10 High Energy Foods For Optimal Performance

  • FDA Disclaimer
    The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. Learn More
  • Affliliate Disclosure
    In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site: Many of the links on DrJockers.com are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link. Learn More
  • Privacy Policy
    Please read the Privacy Policy carefully before you start to use DrJockers.com. By using DrJockers.com or by clicking to accept or agree to Terms of Use when this option is made available to you, you accept and agree to be bound and abide by the Privacy Policy. Learn More
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

energy foods

10 High Energy Foods For Optimal Performance

High level performers are always looking for strategies that will give them an edge in their field of endeavor.  Athletes want to run a split second faster and jump an inch higher while business executives want to have sharper mental clarity and improved working efficiency.  Specific meal timing and superfood strategies have been shown to optimize performance and recovery.  In this article, you will discover 10 high energy foods you can use each day for optimal performance.

We all want to perform at our peak no matter whether we are a teacher, stay at home mom, doctor or athlete.  It is also integral that we recover fast and effectively.   The goal is peak performance and quick and effective recovery so we can get up the next day and do it all over again.

Optimize Your Performance:

Performance in any field depends upon high level mental activity and often kinesthetic activity whether that be running or jumping or eye-hand coordination.  The keys for healthy function include good fats, antioxidants and clean protein sources.

Providing lots of clean healthy foods and meal timing properly can make a huge difference in your overall energy and daily performance.  Use the principles in this article to help guide you in preparing your body for great energy and daily performance in your daily life.


This is one of the very best high energy foods that you can use day and night.  Coconut is loaded with medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) that break down for energy very easily.

Unlike most fat sources which consist of long chain fatty acids these MCT’s do not depend upon bile and instead go right to the liver and are metabolized immediately for energy (1).  Muscle cells are also able to store MCT’s and use them immediately for energy during exercise sessions.

use coconut oil, 10 Great Ways to Use Coconut Oil

Bone Broth Protein:

Bone broth contains a wide variety of valuable nutrients including collagen, gelatin, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glycosamino glycans, proline, glycine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.  These all help with the development of healthy joints, bones, ligaments and tendons as well as hair and skin (2345)

These nutrients are considered beauty foods because they help the body with proper structural alignment and beautiful skin and hair.  They also help to prevent against injuries by strengthening joints, tendons and ligaments.  Additionally, bone broth is great for the immune system.

You can either make your own bone broth or you can buy it in many grocery and health food stores. Premade bone broth comes in both liquid and powdered forms. My favorite brand of liquid premade bone broth is Kettle & Fire (here) while my favorite powdered form is the bone broth power protein that you can use in smoothies and shakes to get more of these key nutrients.  We carry this product in a sugar-free vanilla and chocolate flavor.


Berries are loaded with antioxidants and are low in sugar.  Berries contain unique phytonutrients called anthocyanin’s that give them their strong pigments and allow them to handle intense sunlight.  Consuming these anthocyanin’s helps our bodies adapt to stress effectively (6).

Be sure to get your berries organic as the thin skin makes them susceptible to pesticides and they are highly contaminated with dangerous pesticides when produced on conventional farms.  Consuming berries as one of your high energy foods will improve your quality of life!

blueberries, 9 Ways Blueberries Boost Brain Function


This superfood is loaded with blood purifying chlorophyll and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.  Spinach also contains its own plant based steroids called phyoecdysteroids that boost the bodies ability to adapt to stress.  Phytoecdysteroids are similar to insect molting hormones and have been shown to dramatically increase glucose metabolism (7, 8, 9).

This keeps blood sugar levels stable and minimizes the need for the critical fat-storage hormone insulin.  Additionally, phytoecdysteroids increase human muscle tissue growth rates by 20% when applied in a culture medium (10).

Hemp and Pea Proteins

For sensitive cases where people have pronounced sensitivities I prefer to use either a hemp, brown rice or pea protein.  Pea protein appears to be the most hypoallergenic of all protein powders and has a 98% absorption rate.  This combination of  1% brown rice and 99% pea protein has a great blend of branched chain amino acids, lysine and arginine for lean body tissue development and good circulation

Pea & brown rice protein has also been shown to be very easy on the digestive system and the protein is fairly quickly assimilated into muscle tissue.  This is important because slower digesting and assimilating proteins have a greater chance of producing gas and making one feel bloated.  Most plant proteins have poor assimilation rates but pea, brown rice and hemp proteins are the rare exceptions.

These are loaded with sulfur containing amino acids like methionine and cysteine which are critical for glutathione production.  They are also a rich vegetarian source of branched chain amino acids.  They contain essential fatty acids and edestin and albumin which are similar to the makeup of human blood and these help with critical functions like DNA repair (11).

energy foods

Grass-Fed Butter:

Dairy from grass-fed cows is extraordinarily rich in essential fats and critical nutrients like vitamin K2 and magnesium.  The best foods from this group include grass-fed butter and ghee which are loaded with anti-inflammatory fats and antioxidants.

Grass-fed butter and ghee are also rich in conjugated linoleic acid, which helps burn fat and is anti-carcinogenic.  It is the best food source of the anti-inflammatory short chain fatty acid butyrate. Finally, it is full of choline which supports healthy brain and neurotransmitter production.  I use butter and ghee generously each day.

grass fed butter, 6 Powerful Nutrients and Ways to Use Grass Fed Butter

Red Onions:

Red onions are one of the high energy foods that are loaded with the flavonoid anti-oxidant quercetin.  They also contain sulfur containing amino acids that boost cysteine and glutathione production within the body.

Onions are a rich source of chromium which helps to regulate blood sugar levels as well.  Do your best to include onions in your meals each week.

energy foods

Grass-Fed Beef:

Cows that are fed a 100% green diet are loaded with antioxidants like carnosine and essential fatty acids.  Because cows have multiple stomachs and are able to fully digest grass (humans cannot) we are getting the benefits of this fully digested super-greens in a high protein food.

I love using grass-fed beef a few times a week as one of my high energy foods.  A fantastic source for grass-fed beef and pastured poultry is US Wellness Meats.



Avocados are loaded with good fats and carotenoid antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.  It is very easy on the digestive system and helps support optimal hormone function, muscle development and exercise recovery.

Use avocados in a variety of recipes on a daily basis as one of your high energy foods and you will see improved energy and mental clarity!

energy foods

Raw Chocolate:

This is one of the high energy foods that is rich in good fats and polyphenol antioxidants for fuel and recovery. Chocolate contains theobromine which is a natural cardiovascular stimulant that helps improve circulation throughout the body (12).

This is a food recommendation that most people have no issue with!  Be sure to avoid added sugar and milk chocolates that do not have the antioxidant levels that true dark chocolate or unprocessed cacao has.

energy foods

Proper Meal Timing: 

It is best to eat light before our times of performance to keep as much energy focused on the specific performance rather than on digestion.  Instead of food, turn to water, as optimal hydration correlates very strongly with great performance.  I try to stay super hydrated throughout the day and notice that as my water intake drops, my energy and mental acuity declines.

After the performance we want to have our largest meal to replenish our system with nutrients.  Ideally, you have your largest meal at the end of your day as opposed to the beginning of your day.  This helps your body to recover from the stresses of the day.  You are in a relaxed position at this point, as you no longer have to work hard and perform, so it allows you to digest and absorb the nutrients you need more effectively.  

This helps to take stress off of your gut lining and improves the integrity of your digestive system.  When you eat in a hurry or have a large meal before a stressful event or a busy day, you compromise your digestive system and cause more inflammation in the body.

Consume these high energy foods and time your meals correctly and you will notice how your performance and outlook on life changes for the better!  These ideas and much more I teach in our Navigating the Ketogenic diet program.  Opt-in here for more details and a FREE video training series I give you on advanced strategies to improve your performance.

Sources For this Article Include:

1. St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6. PMID: 18326600
2. Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 May;24(5):1485-96. PMID: 18416885
3. Deal CL, Moskowitz RW. Nutraceuticals as therapeutic agents in osteoarthritis. The role of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and collagen hydrolysate. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1999 May;25(2):379-95. PMID: 10356424
4. Choi SY, Kim WG, Ko EJ, Lee YH, Kim BG, Shin HJ, Choi YS, Ahn JY, Kim BJ, Lee HJ. Effect of high advanced-collagen tripeptide on wound healing and skin recovery after fractional photothermolysis treatment. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2014 Dec;39(8):874-80. PMID: 25283252
5. Choi SY, Ko EJ, Lee YH, Kim BG, Shin HJ, Seo DB, Lee SJ, Kim BJ, Kim MN. Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: a prospective, randomized, controlled study. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2014 Jun;16(3):132-7. PMID: 24131075
6. Zhao M, Wang P, Zhu Y, Liu X. Blueberry anthocyanins extract inhibits acrylamide-induced diverse toxicity in mice by preventing oxidative stress and cytochrome P450 2E1 activation. Link Here
7. Báthori M, Tóth N, Hunyadi A, Márki A, Zádor E. Phytoecdysteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids–structure and effects on humans. Curr Med Chem. 2008;15(1):75-91. PMID: 18220764
8. Schmelz EA, Grebenok RJ, Ohnmeiss TE, Bowers WS. Interactions between Spinacia oleracea and Bradysia impatiens: a role for phytoecdysteroids. Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2002 Dec;51(4):204-21. PMID: 12432520
9. Syrov VN, Iuldasheva NKh, Égamova FR, Ismailova GI, Abdullaev ND, Khushbaktova ZA. [Estimation of the hypoglycemic effect of phytoecdysteroids]. Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2012;75(5):28-31. Russian. PMID: 22834126
10. Gorelick-Feldman J, Maclean D, Ilic N, Poulev A, Lila MA, Cheng D, Raskin I. Phytoecdysteroids increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3532-7. PMID: 18444661
11. Rodriguez-Leyva D, Pierce GN. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2010;7:32
12. Corti R, Flammer AJ, Hollenberg NK, Lüscher TF. Cocoa and cardiovascular health. Circulation. 2009 Mar 17;119(10):1433-41. PMID: 19289648

red onions, 10 Benefits of Red Onions and How To Use Them

Was this article helpful?
Dr. Jockers

Dr David Jockers is passionate about seeing people reach their health potential in mind, body and spirit. He is the host of the popular “Dr Jockers Functional Nutrition” podcast and the author of the best-selling books, “The Keto Metabolic Breakthrough” and “The Fasting Transformation.”


Energy Nutrition

Let's Improve Your Health Today!

Get instant access to 2 FREE eBooks when you subscribe to Dr. Jockers’ newsletter.


"Join my tribe today to discover hidden strategies to improve your energy, brain, digestion & metabolism."

— Dr. David Jockers
Dr Jockers




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.