5 Superfoods to Boost Energy (Caffeine Free)
Doesn't all Food Boost Energy? Well yes, but in different ways. Water, park chocolate, oatmeal, beets, and foods high in iron tend to boost our energy a little more than others. And foods like sugary drinks, candy, and pastries put too much sugar into your blood too quickly, which causes an energy crash leaving you tired and hungry again. Let’s dive into my favorite 5 superfoods to boost your energy and make sure to stick around till the end for 2 bonus tips on how you can use your diet to improve your energy and decrease fatigue and the 2pm crash.
Water is by far the #1 nutrient in our diet. Studies have suggested proper hydration may lower our risk of heart disease and cancer. Makes sense; our brain is 75% water, and so when we get dehydrated, our brain shrinks. A study in 2013 showed the effects of mild dehydration were increased sleepiness and fatigue, lower levels of vigor and alertness, and increased confusion. But as soon as they gave them some water, the deleterious effects on alertness, happiness, and confusion were immediately reversed.
Water absorption happens very rapidly, within five minutes from mouth to bloodstream, peaking around minute 20. And to get an extra fast hydration, cold water gets absorbed into the body about 20% faster than warm water. Make sure you’re getting the recommended daily fluid intake which is around 11.5 cups (91 ounces) of fluids for women and around 15.5 cups (125 ounces) of fluids for men.
#2: Dark Chocolate
You heard me right, Chocolate. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial study from Nestle studied chocolate vs placebo in chronic fatigue syndrome. The placebo chocolate they used had comparable amounts of sugar and fat, but one had cocoa solids—phytonutrients—and the other didn’t. I’m always skeptical of industry-funded research, but it was actually a pretty good study.
And there was a significant improvement in the real chocolate group, meaning it apparently wasn’t just the yummy taste of chocolate, but the action of the cacao phytonutrients. Now I don’t recommend people eating 3 chocolate bars a day like the individuals in the study BUT you can get the equivalent dose of cocoa solids, by consuming two and a half tablespoons of an organic, vegan cocoa powder a day. You can put it in coffee, you can make a chocolaty smoothie, or make a vegan chocolate ice cream!
Oatmeal is a whole grain cereal providing long-lasting energy. It contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that forms a thick gel when combined with water. The presence of this gel in the digestive system delays stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood allowing for a sustained energy release. Furthermore, oats are rich in vitamins and minerals that help the energy production process. These include B vitamins, iron, and manganese.
Yes, Dewight Schrute was onto something with his Beet Farm. Beets have gained popularity recently due to their ability to improve energy and endurance. Nitrates, which are compounds found in high amounts in beetroot and beetroot juice, help increase nitric oxide production and improve blood, allowing for increased oxygen delivery to tissues. This effect increases energy levels, especially during athletic performance. Additionally, beets are packed with carbs, fiber, and sugar for a sustained energy boost.
#5: Fruits High in Iron
Iron deficiency can cause low energy levels, fatigue, and poor concentration. Iron deficiency is Your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen to your body cells to produce energy. Iron-rich fruits include peaches, apricots, and watermelons. Add fruits high in vitamin C such as apples, oranges, pineapple, and raspberries to your diet to help your body absorb iron.
Eat small, frequent meals - Where energy is the issue, it's better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. This approach can reduce fatigue because your brain, needs a steady supply of nutrients. Some people begin feeling sluggish after just a few hours without food. But it doesn't take much to feed your brain. A piece of fruit or a few nuts is adequate.
Smaller is better, especially at lunch - Researchers have observed the circadian rhythms of people who eat a lot at lunch typically show a more pronounced afternoon slump. The reasons for this are unclear, but it may reflect the increase in blood sugar after eating, which is followed by a slump in energy later. But my theory is that digestion takes a lot of energy. Think of how you feel after a large meal like what you have at thanksgiving, Christmas or after a large meal at a restaurant. It’s not because of some sleep chemical in the food, it’s because digestion requires a fair amount of energy to process food. Vegetables and fruit have digestive enzymes in them and require less energy to digest. Processed food and cooked food have fewer or no enzymes and require the most amount of energy to digest. To do this, your brain diverts most of your body’s energy and focus on digestion. To digest the large meal you just ate, your body will have to spend a lot of time and energy as it breaks everything down, which may make you tired.
What additional help with boosting energy?
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My favorite water bottle (literally have so many of them): https://amzn.to/38IIuKL
TerraSoul Cacao Powder: https://amzn.to/3pXEVrv
Beetroot for Athletic Performance and Reducing Exercise-Induced Muscle Soreness: https://youtu.be/iUKzuMbv3lw
Iron Supplement: Harmful, Helpful or Hoax? How To SAFELY Get Enough Iron and Avoid Side Effects: https://youtu.be/Z7k55sAhD_E