Lack of energy can zap all the productivity from your day, not to mention make you grouchy and irritable. Reaching for a cup of coffee or an energy drink might caffeinate your way through the day, but only for a few hours, and being overly caffeinated isn’t exactly the healthiest way to find energy.
Instead, try snacking on a few of these energy-enhancing foods!
Fiber. Fiber slows digestion, providing a steady supply of energy throughout the day, as oppose to the blood sugar roller coaster most people are used to riding! In fact, most Americans get nowhere near the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber a day. Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who ate high-fiber wheat bran cereal suffered less emotional distress, experienced fewer cognitive difficulties, and were less fatigued than their counterparts who did not eat as much fiber. You don’t have to eat wheat bran to reap the benefits. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, as well as beans and other whole grains.
Whole Grains. Carbs are the body’s preferred source of fuel, providing the energy needed to keep our bodies functioning. Whole grains also raise serotonin levels! But avoid simple carbs and sugary snacks, which offer quick bursts of energy but only to be followed by a crash. Whole grains are digested much slower, keeping blood sugar levels steady and providing long lasting energy.
Protein. Pair carbs with some protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels, keeping levels from dipping too high or low. Hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and Greek yogurt are good snack choices. Lean meats like skinless chicken and turkey also contain the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts levels of dopamine and norepinephrine - brain chemicals that can help you feel more alert and focused!
Tea. Tea may be a better energy booster than coffee because along with the caffeine, tea also contains the amino acid l-theanine. This improves cognition more effectively than caffeine alone, according to a study published in Biological Psychology. Tea offers a lot of other health benefits, whether it’s black, white or green! Try green tea – it’s packed with anti-aging antioxidants, plus it reduces inflammation and can boost metabolism!
Water. Dehydration leads to fatigue. So chug some water, or eat fruits and vegetables high in water content, like watermelon!
Nuts and seeds. Magnesium helps convert glucose(sugar) into energy, so if you’re low in magnesium then you’re likely to feel tired! Snack on nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
Dark Chocolate. Polyphenols found in dark chocolate increase serotonin, which can reduce feelings of fatigue. Polyphenols combined with the caffeine in chocolate provide a boost in energy and mood.
A few extra energy-boosting tips:
Don’t skip meals. Eating regular meals helps fight fatigue by keeping your blood sugar balanced and energy levels high. That means you should always eat breakfast, and try to eat small meals every 3-4 hours.
Exercising, even in small 10 minute increments, can help boost energy levels.
Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, or at least get on a schedule that your body can get used to.
References: Fitbie, WebMD