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When mid-afternoon fatigue sets in, it’s easy to reach for a cup of coffee or a sweet treat for a quick boost. Unfortunately, the energy boosting effects are short-lived and often lead to a crash later in the day.

Instead, experts say it’s best to opt for a snack that’s rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates for a natural energy boost. Here are nine of the best options for energy-boosting snacks and meals that will keep you alert throughout the entire day.

Nuts. Almonds, pistachios, and other nuts contain important nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins which help convert food to energy. Pistachios have a powerful combination of protein, fiber and heart healthy monounsaturated fats, making them a great snack choice.

“Research shows that people with low magnesium levels tend to tire more quickly during exercise due to magnesium’s role in energy metabolism,” dietitian Rachel Berman says. A lack of B vitamins can cause fatigue, irritability and poor concentration. Berman suggests one serving, or about 23 nuts, to keep calories low.

Whole grains. “Thanks to fiber, whole grains help prevent the blood-sugar crashes that happen after consuming refined or simple carbohydrates,” says Berman. Whole-grain carbohydrates, like popcorn, are a great afternoon snack choice. The volume of popcorn also keeps you satisfied longer than chips or crackers. Try popping your own and adding herbs and spices, instead of butter and salt.

Nut butters. Peanut butter and almond butter can provide a great energy boost. They’re filled with health fats, protein and fiber, which help keep blood sugar levels stable. Berman says make sure you avoid brands with added sugars and stick to just a 2-tablespoon serving.

According to a study done at the University of Cambridge in England, protein also activates cells that help keep you awake. Researchers found that the cells responsible for our energy levels respond better to amino acids in proteins than in other…



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