Low energy levels are the most common complaint I hear in my practice and among friends. Unfortunately, our busy, sleep-deprived, modern lifestyles leave almost everyone feeling chronically tired. Most people turn to unhealthy pick-me-ups that, while effective in the short-term, take a toll on health and create hormonal imbalances that exacerbate fatigue in the long-term. It's important to develop healthy habits that leave you feeling well rested rather than rely on energy boosts to compensate for sleep deprivation and bad habits.
Diet contributes enormously to overall energy levels. Simple tweaks, along with the addition of certain foods, can pick you up during an energy slump or even help you avoid them altogether. Here are six foods that fight fatigue and leave you feeling more energized.
Even being mildly dehydrated makes you tired and less able to concentrate. Make sure that you stay well hydrated by drinking at least half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water. For an added boost of vitamins and enzymes, squeeze in some lemon. Monitor your urine to ensure that it is almost clear—an indicator of good hydration.
There is something innately refreshing and energizing about having a sip of this cold, carbonated drink. It also happens to be a pretty good source of B vitamins—which are required for energy production—and probiotics. Probiotics improve digestion, and if your body does not have to work as hard to digest your food, then you will have more energy to use elsewhere.
This amazing root from Peru provides a boost of energy, enhances stamina, endurance, and libido, and balances hormones (both for men and women). Maca works as an adaptogen, meaning that it tailors its function, or “adapts,” according to the current needs of your body. It’s sold in powder form and is super easy to throw into a smoothie like ALOHA's "First Date" Smoothie.
4. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate has many health benefits, one of which is boosting energy. In addition to a very small amount of caffeine (0.2 to 0.4 percent, compared to coffee’s 1.2 to 1.4 percet), dark chocolate contains theobromine, a mild, natural stimulant. Look for varieties that are at least 70 percent and that have as few ingredients as possible and enjoy a couple squares as a pick-me-up.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, nuts and seeds fill you up, keep your blood sugar stable, and provide long-lasting energy. They’re also super convenient. Just keep some in a plastic bag at your desk or in your purse for an easy, quick snack. Choose raw varieties for maximum nutrition.
6. Coffee and Tea
Coffee in moderation (one, maybe two, cups per day) provides a very effective energy boost. That being said, coffee should be consumed responsibly and should not be used as a crutch. Caffeine can worsen fatigue in the long run if you regularly use it to compensate for poor sleep habits or lifestyle choices. It also increase adrenal issues, so don't drink too much. Try to stop drinking it by 2 p.m. at the latest to avoid disrupting your sleep. With tea you will still get the benefits of caffeine—like an increase in energy and alertness—without the crash. The amino acid, l-theanine, found in tea reduces stress and promotes relaxation. L-theanine calms the body without reducing the overall affects of the caffeine intake. Try ALOHA Energy Tea (or any of the ALOHA teas), for an energizing boost.
Protein is an important component in all of the body's processes. It helps build and repair cell tissue. When protein is digested it is broken down into individual amino acids, and then to α-keto acids that can be recycled in the body for the production of energy. Protein provides a much slower, but longer lasting form of energy than carbohydrates. For 18 grams of plant-based protein try ALOHA Protein Powder, available in both vanilla and chocolate.
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