Before you grab that 100-calorie pack of cookies for a quick burst of energy, swig down a big glass of water then consider eating something healthier. Dehydration is a common source of fatigue and can actually make you think you're hungry when you aren't in need of food. Aim for 8 glasses of water every day. Put a lemon or lime wedge in your glass for an extra lift.
One of my favorite power foods, cashews are rich in magnesium, which if deficient can cause you to regularly get the yawns. Add a handful of unsalted cashews to your morning yogurt or sprinkle them on your salad at noon.
Though you voraciously crave carbs when you're tired, your body really needs some protein and fat to drag you up from the depths of fatigue. Lean protein and amino acids can not only help you keep from having an exhausting blood sugar crash, they can also perk up your brain and make you more alert.
If depression is causing your chronic energy low, bolster your daily meals with dark, leafy greens such as arugula and spinach. The folate in dark leafies may reduce your depression symptoms and give you a boost of oomph.
Though beans get a bad rap for giving people gas, they really are fuel for your body. High in fiber and protein, beans can give you a sustained boost of energy because both fiber and protein can keep you full longer and are metabolized more slowly than high-carb foods.
Loaded with antioxidants and natural sweetness, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, which will keep your energy up longer than white potatoes or other white-carb foods. Bake or roast sweet potatoes and partner them with a lean protein for the ultimate energy meal (just be sure to keep your portion sizes small since overeating can send your energy level into a tailspin).
In addition to being a decadent treat, dark chocolate is a feel good energy food! In addition to small amounts of the renowned stimulant caffeine, dark chocolate also contains another stimulant called theobromine. Just be sure to nibble on a small portion -- if you overdo on chocolate, you'll also overdo on calories and sugar.
Not at all a surprise, coffee (or caffeinated tea) can rev up your energy because of its stimulating effect on your mind and body. Though it's not a long term solution to be more energized (and may even cause a crash if you overdose or drink it along with a high-sugar cookie or doughnut), sipping small amounts of coffee over a period of time is better than downing a grande coffee in a single sitting.
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