Are afternoon slumps in energy holding your productivity back? A power nap may give you the extra push you need to keep going, but this isn’t a practical everyday solution. If you’re regularly feeling low in energy, despite getting enough sleep, it’s time to reconsider how you’re fueling your day. These energy-boosting foods and supplements can help.
When your energy is low, hydration should be top-of-mind. This is because tiredness is a key sign of dehydration! Your body is around 60 percent water, which it relies on to circulate vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that keep your brain, muscle, and other tissues energized. Losing as little as 1 percent of your mass in water has been shown to impact your attention span, memory, and mood.
Lentils are a premium source of plant-based protein—your body’s go-to source of energy when carbohydrate and fat stores run low. The amino acids from protein are used to build and repair muscle tissue, blood hemoglobin, and hormones, which are key players in physical and mental stamina. Rather than fueling your day with fast-burning carbs from starchy snacks, the low-glycemic index carbs in lentils will give you gradual, longer lasting energy.
Don’t let a long, grueling day at the office ruin your workout! Ashwagandha is a rejuvenating Ayurvedic herb with great energizing potential. Active adults who supplement with ashwagandha daily have been found to enhance their cardiorespiratory endurance and muscle strength. Ashwagandha can also help with recovery by boosting your energy levels and taking the edge off post-exercise fatigue—so you’re ready for another amazing workout.
Spinach is a fantastic source of iron and magnesium—key players in keeping up your energy and mental sharpness. Just one cup of boiled spinach supplies about 34 percent of the daily value (DV) of iron, which is needed to boost oxygen uptake in your brain, muscles, and organs. A cup of boiled spinach also fulfills 38 percent DV of magnesium, to fuel the energy production, nerves, and muscle movement that’s critical to an active lifestyle.
If stress is draining your mental energy, ginseng may help. This amazing rhizome has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as an energy-boosting tonic. Its therapeutic ginsenosides kick into gear when the body is under stress, helping to rev-up energy and antioxidant production. Chronic fatigue patients who supplemented with Panax ginseng noticed that their concentration, memory, and other aspects of mental fatigue improved significantly after only four weeks.
Rather than jolting out of your mid-day slump with another coffee, try nourishing your system with a cup of green tea. By providing a unique combination of the amino acid L-theanine and low concentration caffeine, green tea has been shown to boost energy without the jitters typically associated with drinking coffee. L-theanine works to calm your nervous system and keep blood pressure down, helping you focus your energy boost more productively.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a miraculous antioxidant and the powerhouse behind energy production in all your cells. The problem is that your body makes less and less CoQ10 as you age, restricting the energy available to fuel your muscle and cardiovascular systems. Thankfully, the anti-fatigue effect of CoQ10 supplements has been shown to lower feelings of sleepiness after mentally taxing activities and even boost athletic performance.
Chia seeds are tiny, but they’re big on energy. The dense reservoir of nutrients in chia seeds—including a 1:3:1 ratio of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids—qualifies them as a superfood. Chia seeds also have an amazing ability to bind to water, which boosts hydration and slows carbohydrates uptake into the blood stream. It’s no wonder chia seeds are trending in sports nutrition!
In order to turn the fat, carbs, and protein from your diet into energy, your body relies on eight B vitamins. As important coenzymes in metabolism, a shortfall in even just one of the B vitamins can limit how much energy your body is able to make. Taking a vitamin B complex daily can be especially helpful if you’re under stress, drink alcohol, have digestive problems, or follow a vegan diet.
Power up your breakfast with a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal. Steel-cut oats provide 54 g of carbohydrates per half cup but are also low on the glycemic index. This means that they will sustain your appetite and energy levels longer by slowing your absorption of carbohydrates and regulating insulin levels. Oats make a fantastic breakfast choice for anyone wanting to fuel a tough morning workout.