With today’s busy, demanding schedules, periods of low energy are almost a given. There are dozens of products on the market that tout their ability to increase your energy. However, their safety and effectiveness is often unproven and unregulated. Fortunately, there are some natural, easy, and safe ways to get the energy boost you need to handle your hectic day.
Eat More “Good” Carbs
Carbs that break down very quickly in your body, such as sugar and refined flour, may give you a rush of energy, but that energy is short-lived. Once it’s gone, you’re left hungry, lethargic and cranky. “Good” carbs, such as whole grains and vegetables, break down slowly in your body, providing steady, long-term energy with no “crash.”
Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep can be a huge drain on your daily energy levels. Get at least six or eight hours of sleep a night. If you are getting enough sleep but you still wake up tired, visit your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, or you may suffer from anxiety or depression.
Even mild dehydration can cause a serious drop in energy. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day; and that you drink extra fluids when you exercise or spend time outside in hot weather.
At first, this may seem counterintuitive. After all, exercise can tire you out, particularly if you aren’t used to working out, or if you’ve recently stepped up your routine. However, exercise releases endorphins into your bloodstream. These endorphins stimulate the reward centers of your brain, giving you a rush of positive feelings and increased energy that can last for hours. In addition, over time, exercise leads to weight loss and muscle growth, both of which increase your energy levels.
The herb ginseng, used for thousands of years by the Chinese to improve overall body health and supply energy, has become widely used in the Western world in recent decades. This herb is said to boost energy levels with minimal or no side effects. These days, ginseng appears in everything from supplements, to power bars, to smoothies. It’s important to buy ginseng products that are as natural and unprocessed as possible; some products containing ginseng have levels that are actually ineffective.
Increase your Vitamin Intake
Vitamin E, vitamin C and some B vitamins are believed to have properties that affect your energy levels. You can take a good multivitamin to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients, but the best way to increase your vitamin levels is to eat a balanced diet rich in colorful vegetables, lean proteins and “good” fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds and fatty fish.
Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Low magnesium levels can cause your muscles to work harder to sustain even light or moderate activity, which can result in fatigue. Like vitamins, the best and safest way to increase your intake of minerals like magnesium is to eat a balanced diet. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, yogurt and leafy green vegetables are good dietary sources of magnesium.
Increase your Fatty Acid Intake
Fatty acids are key players in your body’s energy production. A shortage of fatty acids can leave you with a lack of stamina and mental energy. Good sources of healthful fatty acids include salmon, tuna, nuts, seeds and olive oil.