When you’re leading a busy lifestyle, there are bound to be times when you feel tired out. Your first reaction might be to reach for a strong coffee, energy drink or sugary snack – but these quick fixes will only create a spike and crash effect, often leaving you feeling more tired than before.
In general, the more natural options are the best options to try out first. It's time to stop relying on caffeine and instead find an all-day energiser to get you through.
So what are the best natural energy boosters? Here are our favourites:
These little seeds may seem like a fad food – and their popularity certainly has dramatically increased over the past couple of years – but their benefits have been known in South America for centuries. Some reports say they may even have been used by ancient Mayans before they went into battle.
Chia seeds are excellent energy source and they're packed with omega-3 and omega-6. These essential fatty acids can help to combat fatigue and inflammation in the body. Plus, they help regulate your glands, so that you're less likely to feel sluggish.
They're a natural source of protein and fibre, which means the energy they provide is regulated by the body and you can be confident you won’t have a sugar slump an hour after enjoying them.
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavour, which goes well with many dishes. A popular way to get your chia fix in the morning is by soaking the seeds in almond milk to make chia pudding as a substitute for overnight oats. You can also sprinkle them in granola, or on top of apples spread with peanut butter.
Take a look at this tasty Chia pudding recipe for some more inspiration.
It may make you think of chewing gum, but peppermint is a great natural energy source as it encourages an increase of oxygen to the brain. This, in turn, can fire up your brain cells and make them alert, helping you to feel fresh and awake.
Even just the smell of peppermint oil can give you these great benefits. Try dabbing a little on your temples and feel the effects!
You might be wondering what the best way is to eat peppermint, as it's probably not one that usually appears on your shopping list, but it's actually easier than you might think. For a simple pick-me-up, keep bags of peppermint tea handy to brew when your energy is low.
You can also blend mint into yoghurt to make a tangy dip or sauce — perfect for dipping carrots, crisps or peppers into. Mint is incredibly easy to grow indoors and outside, even for the least green-fingered of people. Having a pot of the fresh plant handy in the kitchen is a great way to maximise the energy-giving benefits of mint.
These water-soluble vitamins are great for energy as they support your thyroid as well as maintaining healthy blood cells. Your body doesn't store B vitamins in the body, so it's essential that you stay topped up with them through what you eat.
Good sources of B vitamins include wholegrains, legumes, meat, and dairy products, but you can also take a supplement if you're worried that you might not get enough through your diet. For those who don't eat meat or animal products, a vitamin B12 supplement is often a good idea.
If you're concerned about your energy levels, ensuring you get enough B vitamins is a key step to identifying the issue.
Green tea is a great way to get a natural boost of caffeine and energy. It's full of antioxidants, which help you to fight harmful toxins in the body and have anti-ageing properties — perhaps helping you to look less tired too.
Though it can be tempting to get products labelled as flavoured green tea or iced green tea, these are often far from natural energy boosters. Artificial flavourings and added sugar may seem appealing as you get used to the plain taste of green tea, but they'll hamper the benefits and may risk a sugar spike and crash.
As always, nothing beats the real and natural source, so grab some green tea bags and get brewing for that extra boost.
Bananas are a great snack for reducing fatigue — bursting with carbs, potassium and vitamin B6, which can all help to boost your energy levels. There's a reason so many athletes are encouraged to have one before a training session!
This may sound like something complicated to look out for, but don’t worry, it's in lots of different foods and is a great natural energy booster. This vitamin-like substance is completely natural and is produced within the body as well as existing in food.
It's found in sardines, beef and peanuts, or for a more convenient option you could try a co-enzyme 10 supplement.
Co-Enzyme 10 helps to maintain and grow cells in the body, especially in the heart and muscles. In addition, it's an antioxidant, so it helps the body fight off harmful substances.
There's nothing like a bowl of porridge in the morning to set you up for a good day. Oats will give you long-lasting energy as they're slow-releasing carbs that your body breaks down gradually. Goodbye sugar spike, hello sustained energy.
Take Home Message
If tiredness is taking over and sleep isn't an issue, it's always worth thinking about your diet and making some changes. It's pretty easy to switch your tea to green, add a banana to your bag, or find a vitamin supplement. Boosting your energy in a natural way will leaving you feeling healthier in the long term, meaning that you can ditch the sugary substitutes for good.
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