4 Natural Energy Hacks
By Manuel Villacorta, RD
A common complaint you hear from people these days is about how tired they are. Indeed, with not enough time in the day, people sleeping less and eating worse, there is a short supply of energy. However, sometimes those six cups of coffees a day can start to take a toll. If you feel this way, maybe it’s time to consider these natural energy hacks.
Snacks can be a powerful tool for energy boosting. This is due to the fact that blood sugar has the potential to get low between meals and with low blood sugar comes low energy. Therefore, eating every 3-4 hours, including meals and snacks between meals, is optimal to preserve energy. Need a good snack idea? Try pistachios. Not only are they a uniquely delicious food item--the great thing about snacking on pistachios is that you have to open the shell to get to them which may help with portion control. A far cry from munching on your average snack foods in front of the television!
Eating the Right Foods
So what kind of food helps? Carbohydrates are the best source of energy out of the three macronutrients, the others being protein and fat. This is because the muscles and brain run best off of the glucose obtained from carbohydrates. Protein is also a good energy source as a lack of protein has been shown to cause fatigue. What’s more, protein keeps you feeling full for a long-lasting energy source. Lastly, magnesium is a mineral shown to help with energy. Good sources of magnesium include dark chocolate, avocados, nuts and seeds, which also provide a bonus of antioxidants and healthy fats.
This one is easy--drink water! Dehydration can come on without warning, but one of the most notorious symptoms are feelings of tiredness. You can try different flavored water drops if you prefer something more flavorful. Either way, 6-8 glasses a day plus what is obtained from food and other beverages is sufficient. In that vein, other substances can be used in place of coffee, which many turn to as a caffeine source. Maca root is a powerful natural energy booster as is green tea and ginseng.
One of the forgotten principles of health that I implore my clients not to forget is stress management. This is particularly important when talking about energy. Hormones like cortisol are produced when the body is under excess amounts of stress and can cause you to feel drained. So if you find yourself feeling chronically tired at times despite a full night’s sleep and adequate meals, you might want to take a look at reducing your stress levels. One great way to do this is by enjoying a nice cup of tea every now and then. You can find bedtimes teas, energizing teas, and even teas for mood support to help you to put whatever you may be stressing about to the side.