As 3pm rolls around, it’s become almost second nature to grab another cup of caffeine to push you through the final hours of the day. Unfortunately too much caffeine can leave you feelling jittery, anxious, and dehydrated. Plus caffeine too late in the day can severely affect your sleep quality and patterns.
Here are our favourite natural energy boosters:
Lighten your glycemic load
Foods with a low glycemic load—like beans, bran cereal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and nuts—have less impact on your blood sugar than foods with a high glycemic load—like white rice, spaghetti, potatoes, cornflakes, and sugary juices and drinks. Eating more low-glycemic-load foods will help you keep your blood sugar steady and avoid the lightheadedness and “shakes” associated with blood sugar drops, which usually follow spikes.
Drink a big glass of water
Fatigue is often one of the first symptoms of dehydration, and if all you’ve sipped all day is coffee and soft drinks, it’s quite likely you’re dehydrated. Plus, the refreshing coldness will serve as a virtual slap in the face.
Research at the University of California at Berkeley found that the amino acid L-carnitine and the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid can boost both memory and energy, possibly by improving the way body cells produce energy.
Sit up Straight
“Shifting your posture can immediately give you more energy,” says Dana Davis, a certified yoga teacher and Balance Posture Method instructor at Sonoma Body Balance, in Petaluma, California. We typically sit or stand with our shoulders, neck, and head shifted forward, which can affect the arteries that bring blood to our brain, Davis says.
Eat an Apple
It’s tempting to turn to sugar (hello, chocolate!) when your energy dips, but eating high-sugar foods will make your fatigue worse in the long run. Make a habit of keeping apples on hand—at home and at work.
A simple apple is a great energy-boosting, mid-afternoon snack. Full of vitamin C, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, an apple can deliver a boost of energy and stabilize blood sugar.
For a non-toxic alternative to dangerous caffeinated drinks, take a few whiffs of peppermint oil. It will perk you up and can help improve focus and concentration.
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