It can be hard to kick a caffeine addiction. I rely on my cup of coffee every morning to get me through the day, and I often end up drinking an additional cup later in the afternoon. I know I'm not the only two-a-day person out there. Although energy drinks full of caffeine may provide the quick fix you’re looking for on a rough day, they’re usually full of sugar and harmful preservatives and most sweetened coffee drinks leave you feeling sluggish after a short burst of energy.
Whether you're trying to kick a coffee addiction or are just looking for an extra boost to get you through the day, there are certain foods that you can eat that naturally provide energy without the negative side effects of added sugars and chemicals. These foods will help keep you energized in the long run.
Apples: You may have heard that one apple provides more energy than a cup of coffee! In reality, it’s difficult to compare the effects of an apple’s natural sugar to the effects of caffeine, however, both have energizing effects. An apple—or any piece of fruit really—has carbohydrates and nutrients which help give the body energy, as well as regulate blood sugar to keep you from feeling sluggish or sickly.
Nuts/homemade trail mix: Nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews have high levels of magnesium, which helps convert sugar into energy for the body. Nuts are also high in fiber and protein, warding off hunger and helping regulate blood sugar. While store-bought trail mixes can be full of added sugar, making your own trail mix with raw nuts and dried fruit is a great way to ensure a healthy and energizing snack. Looking for a recipe? Get some inspiration here.
Wheatgrass: Wheatgrass shots provide many health benefits, including fatigue prevention. According to Livestrong.com, wheatgrass is full of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is beneficial to the human body in that it increases the delivery of oxygen to your red blood cells, which in turn increases your overall energy.
Flaxseeds and oil: Flaxseeds are particularly special in that they contain both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, each of with are essential for the human body to function correctly. Pauline Hanuise from mindbodygreen.com argues that these essential fatty acids are vital for not only energy production, but also brain function and oxygen transfer.
Dark chocolate: Who said chocolate is bad for you? When consumed in moderation, dark chocolate has many health benefits, including natural caffeine! Livestrong.com recommends that when eating dark chocolate for its energizing and antioxidizing effects, “the darker the better.” Look for chocolate with the highest percentage of cacao for the best results.
If you struggle with low energy and sluggishness on a day to day basis and want to make a change, the best place to start is your diet. While a caffeine pick-me-up can be useful, your body needs more than just a cup of java to get through. Try introducing some of these five foods into your diet—you may find yourself more energized.