The next time your energy dips in the middle of the afternoon, reach for mind boosting foods instead of a cup of coffee. While sugar and caffeine will definitely give you a spike of energy, you’ll soon crash and feel even worse than you did before. Here are 7 energy foods that can get you back on track both physically and emotionally at any time of the day.
Greek yogurt is rich in protein, magnesium and best of all it has less calories than regular yogurt. The yogurt contains a slow-acting protein that can help you feel full for a longer period of time while giving you the energy boost you need. This yogurt also contains probiotics, which are a necessary part of digestion and colon health. You’ll feel a difference immediately once you’ve indulged in this smooth, tasty delight!
Grab some skinless chicken, lean beef, turkey, or lean pork to get access to an amino acid called tyrosine. This amino acid has been studied extensively and research has shown that it can boost the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. As a result, you’ll feel more focused and alert. These meats also contain plenty of protein for a quick pick-me-up and also provide vitamin B12 that can help ward off feelings of sadness.
If you’re a chocoholic there’s good news! Recent studies have proven that dark chocolate acts as a mood booster! The chocolate contains caffeine along with theobromine. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants that help keep your blood flowing and your brain working. Look for chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. Regular milk chocolate bars won’t give you the same type of sustained energy that you can expect with dark chocolate.
When you’re hungry during the day and don’t feel like you can go on without a nap, reach for hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts or Brazil nuts. Hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews are full of fiber, which helps even out your blood sugar level. They also contain protein and magnesium, making them some of the best healthy energy food you can find. Brazil nuts contain selenium, which is linked to mood levels. If you are low on the silenium or magnesium, you may find that your energy is drained since the body is struggling to convert sugar into vital energy.
Feeling tired and sluggish? Eat some healthy salmon to pull you out of the doldrums. It helps to convert food into energy, is great for heart health and can help to protect you from depression. This wonder food contains omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and tons of protein!
Popcorn is a fantastic, low-fat snack that’s easy to eat and contains a lot of fiber. It’s a whole grain food that’s delicious and healthy as long as it isn’t covered with butter and salt. Look for low-fat popcorn and keep it handy at work. If you love the taste, you’ll start naturally waking up once you start munching on it!
When your energy is low it’s often a sign of low blood sugar. Sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrates that are slow to absorb. As a result, your blood sugar won’t spike and then crash as it would with refined sugar that can be found in soda or candy. Sweet potatoes are actually used as a remedy in some countries in Southeast Asia as a treatment for Type II diabetes. Along with the complex carbs, this veggie also contains potassium, folate, iron, calcium, vitamins E. and C., vitamin B6 and a lot of fiber. The next time you’re feeling like you’d like to lie down during the day, try eating some sweet potatoes and see for yourself what a difference they make!
Good Old-Fashioned Water
Although not technically a food, it’s a major part of keeping your energy boosted during the day. It should be considered as one of the foods that provide energy because without enough water, the body can’t continue to work at an optimum level. Begin your day with a tall glass of water and then make sure that you are drinking enough when you’re at work. As an extra bonus, add some lemon juice to turn water into a natural energy booster full of electrolytes.