When your energy levels fall into the red zone, you probably reach for our culture’s quick fix: caffeine. Almost everyone has tried to drink coffee and liked it because it gives that sudden boost of energy. It stimulates the production of adrenaline and gives us more energy for a short time because it increases our heart rate and blood sugar levels. Though this might sound like a good thing, it actually has a negative effect. While a cup of coffee may have hit the spot this morning, chances are it will be time to call in for reinforcements by the time the afternoon rolls around. What is more, coffee is not always good for our health. Coffee containing caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heart and breathing rate, and other side effects. If you don’t wish to drink coffee because of the negative effects it has on the health or you simply don’t like the taste of coffee, there are many other ways to boost energy without this caffeine drink.
- Eat protein-rich breakfast each morning
Research has demonstrated that a healthy breakfast has a direct effect on how kids perform at school, and it’s equally important for the rest of us. Our brains thrive on steady blood glucose levels, and starting the day with protein sets the stage for maintaining that control. A morning meal can refuel your body after a night of rest, satisfy your appetite so you’re less likely to graze later, and prime you to make healthy food choices throughout the rest of your day. Nothing beats a banana for grab-and-go portability, but make sure you add a protein-rich dairy source, like a single-serving cup of cottage cheese, and you’ll add a whopping 28 grams of protein to your morning meal. In the afternoon, you can snack on something at least 10 grams of protein to produce a steady rise in blood sugar and energy levels, counteracting a post-carb crash.
- Take Vitamin B
Vitamin B deficiency has been linked to low energy levels, among other things. Vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, is a nutrient you need for good health. It’s one of eight B vitamins that help the body convert the food you eat into glucose, which gives you energy. Most grocers and health food stores carry a variety of brands that you can choose from. Another option is to take a multivitamin, which will help ensure that you’re not deficient in other minerals or nutrients. However, always consult your doctor, read the labels and take everything in moderation.
- Say no to sugar
Sure a sugary snack will deliver a quick energy boost but it will also cause your blood sugar and energy to plummet later. Try to avoid sugary drinks, which are often loaded with caffeine and additives. Chances are, you’ll end up crashing later. A better alternative is to choose whole grains instead as they offer complex carbohydrates that the body digests and releases slowly, keeping your blood sugar stable.
- Take a cold shower
Hot showers are the best for relaxing and winding down. But if your goal is to do the opposite, consider changing the temperature. Cold water gives your body a quick, cold shock which stimulates deep breathing and increases the oxygen in our bodies and jump-starts circulation. First, shower with hot water until you are nice and warm. Then start to lower the water temperature gradually – never turn the water instantly to cold. If you don’t have time for a shower, simply splash cold water on your face for a midday refresher. That would do the trick!