Energy foods are just what they sound like. These are the foods that keep you alert and active without needing to resort to caffeine or less nutritionally sound artificial boosters. The best energy foods don't just fight morning fatigue; they also keep us moving all day. In addition to practicing good sleep hygiene, one of the best and simplest ways to raise your energy levels is to mix healthy energy foods into your daily diet. Whether you suffer from a chronic fatigue condition, or simply want to beat that afternoon slump, here are some great, energizing options to add to your weekly meal and snack rotation.
Peppermint increases mental alertness and lessens fatigue. Waking up to a morning cup of peppermint tea is a fantastic alternative to coffee, and is great for an afternoon energy boost. Peppermint is also a powerful digestive aid, and may even help headaches.
Water may seem like an obvious choice, but even mild dehydration can cause major energy slumps. Start your day with a large glass of water, and make sure to keep sipping throughout the day. Aim for approximately 64 ounces of pure, filtered water each and every day. And remember — the more physically active you are, the more water you'll need to keep your body adequately hydrated.
Fresh fruit is loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, and is one of your most reliably satisfying energy foods. Fresh bananas, oranges, apples, and berries are easy to tote around, pack as a snack or lunch, and will give you a dose of vitamins, minerals, and good carbs for a quick energy boost.
Almonds and walnuts are packed with fiber, beneficial fats, and vitamin E and omega-3s which make for a nutrient-dense energy boost that will curb hunger cravings. Nuts are easy to overeat, though, so keep your serving to around one ounce.
Asparagus is a high energy food rich in B vitamins. Asparagus is also a good choice since it provides a low glycemic, gradual energy release for sustained energy throughout the day.
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard are very rich in energy-promoting nutrients, as well as brain-boosting compounds like folate, calcium, vitamins K and C, and beta-carotene.
Dark chocolate contains the natural stimulant theobromine, which provides solid energy. Highly concentrated dark chocolate is also excellent for brain health; it's high in nutrients and antioxidants that reduce stress while amplifying energy and mental focus.
Beyond eating the right energy foods, it's important to pay attention to adequate hydration, sleep hygiene practices, and daily movement and exercise. Exercise not only tones and strengthens the body, but it releases energy-boosting endorphins and promotes a better quality of sleep. If you eat right, move your body, and stay hydrated each day, you will maximize your energy levels and feel better than ever!