Natural Energy Boosters: What to Drink and Eat for More Energy Naturally

The human body requires a variety of natural foods to run at peak performance. When high quantities of processed and ultra-processed foods are consumed, the body slows down, and people begin to feel sluggish and tired. While most whole foods are natural energy boosters, some contain even higher amounts of energy-boosting nutrients.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in a variety of plants, including coffee, tea, and cacao plants. It is the most popular natural energy booster, with most people consuming caffeine in some way each day. A synthetic form of caffeine is an additive in highly refined products, like soft-drinks and energy drinks.

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system. This causes the brain to feel more alert and awake. Too much caffeine intake can cause overstimulation, a jittery feeling, and possibly insomnia. When used in moderation, plant sources of caffeine can be effective natural energy boosters.

Coffee, black tea, and green tea are the most common sources of caffeine. Coffee has the highest concentration of caffeine with an average of 96 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces. Black tea contains 47 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces while green tea contains just 28 milligrams per 8 ounces. Some experts believe that green tea is the best natural energy booster because its lower caffeine content produces a more sustained and gentler boost of energy.

Complex carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the powerhouse of natural energy boosters. There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates are very quickly converted into glucose through digestion. This creates a short burst of energy followed by a steep decline in energy. Often people feel lethargic or sleepy after a simple carbohydrate-filled meal due to this effect. Though some simple carbohydrates, like white rice and fruit juice, are natural energy boosters, their energy is short-lived. Most simple carbohydrates are highly processed and include high quantities of refined sugars.

Complex carbohydrates, or polysaccharides, have larger molecules than simple carbohydrates. This causes the starches to be digested and converted to energy more slowly. The slower conversion provides the body with a longer lasting natural energy boost. Consuming complex carbohydrates does not cause the sharp incline followed by the sharp decline in energy that simple carbohydrates cause. This makes complex-carbohydrate foods excellent natural energy boosters.

Complex carbohydrates are found in natural energy boosters, like whole grains, beans, whole fruit, and starchy vegetables. Choose unprocessed or low-processed foods for a healthy, natural energy boost.

Iron-Rich Foods

Iron is an important part of a balanced diet. Iron aids in the production of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. When iron-deficient, or anemic, the body has a lack of red blood cells, which causes fatigue and weakness. Many natural energy booster foods are high in iron.

There are two forms of iron in foods: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is in a form that is most easily absorbed by the body. Sources of heme iron include meat, fish, poultry, shellfish and eggs. These iron sources do not require vitamin C to be absorbed. Lean proteins are a great source of iron and serve well as natural energy boosters.

Non-heme iron is less easily absorbed by the body. In order to increase the amount of iron available for absorption in non-heme iron foods, they must be consumed alongside heme iron foods or foods rich in vitamin C. Natural energy boosters like spinach, swiss chard, kale, beans, peas, raisins, tofu, and pumpkin seeds require vitamin C to become more easily absorbed by the body. Pair these foods with citrus, tomatoes, potatoes, or berries to help increase iron absorption.

Less Common Natural Energy Boosters

There are many natural energy boosters found in plants that are less commonly discussed.

Capuacu is a fruit found in the rainforest that is used for a variety of health benefits, including as a natural energy booster. It is related to the cacao plant, and the energy boost gained from consuming capaucu is similar to that of caffeine.

Another less known natural energy booster is found in the bark of the Marapuama tree, which grows in South America. Marapuama bark extract is used to treat a variety of ailments, including fatigue.

The common beet is an unexpected natural energy booster. Beets contain high levels of natural nitrates that aid in increased stamina and better oxygen use during exercise. As complex carbohydrates, they also supply the body with a slow-release source of energy. Beets are also a good source of iron as well as vitamin C, both of which are important for non-heme iron absorption.

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