rodríguez-Solano explains that there is evidence about certain foods whose components increase concentration, fight stress, they improve cognitive processes and keep you awake. Now we show you 10 of them.

Foods that keep you awake

Review your diet and include the following foods that keep you awake without consuming so much caffeine. So you can overcome the discouragement of the afternoon.

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a cereal with recognized health benefits. The nutritionist Marilú Terrones explains that the main reason for considering it a functional food is because of its high levels of soluble fiber, such as beta-glucan.

The presence of this fiber determines the glycemic index (GI) of oats, that is, how quickly it raises the level of sugar in the blood. The Spanish Nutrition Foundation explains that everything will depend on how you consume it. For example, rolled oats have a GI of 53, which is considered low. But in instant oatmeal the value is 75.

Having a cup of rolled oatmeal for breakfast helps the body maintain adequate blood sugar levels throughout the day. Thus, you get the energy you need to stay active and improve performance.

Oatmeal is a food with multiple health benefits. Did you know that it helps you stay focused?

2. Bananas

The Spanish Nutrition Foundation describes the plantain, banana or cambúr as a fruit rich in carbohydrates and energy. When they mature, starch is converted into simple, fast-absorbing sugars. Sucrose, glucose and fructose predominate, so when you feel weak or bored and with a lot of work to do, you can eat a 160 gram serving of banana and get an extra 100 calories.

For that reason, the banana is the fruit by preference that is consumed when starting a sporting event. In addition, a single banana can provide 23% of the potassium you need per day.

A group of pharmacists published that banana contains 41% of the daily requirement of vitamin B6. This helps improve mood in people with depression.

A book on schizophrenia and depression comments that vitamin B6 is made up of 3 molecules: pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal. This vitamin participates in the metabolism of several neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

3. Vegetables and fruits

In the book Food and sleep it is highlighted that vegetables and fruits are more than 95% water. In particular, endives, celery, onion, aubergine, cucumber, melon, orange, strawberries and peaches. This amount of water keeps you hydrated.

Also, vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants. Never consume them at night, because they can interfere with sleep.

4. Pineapple

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is produced from the amino acid tryptophan. Not all foods contain it. Serotonin acts as a natural antidepressant. In an article on natural antidepressants, pineapple is highlighted as a stimulant of physical well-being and an ally against frustration.

Pineapple contains enough tryptophan to stimulate brain activity, generating vitality and calming anxiety. Plus, it’s loaded with energy from simple carbohydrates like sucrose, fructose, and glucose. This is how it is among the foods that keep you awake.

5. Foods rich in protein

A review of the magazine Advances in Nutrition comments that foods rich in protein take a long time to digest and therefore increases satiety. This allows the person to stay active for more hours.

On the other hand, having a meal rich in protein gives you the opportunity to get a good night’s sleep. Thus, the person wakes up more spirited and feels alert when waking up. This helps reduce the impact of afternoon tiredness.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that the highest protein foods are eggs, meats, legumes, seeds, nuts, yogurt, and popcorn. Some of them can be used as snack in the afternoon or mid-morning.

6. Ripened or fermented foods

During the ripening process of some cheeses, such as blue, the gouda, the brie and Parmesan, amino acids are released from proteins. One of them is tyrosine, which will later form the biogenic amine tyramine. This amine stimulates the release of norepinephrine, a brain activator that can keep you awake.

Other foods with tyramine include sour cream, yogurt, sauerkraut, cured meat products, and fermented ones. In the middle of the afternoon, eating a piece of ripened cheese will counteract the dream.

The Journal of Neurology reports that the amino acid tyrosine present in citrus fruits, red meats, sausages, in tea and coffee is used as a precursor of neurotransmitters that keep us awake and active. So we can combine a piece of cheese with a kiwi juice.

7. Green smoothies

The ingredients with which green smoothies are made, such as spinach, contain enough iron so that some of it is absorbed into the blood. The body needs iron to make hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry oxygen to different organs.

If you combine these smoothies with fruits rich in vitamin C, such as guava and grapefruit, iron absorption is favored. When the body has an optimal hemoglobin level, it works better, as fatigue disappears.

8. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is considered the purest of all chocolates, as it has more than 75% cocoa. According to the magazine Nutrición Hospitalaria, it is a stimulating product, as well as coffee, tea, mate and guarana. It contains caffeine to a lesser extent and other methylxanthines, such as theobromine and theophylline.

The mechanism of action is due to its ability to block a brain modulator called adenosine, which encourages sleep. In this way, it keeps us awake. Convictions magazine considers that eating 20 grams of dark chocolate could bring cardiovascular benefits. Remember that we are talking about dark chocolate, not the one that comes mixed with milk and sugar.

9. Nuts

Nuts are an important source of protein, so they produce satiety. They also contain fiber, B vitamins, minerals, polyunsaturated fats, and natural antioxidants. Their healthy fat content provides energy, but you should eat them in moderation.

A review by a group of doctors concluded that moderate daily consumption of any nut in the diet of adults could improve cognitive function. Nuts also contain tryptophan.

The handful of nuts that is recommended daily not only has cognitive benefits, but also cardiovascular benefits.

10. Food sources of healthy fats

Not all fats are harmful. Omega-3 fatty acids have benefits that include good brain development, better memory, and increased performance. Among the options we have salmon, nuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.

Some studies show that frequent consumption of healthy fats improves symptoms of depression and anxiety. Other trials showed that adding more omega-3 fatty acids to the diet can improve memory and performance in children.

You can roast the seeds and nuts to take them as a snack. This will concentrate some vitamins and its flavor will be even more palatable, especially for the little ones.

Nurture your brain to keep you awake

Substances that are only stimulants activate the brain, but do not nourish it. One way to nurture and stimulate it at the same time is making small changes in diet and checking if we eat in a balanced and healthy way.

We must include certain foods that contain nutrients and active components that help us to be awake in our daily journey. Add the oats, nuts, banana and green leaves. If you have any questions, consult a nutritionist.

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