Guzzling cup after cup of coffee isn’t the only way to get through a hectic day. If you feel a slump coming on, these natural energizers and science-backed tips can increase your energy ASAP.
1. Wake up with yerba maté.
Ever tried yerba maté? Although this South American tea contains nearly as much caffeine as coffee, it is less acidic and has a pleasant nutty flavor. It’s also super healthy, with plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like potassium and zinc.
2. Eat a fiber-rich breakfast.
Studies show that eating breakfast increases our alertness, and the effect is almost immediate. To stave off hunger until noon (the impossible dream), eat a meal that’s high in fiber.
To make sure this happens, whip up a week’s worth of fiber-filled breakfasts on the weekend. Done and done
3. Take a cold shower.
This sounds torturous—but hear us out: Cold water really does shock the body awake. Researchers have suggested that as little as three minutes in a cold shower might help counteract chronic fatigue
4. Turn on Spotify.
Research shows that listening to some tunes can lessen stress, but the benefits don’t stop there. Engaging with the music (think singing along and tapping your fingers or feet to the rhythm) has been shown to significantly decrease tiredness.
5. Sip a low-sugar drink.
Don’t rely on a soy vanilla latte to increase your energy. With or without caffeine, sugary drinks have been shown to sap alertness and concentration in the long run. Stick to water or tea.* Even mild dehydration can make your mind feel fuzzy, so drink up throughout the day.
6. Have a magnesium-packed snack.
If you’re always a bit tired, you might be getting too little magnesium. Even a slight deficiency can make daily tasks seem more difficult. Make sure you’re meeting your magnesium needs by snacking on almonds, hazelnuts or cashews each day—or consider supplementation. Easy!
7. Stretch for 10 minutes.
When you exercise, oxygen-rich blood gets pumped to your brain, muscles and heart for a natural energy boost.
8, Chew sugar-free vegan gum.
If you’re nodding off, chew a piece of gum. At least one study has shown that chewing gum increases alertness; it might even improve mental performance. Some gums contain animal-derived ingredients like gelatin, stearic acid and glycerin, so shop smart!
9. Snack on a square of dark chocolate.
There might be a scientific reason for craving chocolate in the afternoon. One study suggested that flavonoids in cocoa can improve mood and cognitive skills. Dark chocolate (with at least 60 percent cacao) has even been called a stimulant by researchers—and most dark chocolate is vegan!
10. Sniff some lemon.
Stimulating aromatherapy scents like lemon might be just the thing to perk you up on a sleepy day. One study compared how smelling scentless water, lavender essential oil or lemon essential oil affects energy levels. Lemon was the clear winner, uplifting moods and increasing alertness the most.
11. Go for a 20-minute walk outside.
According to a series of studies, nature is the new coffee. As little as 20 minutes of walking outdoors can increase your energy, vitality and well-being. Plus, exposure to sunlight is essential for proper production of vitamin D and melatonin, which help govern our energy levels.
Could digestive issues be dragging you down?
Feeling sluggish, bloated and just “bleh” overall? Discuss possible digestive issues with your health care practitioner and consider these gut-loving supplements.
- Turmeric soothes gastrointestinal inflammation.
- Ginger can alleviate some forms of nausea.
- Prebiotics, aka food for live bacteria, may reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infection and inflammation.
- Probiotics, aka friendly live bacteria, are supported by plenty of evidence for treating general gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Digestive enzymes help with proper digestion; vegans can benefit from alpha-galactosidase, which helps break down the substance in beans that causes gas.