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13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

Do you find you need a “pick-me-up” in the middle of the day? Or maybe your energy wanes just before it’s time to leave work?

Many of us feel fatigued at a certain point during the day – maybe you didn’t go to bed early enough, or maybe you’re a new parent and just not getting enough sleep through the night because your baby is up. You could be having trouble sleeping and possibly need to look at your sleeping habits…

What if there were some foods that could help increase your energy and are actually healthy for you?

Before we get in to the actual foods that can give you a boost of energy, let’s talk briefly about how to eat for optimal energy. People that stay energetic through the day do a few key things:

  • To maintain blood sugar levels and energy evenly throughout the day, it’s best to snack every 2 -3 hours
  • Having a balanced mix of the macro-nutrients — protein, fat and carbohydrate, helps to ensure a slow, steady release of energy throughout the day
  • Including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure we get required vitamins and nutrients from these amazing foods!

In addition to eating healthy, balanced meals and snacks spaced throughout the day, there are many foods that can help give a more immediate boost. Although oftentimes when we are tired, we crave “junk” foods, these will do a much better job of boosting stamina without the terrible sugar crash soon after. Let’s take a look at the Fast Energy Foods:

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1. Caffeine

This common morning “happiness-in-a-mug” as coffee or some teas not only promotes central nervous system stimulation thus, boosting brain function; it is also a major source of antioxidants and may possibly promote a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and liver disease.

Caffeine is said to affect some neurotransmitters that could improve mood, reaction time, learning and vigilance.

2. Mint Leaves

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition says peppermint is thought to increase ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, which can lead to an increase in energy – so this is an excellent pick me up mid day to get you through the afternoon.[1]

3. Ginger

Ginger is said to reduce fatigue by improving blood circulation and blood sugar levels. This deliciously fragrant food may also offer help to migraine sufferers – comparable even to the drug sumatriptan and with less side effects.[2]

Adding certain foods to your diet on a regular basis can help increase your overall energy on the long term basis. Not only do they provide many health benefits in one, they directly or indirectly increase your energy. Here’re some Long Term Energy Foods:

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4. Quinoa

Discovered by the Incas and thought to increase the stamina of their warriors – this grain has been touted as the super grain of the future.

Quinoa is the most protein rich grain available as well as a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids needed by the body. Quinoa contains iron among other things that can help boost brain function as the brain takes in about 20 % of our blood oxygen. It also contains Riboflavin (vitamin b2) which improves energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells thus, helping create proper energy production in cells.

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains caffeine as well as theobromine which both help to boost energy levels – the darker the chocolate, the less sugar and more energy boosting potential it has. You can have your chocolate and eat it too!

6. Yogurt

Yogurt has a high amount of protein which can help you feel full for longer, so hunger will not distract you from concentration. The fat content in Greek yogurt also tends to be more satisfying as if you’d eaten a decadent dessert!

7. Berries

One study found that black currants can improve the symptoms of computer eye strain – a common cause of fatigue in the workday. Goji berries are known to have high concentrations of melatonin which can improve sleep thus giving us more energy during the day.

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Berries are also said to stave off cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The healthy natural sugar in these sweet treats help offer a quick boost in your day.

8. Lentils

Lentils are excellent at stabilizing blood sugar and thus, giving you a slow burning source of energy to last long periods. They also help increase your iron stores which can help boost energy as well.

9. Walnuts

These nuts contain healthy fats, fibre and protein which prevents energy crashes and keeps your energy more level throughout the day.

10. Cherries

Cherries are another excellent source of melatonin, which can help you to get a better night’s sleep to keep you fresh through the day.[3]

11. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are an excellent source of quick, usable energy that provides many essential nutrients including Vitamin A, B-6, C and D.

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12. Salmon

Salmon fish contain omega fatty acids which are said to improve brain function and reduce fatigue – also providing vitamin b and protein which can help sustain energy throughout the day.

13. Green Tea

This type of tea contains some caffeine which we know boosts energy. This warm gem has also been associated with a 30 % reduction in breast cancer risk!

Learn more about the benefits of green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

The Bottom Line

So many of the foods we eat can help boost our energy. Whether they are carbohydrate dense for readily available energy, or packed with fiber and protein for a slower energy release, they can help increase power and stamina.

As a bonus, a lot of these foods also contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which have been shown to play a role in the production of energy within your cells; and they all provide many other health benefits.

Incorporating these foods into a varied diet will definitely help increase energy levels throughout the day and help to stave off that mid to late day slump!

Featured photo credit: THE 5TH via unsplash.com

Reference

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Laura Barr

Laura is a registered clinical massage therapist & certified fitness consultant specializing in holistic nutrition, injury & weight management.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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