Want to get through the day without chugging six cups of coffee?
Wiped. Worn out. Done in. Whatever you call it, being tired sucks. We often seek out highly caffeinated energizers because energy is one of our most valuable resources. Separating natural energy boosters from sugary imposters (hello, energy drinks) is important, so you don’t feel cheated by those that overpromise and underdeliver. These proven pick-me-ups can help you feel amazing all day long.
Most natural energy boosters do their best work over time. After you’ve consulted a naturopathic doctor and decided which supplements and functional foods will work best for you, stay consistent and pay attention to your body.
Called the energy vitamin, B12 can be taken in supplement form. In the body, it helps convert the food we eat into energy. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods and fortified plant foods (like some cereal and nutritional yeast), so B12 supplements are especially important for those who eat a plant-based diet.
Feel tired and weak day after day? You could be iron deficient, a surprisingly common problem that affects about 10 million people in the United States. Iron deficiency is also the top cause of fatigue among women of childbearing age. Vegans, vegetarians and endurance athletes may be particularly at risk of missing out on iron. If you suspect you’re iron deficient, check with a health care practitioner to see if supplements are necessary. Liquid iron supplements are a convenient, non-constipating option.
Known as adaptogenic herbs, American ginseng and Asian ginseng are thought to help the body adapt to stressors and sustain energy. Ginseng may even improve exercise endurance, making it a smart pre-workout supplement.
Constant tiredness may also be a sign that you’re getting too little magnesium. Even a slight deficiency can make daily tasks seem more difficult. Make sure you’re meeting your daily magnesium needs (about 300 mg for women and 350 mg for men) by snacking on a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews each day or taking a daily magnesium supplement.
Chia seeds are a favorite due to their blood sugar- and insulin-stabilizing effects. They have a great ratio of fats to carbs to protein and may keep you feeling energized longer. Just add 2 Tbsp of chia seeds to your smoothies to harness their energy-boosting benefits.
A herbal supplement that is making waves, yerba maté is high in caffeine, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and zinc, making it an energy powerhouse. Less acidic than coffee, it has a pleasant, nutty flavor.
Matcha is power-packed with vitamins and minerals your body needs. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid thought to increase alertness. Brew your own matcha tea by mixing 1 tsp of matcha powder with about ¹⁄³ cup of warm (not boiling) water. You can also mix 1 tsp of matcha powder in oatmeal, smoothies and even desserts for a subtle earthy taste.