10 Ways to Improve Your Energy Without Coffee

1.1K

If you are here you probably find yourself constantly tired, drained, or are looking for some new ways of feeling more motivated and accomplish more things. So, grab your notebook and a pen because we’ll tackle 10 ways to naturally improve your energy levels, without coffee. And by energy levels, I mean your alertness, your speed of thought, motivation, and mood. Of course two of the most important factors are sleep and stress, but today I am not going to address those. 

Before I get started, I do want to mention that I’m not talking about extreme and unusual fatigue, which might require medical advice. What I am talking about is the general state of tiredness that can be entirely prevented by adopting some healthier habits.
Use caffeine to your advantage ☕️⚡️

I love coffee, but I tend to avoid having it every day because it often gives me a boost of energy followed by an energy crash. Caffeine works by blocking up the receptors of adenosine – a molecule that makes you feel sleepy. So you will temporarily feel more awake and energetic. But once the caffeine wears off, all that built-up adenosine comes rushing in all at once, causing a crash that makes you feel super tired. Not only that but consuming caffeine regularly makes the adenosine receptors multiply, making you need more caffeine over time. Also, this crash might make go for another cup of coffee and if you take caffeine late in the day, it can mess with the quality of your sleep, increasing your need for it the next day.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

So to avoid all these troubles, try to use caffeine to your advantage by cycling it, which means using it only when you really need it, so you don’t build a tolerance to it. Also, try to stick to a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day – which means no more than 5 shots of espresso. If you really feel you need your dose of caffeine, try to go for a tea or some dark chocolate. Tea will give you a more sustained boost of energy and will prevent the caffeine crash that normally coffee gives you.

Get your daily dose of exercise 💃🏽✨

Ever felt amazing after a hard workout? Your “high” is caused by neurochemicals released by your body. These chemicals are called endorphins – and their release contributes to a feeling of euphoria that motivates you to do more, lowers depression and anxiety symptoms, and improves your cognitive function, including concentration and memory, so it’s all good. You also feel more sharp and lively when you train often because exercise increases your heart rate and dilates your blood vessels, helping your body carry more oxygen and nutrients to your brain and other organs. On top of that, it might seem counterintuitive, but working out also makes you feel more tired and relaxed, which will improve your sleep quality – making you feel more alert and energetic the next day.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

So please, do not skip your daily workout, and even a light walk will do the trick. You can go swimming, you can cycle to work, sign up for group classes, hire a personal trainer…Just make sure you find something that you really enjoy and that you can stick to in the long term. And to find that out, just keep trying new things. 

Avoid the sugar slump 🧁🍭

When you feel tired, it can be tempting to reach for a sweet, sugar-filled snack. However, although sugar can give you a short-term energy boost, your energy will drop just as quickly. Carbs come in various forms. You have the complex carbs, that take longer to digest and release sugar into your bloodstream more slowly. And the simple carbohydrates or sugars – that you can find naturally in fruits, for example, or added to processed foods such as cakes, sweets, and sweet beverages. Your body digests simple carbs (or sugars) rapidly, injecting a lot of sugar into the bloodstream at once. This results in your body releasing large amounts of insulin to bring your blood sugar back down. This sudden rise and fall in blood sugar cause a rush of energy followed by a slump, that can leave you sleepier than before you started eating. 

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

So to avoid this slump give preference to foods rich in complex carbs — like beans, bran cereal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and nuts that have a way lower impact on your blood sugar than foods with high sugar content. Combine foods rich in complex carbohydrates with a protein source (like legumes) and some essential fatty acid that you can find for example in seeds and nuts for a meal that will provide you a steady stream of fuel that keeps you energized without peaks and crashes.

Make sure you have enough Vitamin B12 💊🌿

Unfortunately is not uncommon that our diets lack one or more nutrients like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, B12, vitamin D, and protein, which can lead to fatigue, depression, and low motivation levels. For example – B vitamins help us break down and release energy from food. One particularly important is vitamin B12, which is essential for red blood cell formation and cell metabolism. But as B12 is mostly found in animal foods and some algae – and unfortunately spirulina isn’t a good source of B12, it is estimated that approximately half of vegans are B12 deficient so you should definitely consider the addition of a B12 supplement to your diet if you suspect your fatigue might be due to a diet deficient in this vitamin. Talk with your dietitian or doctor and they’ll help you with that.  

Vegan Protein Chocolate & Hazelnut Smoothie

Get your daily dose of iron-rich foods 🥦🌮

Another nutrient to watch is Iron, this nutrient helps in the transport of oxygen and is a key element in energy production in the cells. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia and you have to pay special attention if you are a pre-menopausal woman having regular periods, a vegetarian, vegan, or pregnant.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

When in a plant-based diet make sure you have plenty of whole grains, beans, cooked beetroot, dried apricots, pumpkin or sesame seeds, nuts, and leafy greens. Combine these foods with some vitamin C rich foods, that help the iron absorption – for example, you can add kiwi or strawberries to your morning whole-grain cereals, add broccoli or bell peppers to your chickpea or lentils curry, or make a spinach whole-grain pasta with tofu. 

Get your daily dose of sunshine ☀️🌄

Another super important nutrient: vitamin D. Sunlight is your body’s primary source of Vitamin D, which not only supports your immune system and keeps your bones healthy but also helps you avoid fatigue and depression, but with the amount of time we spend indoors, most of us may not produce enough of this vitamin.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

Aim to get 10–30 minutes of midday direct sunlight, without any sunscreen, several times per week. People with darker skin may need a longer exposure time to obtain a sufficient amount of this vitamin. Also, if you live in a tropical country, this sunlight exposure might be enough all year round, but if you live in a country far from the equator you should consider vitamin D supplementation during winter months, to avoid the winter blues.

Ingest enough magnesium-rich foods 🥑🍿

Last but not least: magnesium. When we are magnesium deficient we tend to have higher heart rates and require more oxygen to do physical tasks. In essence, when magnesium deficient, our bodies work harder which, over time can leave you feeling tired.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

Add almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, dark chocolate, peanuts, bran cereals, beans, tofu and homemade popcorns to your diet, and you probably won’t need to worry about magnesium deficiency.

Get plenty of H2O 💦🍋

Let’s get straight to the point when you become dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, making it harder to provide all the cells of your body with nutrients and oxygen, so your system may become impaired and you feel sluggish. And while you probably recognize thirst and dry lips as signs of dehydration, you probably do not recognize fatigue, lack of focus, muscle weakness, and headaches as symptoms.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

It also impairs your memory, motivation, and mood. So whenever you feel tired, check your levels of hydration and drink one or two glasses of water. But even better, drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid these symptoms at all.

Avoid crash diets 😰🥗

Your body needs to take in energy in order to put out energy — and that means ingesting enough calories. Low-calorie diets or diets that severely restrict carbohydrates or fat don’t contain enough energy for your body’s needs and when that happens your body will reserve the small amounts of energy it has to more important tasks, like breathing and maintaining constant body temperature. In addition, it’s difficult to meet your vitamin and mineral needs when your calorie intake is too low.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

In order to keep your energy levels up, avoid drastic cuts in calorie intake, even if your goal is weight loss. If you need to lose weight, do so gradually, without skimping on essential nutrients or starving yourself of the calories you need for your basic functions and daily activities. 

Apple red berries crisp crumble - Zest and the city
Healthy Apple and Red Berries Crisp
Take care of your gut bacteria 🦠🥰

Our body’s harbor an enormous variety of microorganisms that are hugely important for our health. Our intestinal bacteria help us digest everything we consume, enabling us to absorb all the vital nutrients we need to keep us healthy. Without enough good bacteria, though, we’re unable to fully assimilate all of the vitamins and minerals in the foods we eat and our energy levels suffer. Some of these bacterias even produce vitamins B and K. 

Besides the absorption functions, these good microbes also help us calm down and improve our mood by producing brain chemicals. In fact, over 90% of all the serotonin (the “happy chemical”) in our body is produced in our gut! And as our mood and our energy levels usually go hand in hand, a better mood will surely make you feel more energetic. 

Here are 5 simple ways to take care of your gut:

  • reduce your processed food intake. 
  • do not use antibiotics without your doctor’s recommendation, as antibiotics kill bacterias – the bad and the good.
  • add probiotics to your diet – probiotics are foods that contain live microorganisms, like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh. Ingesting your daily dose of probiotics is as simple as having a yogurt.
  • add prebiotics to your diet – which are the fibers that feed your gut bacteria – you can find prebiotics fiber-rich foods like onion, garlic, banana, oatmeal, or apples, for example.
  • avoid artificial sweeteners that may have a negative impact on out gut microbiota.

Healthy & Vegan Rawnola

WHEN YOU NEED A QUICK BOOST ⚡️

When I need a fast but sustained energy boost I love these FUDGY BROWNIE ENERGY BALLS. They are packed with dates, that have both fast and slow-release carbohydrates and fibers so you get a quick but steady moderate rise in your energy levels. The cacao will also help improve your energy levels because of its small amount of caffeine, and flavonoids, a component that improves cognitive function and boosts your mood.

Fudgy Brownie Energy Balls
So, to wrap things up:

exercise a lot, keep your blood sugar levels steady, take care of your gut microbiome, hydrate a lot, make sure you give your body all the nutrients it needs, and use caffeine to your advantage. You might think that these habits are basic or nothing out of the extraordinary, but ask yourself… Which ones do you put into practice most of the time? I hope you enjoyed these tips and have a beautiful week! 

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Zest & The City © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
Close