Put down the energy drinks, and pick up one of these healthier options.
You’re sitting at your desk, working hard, when suddenly your mind wanders and you find yourself falling asleep with eyes open. We’ve all been there. When you’re working hard and your brain feels like it’s working overtime, you may depend on caffeinated stimulants like coffee, soda, or energy drinks to stay alert.
Unfortunately, these things are not only loaded with sugar, but they also cause you to unnaturally gain energy, leading to a crash later. And even if you don’t crash, chances are you’ve experienced the headache that accompanies caffeine withdrawals.
To avoid the sleepiness and the crash, here a few foods that not only pack powerful nutrients, but also are notable for their energy boosting properties.
Nuts have long been hailed for being an amazing protein-packed snack, but almonds in particular are also great for improving energy. Besides having 3.5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein (in 1 ounce), almonds also boast high amounts of vitamin E, potassium, Manganese, and Magnesium. The magnesium is the key: it is important in converting sugar to energy. So, eating almonds helps your body use sugars more efficiently, boosting your energy levels. In addition to this, almonds are great antioxidant boosters and can help lower blood pressure!
If you’ve ever heard about superfoods, chances are, you’ve heard of the goji berry. The superfruit is known for its medicinal history in China. For centuries, gojis have been used to treat everything from eye problems to kidney troubles. As a good source of vitamins C and A, fiber, iron, zinc, other trace minerals, and tons of antioxidants, it’s not surprising that adding the dried fruit to your diet can improve energy levels. Believed to improve blood flow (and thus oxygenation of the blood) and the release of hormones, gojis are known to uplift moods, reduce stress, and help people maintain higher energy levels!
Another popular superfood is Salmon, which is king of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These anti-inflammatory acids combined with Salmon’s protein and antioxidants make it a great superfood. It is also full of B-vitamins (which help with inflammation). Omega-3s are known to improve mood and metabolism, in addition to boosting brain function. All of these benefits help to reduce risk of heart disease, promote a healthy weight, protect your brain, and improve your body’s ability to stay energize. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more alert if you add salmon (preferably wild) to your diet!
If you haven’t heard Chia seeds outside of old commercials begging you to plant them, you’ve been missing out. Like Salmon, Chia seeds are full of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. An energy powerhouse, Chia seeds are originally from Mexico and cultivated by the Aztecs; they’ve provided protein, fiber, and calcium for millennia. The seed itself is dense, but with a light nutty flavor, so it can be added to anything: salads, yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal. Chia seeds improve cognitive function and allows your body to metabolize quickly for a fast, easy energy boost.
Cacao is the raw, purest form of chocolate. The advantages of dark chocolate has been a long debated topic, but cacao has all those benefits and more. It is full of antioxidants (40 times the amount in blueberries!), iron, magnesium, calcium, and is a natural anti-depressant. You really can’t lose with Cacao–fair trade cacao is better for farmers in indigenous areas, and doesn’t contain the chemicals of normal cocoa either. It’s possible to buy unprocessed cacao (whole bean or powdered) at most health food stores. You can add it to anything you’d use chocolate in, and it will boost your mood and energy levels without the extra sugar or chemicals.
Traditionally a Peruvian root, Maca Powder is great for energy, as it works to balance hormones and reduces stress. Maca is full of amazing nutrients: magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins B1 and B2, just to name a few. Maca Powder is a jack of all trades kind of superfood–long known for its medicinal properties, Maca is used for all kinds of ailments, from infertility to poor memory. Giving you a protein and mineral boost, a small amount Maca Powder added to a morning smoothie can help you feel better and more energized throughout your busy day.
Finding way to maintain your health and stay awake throughout the day can be a challenge, but anything is better than a triple-shot vanilla latte from the caf down the street.
“Finding little ways to stay energized throughout the day is important, but drinking energy drinks and coffee isn’t healthy. Natural foods are a better, more healthful option for boosting energy levels,” says Rose Burberry-Martin, Marketing Coordinator for Chisholm, Chisholm, & Kilpatrick. “Too much coffee can lessen your endurance and effect your ability to continue working day to day.”