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Published on March 23, 2021

23 Foods That Give You An Energy Boost Instantly

23 Foods That Give You An Energy Boost Instantly
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Our lives are increasingly busy, and our to-do-lists seemingly endless. Tending to the constant flow of things that need our attention can leave us feeling stressed and drained, which can seriously affect our productivity.

While reaching for a sugary power drink may be your go-to solution when looking for a quick pick-me-up, there are plenty of healthy foods that give you energy and provide you with an instant power boost. You just need to find the ones that work best for you.

I have prepared a list of 23 energy boosting foods that not only give you a boost of energy quickly but also provide essential nutrients to keep your body healthy and alert all day long.

If you are unsure what your next shopping list should look like, read on to learn about the best energizing foods that help fight exhaustion.

1. Water

Let’s open this list with the queen of all drinks – water! Next time you feel exhausted and sluggish, treat your body to a tall glass of water!

If your energy levels are still depleting despite your healthy sleeping and eating habits, chances are you haven’t been taking enough water to keep your body running properly.

Unfortunately, dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches, so if you need to shake that tiredness off, increase your daily water intake.

2. Coffee

Can you imagine kicking off your day without a cup of your favorite coffee? I bet you can’t!

Coffee can jumpstart your body and give you your energy back in no time. And that’s all thanks to a miracle compound called caffeine.

Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. It keeps both the mind and the body awake and sharp.[1]

Coffee is also rich in several important antioxidants, like hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, which help the body restore its energy by fighting oxidative stress in the cells.

So, regardless of how you prefer having your ‘magic potion,’ coffee is a lot more than an energy booster — coffee is a ritual.

At Lifehack, you can get yourself an effective energy boosting coffee – Infuel Energy Plus Coffee. Check out this at the Lifehack Shop.

3. Peppermint Tea

Surprised to see peppermint tea on this list? Don’t be!

Research shows that natural compounds found in mint tea can energize the body, reduce fatigue, and improve mental focus and sharpness.[2] It’s quite stimulating, even though it doesn’t contain any psychoactive substances like caffeine.

Peppermint tea can be used on its own as a light, refreshing drink, or you can choose to add it to your favorite herbal blend for an extra energy kick.

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According to folk medicine, brewing it for 10 to 15 minutes will release components that will relax your body and make you sleepy, but a short brew of 5 minutes will keep you alert and focused when you need it most.

4. Natural Energy Drinks

If you are not much of a coffee drinker but still need your daily caffeine shot, natural energy drinks are the perfect solution for your worn-out energy levels.

Packed with plant-sourced caffeine and usually low on added sugars and calories, these brainpower jack-ups will sharpen your focus and improve concentration.

Some of the most popular natural energy drinks are Matcha green tea and Yerba Mate. Besides the pretty high levels of caffeine, these drinks also contain powerful antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acids, which help fight free radicals, inflammation, and cellular damage. [3]

5. Peanut Butter

A spoonful of this calorie-dense nutty spread goes a long way in providing delicious power jolts. Peanut butter is a superfood because it’s loaded with healthy fats, protein, and fiber that keep hunger at bay and maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Still not convinced? We’ve got more:

Peanut butter is also a carbohydrate, and, as we all know, carbs are easily converted into quick energy![4]

So next time you are about to hit the gym, allow yourself a spoon of this nutty treat and see the difference in performance.

6. Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, and sardines (a.k.a “brain food”) are great energizing lunch or dinner options. They are a healthy source of protein and vitamin B, which plays a crucial part in converting food into energy.

You will also find these types of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that omega-3s help reduce inflammation – a major culprit behind burnout and fatigue. [5]

7. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is your creamy, substantial energy solution!

It consists of simple carbohydrates like lactose and galactose that provide quick energy when broken down. It also stores an impressive amount of healthy proteins that promote your metabolism.

Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium which is crucial for bone health. It’s also rich in vitamins B6 and B12 that play an important role in turning food into fuel for our cells.

8. Edamame

Packing a whopping 27 grams per cup, edamame is currently one of the most popular protein/energy sources, especially among vegans.[6]

This healthy pick-me-up snack is low in calories but high in carbohydrates, fiber, folic acid, manganese, vitamins, and minerals.

In combination with iron, folic acid promotes energy and fights fatigue. Manganese, on the other hand, contributes to better energy absorption by helping the body break down carbs and fats.

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This power-combo will regulate your blood sugar levels and help you stay high-energy for a lot longer.

9. Whole Grain Bread

A slice of whole-grain bread provides you with around 70 calories, mostly in the form of carbohydrates. The body starts breaking down carbs fast, which gives you an instant boost.

But there’s a bonus:

Whole grain bread is a complex carbohydrate[7] that allows energy to be released slowly and steadily, keeping you up and running for longer throughout the day.

10. Avocados

Avocados are literally nature’s super achievers. They are a high-fat food packed with healthy fiber, powerful antioxidants, and B vitamins.

The high levels of fatty acids found in avocados help in nutrient absorption and sustain your energy levels throughout the day.

They are heart-healthy, weight-loss-friendly, and mix well with other ingredients for a tasty meal.

11. Apples

One apple a day keeps the hunger at bay!

Apples are all-around champions. They are rich in vitamins, fiber, and carbohydrates which are the main sources of fuel for the body and the brain.

However, apples are also low on the glycemic index scale, so they won’t cause a sugar rush and leave you tired and hungry in no time.

Moreover, they are also full of antioxidants that, according to several studies, can slow down the process of carb digestion, which prolongs the effect of long-lasting energy.[8]

And if that wasn’t enough, they are cheap and easily available!

12. Spinach

According to research, nutrient-dense leafy green veggies like spinach and kale contain tons of vitamin K (excellent for your bones), lutein (promotes eyesight), and of course, iron.

With iron deficiency being one of the main culprits behind chronic fatigue, leafy greens can replenish your body’s iron reserves and add some vitamin C for better iron absorption. [9]

Amazing right? It looks like spinach can perk you up when you are feeling tired and drained of all energy.

13. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate may not be the healthiest food on this list, but it sure is the tastiest, right?

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Whether it makes your favorite snack or you try to steer clear of it, dark chocolate is an excellent power booster. However, it’s lower on sugar, so it will provide you with long-lasting energy and not just a sugar rush.

When shopping the shelves for dark chocolate, aim for bars with more than 75% cocoa. That way, you will benefit from cocoa’s antioxidants such as flavonoids that increase energy sustainability.

14. Oatmeal

Oats are a favorite go-to meal for many gym-goers. The power of oatmeal lies in its high fiber and protein contents that will keep your hunger at bay and your energy levels up during the day.

Oatmeal also packs a decent amount of B vitamins, iron, and manganese that help your body’s energy production processes. Just have in mind to avoid instant oatmeal packets that are loaded with added sugars and salt.

15. Dried Fruit

You got it right – oatmeal is your blank canvas for a healthier, more delicious meal, and dried fruit is the perfect match for the job.

Dried cranberries, cherries, goji berries, and many other fruits are an immediate source of energy.[10] They are loaded with micronutrients, fiber and antioxidants and are also high in vitamin D that helps energy find its way to the muscles.

16. Nuts

Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios – you name it!

They are famous for their high-calorie density that gives you a much-needed energy boost. They are also full of calcium, magnesium, iron, healthy fatty acids, and antioxidants that help with inflammation and overall cellular health.

This powerful combination of nutrients promotes a lasting and effective use of energy.

Together with dried fruits and seeds, nuts make a great addition to your trail mix to help you power through your day!

17. Eggs

Eggs are one of the best foods that give you energy, and no superfood list would ever be complete without them.

Eggs contain key nutrients like folate, thiamine, and B vitamins—essential elements for converting food into sustained energy. There’s also the leucine that stimulates the production of energy in the cells.

And if that wasn’t enough, eggs pack around 6g of complete protein that helps maintain muscle mass.

Simply put, that omelet you had will help you get through a lot more than your morning zoom call.

18. Bananas

Ever wondered why athletes love bananas so much? Yes, they are sweet and tasty, but they are also the superfruit you need to jolt your energy!

Bananas pack high quantities of potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6 that promote proper muscle function. They are also an excellent source of complex carbs that digest more slowly, resulting in sustained energy.

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19. Sweet Potatoes

If you are looking for a healthy yet filling source of fiber and carbs, sweet potatoes are the real deal.

The high amount of complex carbohydrates found in sweet potatoes will provide long-term energy and control your hunger.

In addition, this super delicious root contains high quantities of manganese (breaks down nutrients for faster energy production) and copious amounts of vitamin A.

20. Brown Rice

Brown rice is whole grain rice, meaning less processed and energy-boosting! It’s high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and that’s exactly why it ranks higher on the scale of nutritional value.

The absence of husk in white rice allows for faster digestion, leading to a spike in sugar and energy levels and then the inevitable crash, which won’t be the case with brown rice.

Also, similar to sweet potatoes and oats, brown rice is rich in manganese, allowing for a faster and more efficient transformation of the food into energy.

21. Oranges

These citrusy goodies are loaded with vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that decreases oxidative stress in the body and prevents fatigue.

Studies also suggest that higher levels of vitamin C in the body improve the mood and lower the chances of developing anger, depression, and confusion.[11]

22. Green Tea

You thought coffee and energy drinks are the only caffeine-infused drinks, right? Wrong!

Green tea is an excellent source of caffeine, and as a psychoactive compound, it can boost your energy and make you more alert and focused. But it can also give you the jitters and tighten anxiety.

That’s where L-theanine comes in: it counteracts the negative caffeine effects and provides a smoother energy boost.

23. Honey

Honey is the quick-fix you’ve been looking for, and it’s tasty!

We have all heard about the health benefits of bee nectar, but realistically speaking, honey won’t help much when it comes to sustained energy.

However, it has the power to drag you out of your 3. p.m. slump in a split second. To prolong its effects, add a spoonful to Greek yogurt, toss in some nuts and seeds, and you’re set.

The Takeaway

When life gets busy and you need a quick pick-me-up to power through your days, remember that there are a ton of healthy foods that can give you energy fast.

Whether you are looking for carb-rich foods for an instant energy boost, or something packed with protein and healthy fats that will sustain your energy levels all day long, the options are almost endless.

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But don’t forget that there are also plenty of things you can do to keep your energy levels up all year round!

Featured photo credit: Hermes Rivera via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Maxime Saar

Healthy Lifestyle Blogger & Positive Thinker

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1 Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better 2 What Is the Best Time to Take Your Vitamins? 3 Do Vitamins and Supplements Help With Energy? 4 7 Ways Regular Exercise Boosts Your Mood And Energy 5 How To Take a Cold Shower For the Best Health Benefits

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Published on July 15, 2021

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better
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Are you having trouble sleeping? Or do you feel like you can barely stay awake when you need to? Are you left tired and irritable, lacking the joy and motivation that life once brought? If these complaints are tied to your long or rotating work schedule, you may be suffering from shift work disorder—a common ailment among professions with schedules outside the typical 9 am to 6 pm range.[1]

Why does it matter? Let’s be honest—being tired stinks. It feels terrible and leaves you vulnerable to many health risks that well-rested people aren’t as susceptible to. Not only that, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships and quality of life.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help manage this, and you can start trying them out today! Some of the solutions may not be what you expect. For instance, you might have linked improved sleep to exercise, but did you know that being compassionate with yourself can also have an impact?

Who Are Affected by Shift Work Disorder?

Twenty-five million people are shift workers in the country, so you are far from alone if you are struggling with this. Shift work disorder is a condition frequently affecting anyone who works a job where their schedule is outside standard business hours. Nurses, police officers, firefighters, and factory workers are common examples of professions with schedules that rotate around the clock.

Rotating shifts naturally leads to a change in one’s schedule, including sleep. As your sleep schedule becomes more chaotic, your body is unable to adjust and regulate itself and can result in having difficulty falling or staying asleep. This inevitably leads to less sleep, which is where some big problems can arise.

What Are the Symptoms?

Sleep is one of the most important (and underrated) aspects of our lives. Enough sleep and good quality sleep are critical to our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Insufficient sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of physical health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Mentally, being tired contributes to having scattered concentration, difficulty processing information, and being more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. Emotionally, the fallout of being chronically exhausted is linked to poor emotional regulation including being irritated more quickly, as well as an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.[2]

Any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading for some scientifically-based tips to help you manage your sleep better and get your life back.

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17 Ways to Manage Shift Work Disorder Better

Quality sleep, or the lack thereof, impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most impactful plan of attack against shift work disorder and to regain quality sleep must also reflect that.

I suggest reading through all of the tips and formulating a plan based on what you think will work for you. Start by trying out one thing and build from there as you are able. Remember to construct a plan that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Let’s start in the most obvious place first:

Your Job

1. Make Your Schedule the Best It Can Be

Randomly rotating shifts has been found to have the worst impact on our health.[3] If you have to rotate your schedule, request to rotate shifts in a clockwise fashion.

For example: work the day shift, rotate to the nights, then to the early morning shift, then start back on the day shift. Sounds silly? It’s not. Studies show that our bodies more easily adjust to changes in schedule when completed in a clockwise manner.[4] This is because of something called our circadian rhythm—24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock that carry out essential functions. The most commonly known of these is sleep. It has been discovered that our circadian rhythm adjusts forward more easily than it does backward.

2. Speak to Your Manager About Keeping Your Workplace Bright

Special lights have been designed to assist with circadian rhythm. It turns out that absorbing bright light that is most similar to sunlight can positively impact regulating our circadian rhythm.[5]

3. Avoid a Long Commute to and From Work

Having a long drive home after working a rotating shift is statistically not in your best interest. It’s been shown that fatigued/sleepy employees are 70% more likely to have a workplace accident and 33% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.[6]

To avoid putting yourself at risk by driving when you’re not at your best, catch a nap before leaving work, pull over to sleep, or stay at a friend’s house nearby.

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4. Speak to Your Manager About Your Concerns

Many companies that operate around the clock are willing and able to make accommodations to those working alternative shifts. Whether it’s helping you find a schedule that works best for you or connecting you with other programs designed to support your well-being, being in good communication with your employer is to everyone’s benefit.

Sleep Attitudes and Environment

5. Change Your Perspective and Start Prioritizing Sleep

Here’s the deal: despite some pretty well-known dangerous effects of not getting enough sleep, somewhere along the line, our society began to think of sleep as a luxury. Some even consider it a badge of honor to “power through” without much (or any) sleep. People have been made to feel embarrassed or lazy if they get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Here’s the bottom line: sleep is not a luxury.

Let me repeat that—sleep is not a luxury, and getting a consistent and healthy amount does not make you a slacker. Sleep is actually when our body does a lot of repair work on itself—blood vessels, muscles, and other organs. Sleep also boosts our immunity.

If we could help people feel as proud about sleeping as we do about them working out regularly or sticking to a healthy diet, people might be a lot healthier.

6. Make Your Sleep Space as Conducive to Rest as Possible

This means tweaking your environment so it’s as enticing as possible for your body to go to sleep. Keep the room dark using blackout blinds, reduce the temperature (our body rests best when slightly cool), limit interruptions (phone calls, visitors, noise), and remove electronic devices.[7]

Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself through your surroundings. If you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t frequently surround yourself with cookies, cake, and ice cream, right? Same idea here.

Personal Habits and Choices

7. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule as Closely as Possible—on Workdays and Days Off

This is obviously difficult when your schedule changes on the regular, but the more consistent you can keep your bedtime, the easier time your body has getting to sleep and staying that way.[8]

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8. Allow Yourself Time to Catch Up on Sleep

Having enough days off to rest and recuperate is an important aspect of protecting your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive across the country on one tank of gas, right? Filling your own personal gas tank is just as important.

9. Take Naps, but Don’t Overdo It

It’s recommended by the Cleveland Clinic to take a 90-minute nap just before starting your shift and then a 30-minute nap during your “lunch break” at work.[9] Again, this is all about keeping some gas in your tank and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are running on fumes. Short naps will help you stay refreshed and alert on the job.

10. Limit Caffeine to the Start of Your Shift

Most of us love a good hit of caffeine, especially when we are tired. But overdoing it or having caffeine too late in your shift can negatively impact your ability to get to sleep when you finally have the time to do so. Moderate your intake to help yourself get some quality sleep.

11. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

Unwinding after work with a drink can be tempting. It can make you drowsy, which many people mistakenly believe will help them get better sleep. Unfortunately, alcohol will actually keep you awake (or wake you up later). This obviously impairs your ability to get the quality of sleep you are looking for.

12. Don’t Smoke

Much like alcohol, people turn to nicotine to “calm their nerves” or help them relax. Also, like alcohol, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep.[10] Cut back or cut this habit out as able.

13. Eat Well and Eat Smart

Choose convenient nutritious meals and snacks. Nutritious food is the foundation from which our body creates the needed chemicals for quality sleep. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have been shown to have the worst impact on sleep.[11]

Also, timing is everything as they say. Eating too much or not enough before your shift can cause you to feel tired.

14. Get Regular Exercise

According to numerous studies, exercise can be as effective in treating sleep disorders as prescription medication.[12] Yes, you read that correctly—regular exercise is the bomb!

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This one can be tricky to convince people to do, especially if they are already tired and short on time. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, take a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favorite song, or mow your lawn. Despite feeling tired, getting up off the couch and moving around (moderate to vigorous exercise) is best for reducing the time it takes to get to sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

Mental and Emotional

15. Establish Consistent Practices That Help You Relax Before Bed

This can include yoga, deep breathing, a warm bath, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis. These are designed to reduce physical tension and quiet your mind from thoughts that are keeping you awake. There are lots of great apps and free videos that can help you with this.

16. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, works by helping you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make sleep worse and then developing new habits consisting of thoughts and behaviors that promote sleep. There are psychologists and life coaches who are specially certified in CBT that can help you with this.

17. Show Yourself Some Compassion

Sounds silly? Well, it’s not. A seven-year study conducted at the University of Mannheim concluded that the daily practice of self-compassion positively impacted people’s quality of sleep.[13]

The concept of showing ourselves compassion is foreign (and uncomfortable) to many of us. Try going easy on yourself for being grumpy, and give yourself some credit for the efforts you are making in tough circumstances. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with the same situation? I routinely ask my clients this question as it’s sometimes easier to be compassionate to others than ourselves. This tip might take some practice, but the effort could result in a better night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Okay, there you have it—17 different ways you can help yourself manage shift work disorder, feel more rested, more like yourself, and enjoy life again. To get started with your plan, pick out a few tips that you can implement today, but remember to choose a well-rounded approach—addressing the physical, mental and emotional.

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build new habits. And show yourself some compassion and kindness—you might just be able to sleep better when you do.

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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Reference

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