How to: Natural Energy Boosters
In a world of quick energy shots and monster-sized cans of energy drinks, one would think the best way to get a boost of energy must contain caffeine or sugar. These best natural energy boosters help you stay holistic while providing the health benefits and energy boosters you need.
Stay Aware of Your Energy Level
When it comes to feeling energized, the answer is often found inside the body, not outside. The standard thing is to feel that lack of energy or afternoon slump and reach for something outside of ourselves to boost that feeling of energy.
But responding to the body’s signals in this way is like turning the check engine light off without checking the problem under the hood. In addition to putting a bandaid over the problem, standard energy drinks are not without risks.
Dangers of Standard Energy Drinks
1. Too much caffeine
Many energy drinks contain more caffeine than is naturally found in products such as coffee or green tea. The World Health Organization wrote a review of energy drink consumption in Europe that showed the potential long term side effects in chronic high levels of caffeine. “The health risks associated with energy drink consumption are primarily related to their caffeine content.
Caffeine in large amounts can cause palpitations, hypertension, dieresis, central nervous system stimulation, nausea, vomiting, marked hypocalcemia, metabolic acidosis, convulsions, and, in rare cases, even death.
In adults, there is also an increased risk of arterial hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, as high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity. High-caffeine consumption among pregnant women increases the risk of late miscarriages, small for gestational age infants, and stillbirths.”
2. Added Ingredients
Many energy drinks contain additives such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, food dyes and ingredients intended to provide energy such as guarana, taurine, glucuronolactone and B Vitamins.
The World Health Organization explains energy drinks. “As the acute and long-term effects of the combined consumption of many of these substances with caffeine are not well known, further studies are required to examine the potential for adverse health effects from energy drink consumption, particularly from long term, habitual consumption.” It is common to feel tired from the crash of these ingredients.
Ways to Naturally Increase Energy
Many times, lack of hydration is the cause of depleted energy reserves. While reaching for that afternoon coffee or energy drink may seem to make sense, it only further dehydrates the body adding insult to injury.
When you feel thirsty, you've already lost 2 to 3 percent of your body fluid. Even this mild dehydration can make you feel tired or lethargic. Your blood volume lowers, which means you don't get as much blood to your brain and your heart has to pump harder.
Whether you stay at home or work, carry a half gallon of water around. Consistently drinking small amounts throughout the day makes it easy to stay hydrated. Work your way up to a gallon a day if possible.
2. Meditation and/or Yoga
Mental health is important to boost energy levels. In a study conducted by the University of Waterloo, following 25 minutes a day of Hatha Yoga and mindfulness meditations, participants performed significantly better on executive function-oriented tasks.
Browse the yoga study by University of Waterloo.
3. Belly Breathing
Taking frequent breaks throughout the day to reset and refocus can replenish the natural energy levels of the body. Practice belly breathing from your diaphragm several times each day — when you're feeling tired or you're about to go into an energy draining situation like a laborious tele meeting: Put your hand over your belly button.
As you inhale, focus on making your stomach and chest move. This will automatically expand your lower lungs so you take in more air with each breath.
4. Get Restorative Sleep
Deep restorative sleep will allow the body to recover and replenish its energy stores. It is best to avoid that afternoon energy drink and/or coffee in order to achieve deep restorative sleep. Being sleep deprived can reduce the amount of energy stored in the body.
This deep sleep study showed that caffeine taken 6 hours before bedtime reduced the amount of sleep for participants by one full hour.
5. Focus on one thing at a time
Doing one thing at a time will not only make you more productive with each task, but it will also preserve precious energy for longer. Multitasking will make you less productive overall and will put an unnecessary toll on those energy reserves. Focusing on what you want to accomplish can increase the adrenaline levels in your body once you know what to do.
Sometimes family exercise is best for natural energy. *wink wink*
Research has consistently shown a positive correlation between exercise and sleep increases energy. While the mechanism isn’t fully known, we do know that there are positive correlations between daily exercise increasing deep restorative sleep. Consistency in exercises like running naturally increase the energy levels and improve blood flow after recovery. Learn these at-home exercises you can do by yourself.
Eating whole natural foods and staying away from processed foods with sugar additives can help your body maintain optimal performance. Think of it as gas in your tank.
Pure grape juice has up to 6.8% glucose to restore energy to your red bloods cells. That equals 16mg to 18mg of glucose per 8 ounce glass of grape juice. This keeps your blood sugar level high to maintain mental stamina and produce energy.
Tuna also contains high levels of vitamin B12. Natural vitamin B12 provides more glycogen, which is the main form of glucose storage in the body. Vitamins and natural supplements should be derived from foods first and nutrition stores last.
What would happen to your car if you put corn syrup in the gas tank? The same thing applies to our bodies. We need good sources of energy fuel. Our bodies are machines and food maintains the machine. Good food equals high performance, bad food equals low performance.
8. Natural sources of caffeine
Yerba mate can be used for boosting energy as a last resource.
When you need a pick-me-up, turn to natural sources of caffeine such as cups of coffee (quality is important), green tea (pictured at the top) and yerba mate as a last resort. Make sure that you allow ample time for the caffeine to be completely eliminated (at least 8 hours before bedtime).
If you need further natural energy ideas, please consult your naturopath or doctor for medical advice. For more great tips on staying healthy and energized visit our Wellness page!
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Jenny Golden, CNHP is Relyf's VP of Education and adjunct professor at Trinity School of Natural Health teaching the science of Endocannabinology. If you'd like to learn more please email Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org