If you’re one of the 83% of adult Americans that rely on their morning cup of coffee to get them out of bed, we know how hard it is for you to imagine a caffeine-free world. Coffee is deeply ingrained in Western culture and most regular coffee drinkers consume more than one cup per day.
When our energy levels hit rock bottom around mid-afternoon, we all crave a quick fix in the form of a caffeinated drink. According to a recent USDA report, women in their 30’s consume about 165 milligrams of coffee each day, while at age 50, the daily average rises to 225 milligrams. It’s safe to conclude that we our civilization is experiencing an energy crisis of gigantic proportions, and in our everyday struggle to boost energy levels and productivity, we’ve learned to rely on coffee more than we actually should.
In fact, drinking coffee to combat exhaustion is like putting a bandage on a bullet wound – it doesn’t really address nor fix the root issue. It probably will alleviate the symptoms of fatigue for a while, but too much of it on a regular basis will drain your energy instead of boost it, as well as wreak havoc in your hormonal system. More specifically, excess caffeine acts as a stressor to the body and causes an increase in stress hormones – especially cortisol – which then enhance fatigue instead of eliminating it.
There’s no harm in enjoying a cup of coffee now and then, but relying on a 5-cup daily habit to help you power through the day is a very ineffective strategy. The best way to beat fatigue for real is eating energy boosting foods that can supply you with a fresh stream of vital nutrients that will revitalize your body and mind.
These foods are packed with protein, complex carbs and healthy fats that will keep you satiated for a long time and help avoid the dreaded mid-afternoon energy crash. Next time when you’re feeling sluggish, instead of automatically reaching for a refill of coffee, try some of these 7 highly-nutritious snacks to bolster your flagging energy reserves!
The classic bowl of oats can be more than a healthy way to start your day – oatmeal has the power to refuel your tank at any time of the day, thanks to its low-glycemic index and high-fiber content. Since it takes quite some time for your body to digest, absorb and metabolize it, oatmeal can keep you going strong long after breakfast time, and it won’t cause the insulin spikes and sugar crashes typical for all sugar-packed processed snacks. In addition, oats also contain B-vitamins like niacin, thiamin and folate, which work together to help your body metabolize energy more efficiently.
For extra energy-boosting benefits, add a handful of almonds to your favorite oatmeal variety. Almonds are a great source of magnesium, a key mineral for healthy brain function that can boost your cognitive abilities and keep you sharp all day long.
#2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a natural energy and mood booster that will turn up your endorphin production for a quick pick-me-up. Not only does it taste great, it also contains a variety of flavonoids and other immune-boosting nutrients, including theobromine and tryptophan, which have the ability to enhance your mind power and neutralize dangerous free radicals at the same time.
A study from the University of Nottingham found that chocolate can provide an energy lift by boosting blood flow to key areas of the brain for up to three hours. That being said, the darker the better – brands with high amounts of cocoa mass contain more of the beneficial compounds and less sugar.
You might have never thought about it, but sardines are an excellent low-calorie, low-carbohydrate food with incredible health-boosting properties as well as an ability to deliver a quick and lasting energy boost. You can enjoy them as a healthy snack or regular meal, but be sure to add them to your regular diet couple of times per week because they are pretty close to the perfect energy food that can enhance your overall vitality.
Just like other richly oiled cold-water fish, they are a nutritional powerhouse that offers decent amounts of iron, vitamins A, B, C, D and E, first-class protein and, of course, omega-3 fatty acids, all of which will work together to keep your body and mind alert and smooth-functioning; and since they contain no carbs, they can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the vitamin B12 found in sardines is essential for the conversion of food into energy, while the omega-3 fatty acids will reduce fatigue-inducing inflammation.
But perhaps most importantly, they’re abundant in iron, the mineral that plays a vital role in the supply of oxygen to red blood cells and energy production. Lastly, sardines are one of the few foods that contain the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10, which combats free radicals and enhances physical energy. Enjoy them in salads, with crackers or straight out of the can, just make sure to avoid brands that contain soybean or cottonseed oils.
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