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Published on September 17, 2019

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

More by this author

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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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