The New Energy Foods: Helpful or Hype?

chia seeds
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You need to eat for energy, and what you put into your mouth matters. Some foods are energy sappers (think sugary treats that leave you in a slump). Others are tried-and-true ways to keep fatigue at bay all day long—like high-fiber quinoa.

Here are some other foods often cited as energy boosters, and the real deal on whether or not they deliver.

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Energy Foods: Helpful or Hype?

Chia seeds

Rumor has it that in the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures, people used these to pep up. Though they're no magic bullet, their mix of protein, fat, carbohydrates, iron and fiber makes them a smart addition to an all-around healthy (and invigorating) diet.

Energy Foods: Helpful or Hype?

Acai

Antioxidant-rich acai berries (and juice) may indirectly assist with the body's energy needs by protecting cells from free-radical damage. But protective antioxidants are found in many brightly colored fruits and veggies; there's no benefit to focusing on a single one.

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Energy Foods: Helpful or Hype?

Coconut water

Those liquid calories can add up, and the sugar could lead to pep-draining fluctuations in blood sugar. Bottom line, say experts: Plain water is better.

Energy Foods: Helpful or Hype?

Beet juice

Its rich stores of nitrates improve blood flow and reduce the oxygen needed by muscles during physical activity. Research from England found that athletes who drank beet juice were able to exercise 16 percent longer. Even nonathletes noted that low-impact activities, like walking, were easier after drinking 2 cups daily.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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