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12 All-Natural Foods For A Quick Energy Boost

Quinoa. Image source: NYTimes

Quinoa. Image source: NYTimes

Despite all the conveniences of modern society, many of us still “burn the candle at both ends” and are tired much of the time.

Our electronic gadgets tend to keep us awake at odd hours, and especially during the shorter daylight hours of winter, we can find ourselves yawning just when we need to be alert and at our best.

Sure, you could reach for an energy drink, a soda or a candy bar, but did you know you can get a boost from many all-natural foods and drinks? So forget the unhealthy candy and the energy drinks and take a look at our list of all-natural energy boosters.

1.Water. Let’s start with the basics. One of the most common causes of fatigue is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, the blood volume in your body can drop, causing your heart to work harder to provide your cells with needed oxygen and nutrients. As a result, your metabolism slows, your energy decreases, and even your thinking processes can suffer. Give your body the fluid it needs by increasing your daily fresh water intake. For more nutrients, add a few lemon slices and you’ll have a great all-natural energy drink.

2.Fresh fruit. Speaking of lemons, fresh fruit can be a great pick-me-up. Fresh fruit is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Plus, its natural sugar content helps keep your blood sugar level steady. For a great afternoon energy snack full of vitamin C, fiber and complex carbohydrates, munch on an apple.

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3.Nuts. A handful of cashews, almonds or hazelnuts can help you fight the mid-afternoon doldrums. These nuts are high in protein, fiber, magnesium and helpful fats. Plus, you can keep a stash handy in your desk.

4. Leafy greens. You can’t do much better for your body than leafy greens. Kale, spinach, chard and watercress are packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K, magnesium, folate, potassium and calcium — and are high in fiber. Low in calories, these superfoods help maintain healthy bones and help manage blood pressure. Broccoli, asparagus and other dark, leafy green vegetables also are great sources of iron, and they support healthy energy levels by turning carbs into glucose for energy.

5. Cucumber. High in water content and loaded with vitamins A, B and C as well as zinc, iron, magnesium, folic acid, calcium and potassium, cucumbers offer a quick pick-me-up without many calories.

6. Beans. Beans are a low-calorie, high-protein energy source. Kidney and black beans are high in magnesium, and red beans are high in antioxidants and iron.

7. Chia seeds. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, manganese, phosphorus and protein. Sprinkle some on your salad or vegetable dish or use them as a yogurt topping for a quick energy boost.

8. Quinoa and whole grains. Quick and easy to cook, quinoa is full of protein, B vitamins and magnesium, and contains all nine essential amino acids. Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, couscous, millet and oatmeal are also good choices for the energy boost they provide.

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9. Dark chocolate. Nibble on a square of dark chocolate for incredible taste as well as a big energy boost. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, a natural stimulant similar to caffeine, and its phenylethylamine encourages the release of mood-enhancing endorphins. Dark chocolate also has flavonoids to fight “bad” LDL cholesterol and to increase the blood flow to your brain.

Cardamom. Image source: Quazoo.com

Cardamom. Image source: Quazoo.com

10. Cardamom. This flavorful spice is known to increase energy and to promote blood flow by expanding small blood vessels in your body. Add it to your curry recipes or enjoy it in a cup of chai tea for a natural energy boost.

11. Fermented foods. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods, such as kimchi, are high in probiotics, which help your gut digest food more efficiently and therefore leave you with more energy for other things.

12. Green tea. Instead of reaching for more coffee or other caffeinated beverages, try a cup of green tea. Green tea does contain caffeine, but it also is loaded with L-theanine, a powerful amino acid. This tea also may lower your risk of heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and certain forms of cancer.

Finally, one of the best ways to boost your energy is to increase your activity level. Take a break from your computer and get moving. If your schedule allows, aim for an afternoon work-out. However, heading outside for even as little as a 20-minute walk can boost your mood and your energy to conquer what is left of your day with more energy and enthusiasm.

What are your favorite all-natural energy boosters? Share your tips in the section below:

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