By Katherine Martinko | Treehugger
Learn how to get an energy boost from whole foods, rather than always reaching for the coffee pot.
Fatigue is one of the most common ailments plaguing our sleep-deprived society. Unfortunately, most job sites and offices do not accommodate afternoon naps, which is why people reach for yet another cup of coffee or an energy drink in order to make it through the day.
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But did you know that there are certain foods that can fight fatigue? These natural energy boosters can give you that extra bit of fuel in your tank to wake up, get focused, and turn the remainder of the day into something productive, rather than something to be endured. While nothing should replace a good night’s sleep, it is helpful to know about these healthy alternatives.
Edamame, or green soybeans, contain energy-boosting B vitamins. These include phosphorous, copper, thiamine, riboflavin, B6, B12, folic acid, etc. B vitamins are effective at stimulating brain function and circulation, as well as breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, which the body then uses for energy. Edamame is also a great source of protein, fiber, and good (low-glycemic) carbs. Buy frozen whole pods; steam or boil ahead of time; eat at room temperature, sprinkled with salt.
Honeydew, cantaloupe (or muskmelon), watermelon – these luscious summer fruits are a great source of B vitamins and fiber, as well as water, which is key to maintaining one’s energy. Eating melon can help rehydrate your body. Watermelons also contain an amino acid called citrulline that gets converted into arginine when absorbed by the body; this arginine can help improve blood flow.
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Fish contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to Dr. Barry Sears, author ofThe Zone Diet, boost energy by reducing cellular inflammation. Choose small, oily fish that are at the bottom of the food chain, such as herring, anchovies, and sardines. Alternatively opt for a high-quality fish oil supplement.
Nuts contain magnesium, which is important to keeping up your energy. According to dietician Erin Palinski, who told MNN: “Magnesium is responsible for breaking down glucose into energy, so being even slightly low in this mineral can cause a dip in energy.” Nuts are also rich in protein. Keep a container of nuts in your desk at work for a quick afternoon snack; but keep away from walnuts, which have melatonin and can make you sleepy!
Richer in protein than any other grain and full of complex carbohydrates and amino acids, quinoa will keep you feeling full and energized. It is also gluten-free. Make yourself a bowl of quinoa mixed with vegetables and vinaigrette, or sweeten with raisins, almonds, and cinnamon.