Last updated September 9, 2022
Burnout is real. Long hours and stressful schedules are real. These are just some aspects of our busy, overworked lifestyles that can make us feel tired and burned out.
Our energy levels fluctuate naturally throughout the day—after we have a meal energy increases and before meals, it diminishes explaining why we might experience an energy slump during the day.
This energy slump can make us feel less productive and ready to take a nap but there are things we can do to improve our energy and focus without hitting the sack early in the afternoon.
There are many natural energy boosters that can help you keep your energy levels constant and stable throughout the day without the need to reach for sugar.
Your energy levels can be determined by many factors such as how much sleep you’ve had, the type and quantity of food you eat and your metabolism.
Even though all foods technically give us energy, some are much better than others in helping us maintain our focus, productivity and alertness throughout the day.
These are the top natural energy boosters that will give you energy fast.
When it comes to all-natural sources of energy, bananas are at the top of the list. Bananas offer complex carbohydrates, potassium and vitamin B6 which help to boost energy levels.
They are one of the most complete foods around, not to mention accessible and affordable.
Bananas also contain tyrosine, an amino acid that helps the brain produce norepinephrine which, when activated can help to improve concentration, focus and alertness.
Bananas are low glycemic, ensuring that energy levels don’t spike and later fall consuming them, even though they do have natural sugar.
Vitamin B6, found in bananas can also help with energy levels and cognitive function not to mention that bananas have also been linked to stabilizing mood and increased athletic performance.
Maca is a root originating from the Andes regions of Peru. Maca has gained more and more popularity recently due to its proven ability to increase energy, performance and muscle mass.
Maca, however, is very different from many other natural ‘energy boosters’ on the market.
Firstly maca is extremely rich in nutrients with a high amount of proteins, fiber, amino acids, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium, calcium as well as Vitamins A, B1,2,3 and Vitamins C and D.
It’s also an adaptogen meaning it increases the body’s resistance to disease and disturbances in cells. It contains no caffeine or any synthetic energy enhancers.
Maca can be taken in supplement form or as a powder to add to smoothies or oatmeal. It has a nice but subtle, nutty flavor.
If like me you’re someone who’s quite sensitive to caffeine, green tea provides the perfect alternative caffeine energy boost when compared with coffee.
The key ingredient in green tea is caffeine but it contains much less than a typical cup of coffee. Studies show that moderate to low caffeine consumption can actually help to improve brain function, memory and mood.
Green tea also contains L- theanine which actually changes the effects of caffeine in the body making you much less jittery and helps you to avoid that post-coffee slump in energy.
Coconut water is a hydration powerhouse of a drink with many health benefits. Containing natural electrolytes, it’s the perfect post-workout sports drink without the artificial sugar and food coloring.
Coconut water is also full of potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as antioxidants that help to ward off cramps and muscle aches.
While coconut water itself doesn’t give you energy, it does keep you hydrated which is the most important factor. It’s when we are dehydrated that we feel tired, lethargic and lifeless.
Whenever you feel like you need some natural energy boosters, make sure to check your hydration levels first—if you haven’t drunk much water then reach for a large glass of water or coconut water before reaching for anything else.
Sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, manganese and all your RDI of Vitamin A. Due to their dense mix of complex carbohydrates and fiber, your body digests them slowly keeping you fuller for longer and full of energy.
If you need some extra energy in the afternoon or for an evening workout, sweet potatoes are perfect for including in your lunch or as a mid-afternoon snack.
We may have been raised to believe that chocolate is bad for us from a young age but that isn’t exactly true. It’s the sugar, milk solids and fat added to cocoa that’s unhealthy rather than the actual chocolate.
Dark chocolate has a high cocoa content and its antioxidants in cocoa that have many health benefits such as increasing blood flow throughout the body, which can be especially helpful during exercise and days of high amounts of movement.
A rise in the body’s blood flow increases how much oxygen the brain receives which can help to reduce mental fatigue and mood.
Next time you have to concentrate on a task or meet a deadline, have a few squares of good quality dark chocolate. It’s important however to make sure to read ingredients well when buying chocolate. Try to buy at least 65% cocoa solids with as little sugar as possible.
There are so many different natural energy booster foods out there all with their own properties, vitamin and mineral profiles.
In order to have a good, constant flow of energy throughout the day the most important thing to do is to eat a whole foods, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and protein. Drinking plenty of water is essential too.
What are your favourite go-to natural energy boosters?