In light of my recent post on Caffeine Addiction (the good, the bad and the ugly) last week, how are your coffee and caffeine habits going?
I hated to leave you hanging with just some tips for weaning off caffeine…but how do you replace the ‘energy’ caffeine has seemingly been giving you all along?
Here are 5 natural energy boosters that you can do practically every day:
1. Go Popeye.
Eat your greens girl! Popeye the Sailor Man was on to something when promoting spinach like a boss. It makes you strong, inside and out. Green veggies, such as Spinach, Kale, Collards, and Rainbow Chard are rich in Vitamins A, C, K as well as some iron—giving your body a natural boost of energy and immunity. ‘Green drinks’ (juices) have also become popular for this reason: energy! I can distinctly tell a difference in my energy levels and mental clarity on the mornings I eat my greens (in eggs, or alongside homemade turkey sausage or leftover protein) and those that I do not. In fact, my body craves them now-breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. Try this simple recipe with your greens of choice:
Ingredients: Kale, rainbow chard, collards, spinach—or a mixture of all; 1 tsp. coconut oil; sea salt & pepper.
Directions: Wash your greens thoroughlY; heat oil in pan on stove on medium heat; throw greens in pan; sprinkle with sea salt & pepper; add splash of water to pan; cook on medium heat, covered with lid for 5-6 minutes, or until nicely ‘steamed’
2. Take 10.
You’ve heard of ‘power naps before…but have you heard of 10-minute power naps? No?! They are amazing! Seriously, 10-minutes is all you need.
According to a study reported by Forbes, researchers tested and compared the effects of 5, 10, 20 and 30-minute naps, and found:
The 5-minute nap produced few benefits in comparison with the no-nap control. The 10-minute nap produced immediate improvements in all outcome measures (including sleep latency, subjective sleepiness, fatigue, vigor, and cognitive performance), with some of these benefits maintained for as long as 155 minutes. The 20-minute nap was associated with improvements emerging 35 minutes after napping and lasting up to 125 minutes after napping. The 30-minute nap produced a period of impaired alertness and performance immediately after napping, indicative of sleep inertia, followed by improvements lasting up to 155 minutes after the nap.
If you are on the go all day for instance…and utterly exhausted…consider a ‘car nap.’ Park in the parking lot of the next place you have to be, put your shades on, lean your chair back just a tad bit, and set your phone alarm for 10-minutes. Or ever wake up at your usual time in the morning, but don’t feel fully rested? Try getting ready for the day, then taking 10 before you run out the door. Amazingness! Close your eyes and re-charge…like a battery.
3. Drink Up.
No, not Monster, Red Bull, Spark, Diet Coke, Green Tea or Coffee. Water. Since your bod is at LEAST 60% water, it NEEDS water to keep all its functions going in tip top shape—metabolism (energy) included. Since water is a primary driving force of energy production inside your body’s cells , even the slightest bit of dehydration can send your energy south. Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day—preferably a filtered/purified source.
4. Move it.
Exercise releases endorphins…endorphins make you happy…and give you energy too! As counterintuitive as it may seem to exercise at times when feel ‘sluggish’ or energy drained, once you get moving, it’s as if the body awakens!
According to research in a New York Times report: University of Georgia researchers decided to study whether exercise can be used to treat fatigue. The research, which appears in the February issue of the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, involved 36 volunteers who were not regular exercisers but who complained of persistent fatigue.
One group of fatigued volunteers was prescribed 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks. The second group engaged in low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time period, while a third control group did not exercise.
Both of the exercise groups had a 20 percent increase in energy levels by the end of the study, compared to the control group. However, it’s important to note that the researchers found that more intense exercise isn’t the best way to reduce fatigue. The low-intensity group reported a 65 percent drop in feelings of fatigue, compared to a 49 percent drop in the group doing more intense exercise.
The bottom line? Move it-even if it’s a 10-minute stroll at lunch; 10 burpees or a tabata of push-ups, squats and sit-ups; a yoga or dance class; CrossFit or weight training-do something you enjoy…and don’t go overboard. The key is to not wear yourself out.
5. Something’s fishy.
Fatty acids in our diets are the densest form of energy we can consume (i.e. BIG bang for your buck). Fish oil provides essential fats because it is made up of omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fats are those which the body can’t produce on its own—they must be eaten—and it must have them for optimal function. Like water, fats, too, boost your metabolism-strengthening your cells’ lipid bilayer to be strong as well as more insulin resistant. Bonus: fish oil (omega 3’s) increase levels of certain chemicals in your brain which enable you to focus and deal with stress better (i.e. SAVE energy).
We live in a world of screens! Smart phones, tablets, computers, TVs…everywhere. If you are looking at a computer or phone screen all day, or even at night (and this includes your cell phone), you are disrupting the body’s natural circadian rhythms (guilty). Remember: Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle in the physiological process of all living beings and it is affected by light. It is responsible for determining our sleeping and waking patterns, as well as our brain wave activity, hormone production and cell regeneration. (i.e. energy). When it is disrupted, we may grow fatigued more often (Dips in energy-as your brain can only take so much screen light during the days, and needs to ‘recharge’). Make a new daily habit to unplug, or step away from the screen, for a little ‘break.’ Bonus points for getting back to nature. Research shows that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people.
7. Smell the Peppermint (Roses).
It has been found to increase alertness and the energy metabolism in your muscles and brain — from athletes to tired drivers. You you can use Peppermint in several ways:
- Apply directly to the skin (depending on the quality of the product, you may need a carrier oil). Rub oil on temples and back of neck.
- Add a few drops to a bath.
- Take a strong whiff straight from the bottle, to get an instant booster.
- Diffuse the oil throughout your living space or bedroom.
You’re already bouncing off the walls already…I can feel it!