Are you tired of feeling tired? Does your energy level seem to drop at various times throughout the day? Well then get ready, because we have some super suggestions on how to boost low energy without having to down endless cups of coffee, conventional energy drinks, or other sources of caffeine.
Whether you are feeling the effects of the mid-winter blues, have been burning the candle at both ends, are struggling to keep a busy schedule, or can’t put your finger on the source of your fatigue, don’t despair. You should find several ways to fix your low energy levels naturally among the following suggestions. In fact, we suggest you combine two or more of these ideas as a way to super-size your energy boost without caffeine.
1. Eat "live" foods
When you focus on eating a balanced diet that is rich in live or raw foods, you can’t help but feel energized. That’s because live foods keep all of their nutrients intact; that is, they have not been destroyed by cooking. Heating foods to 106 degrees F or higher for 30 minutes destroys enzymes, which are considered to be the life force of foods. Examples of live foods are raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, wheatgrass, and sprouted seeds, beans, grains, and legumes.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy live, raw foods is to make a smoothie. The number of smoothie possibilities is endless, so you could probably have a different live food smoothie every day for a year and not repeat yourself! Here’s one to get you started that the whole family can enjoy.
Green Delight Smoothie
4 cups of coconut water
3 cups mango, peeled
4 cups baby spinach
1 avocado peeled and pitted
1 one-inch piece of fresh turmeric root
½ cup fresh mint leaves
1 Tbs chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
Blend all ingredients together (except for the nuts) until smooth and top with nuts.
2. Try moringa
One of the most nutritious plants on the planet is moringa (Moringa oleifera), which is native to areas of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and in the tropics. All parts of the plant (leaves, roots, flowers, bark, fruit, seeds) are used to make medicine to treat various ailments, ranging from anemia (characterized by fatigue), arthritis, cancer, constipation, diabetes, stomach ulcers, headache, high blood pressure, and thyroid disorders (also related to energy levels).
Moringa is an excellent source of antioxidants, protein, vitamins (including B vitamins), and minerals, especially iron but also calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. These nutrients are the main reason moringa is so good for boosting energy.
Although you can add Moringa leaves to salads and other foods, many people prefer to use a powdered moringa supplement. Moringa powder is easy to add to smoothies, sauces, dips, and soups and is readily absorbed and used by the body. A typical dose is 2 teaspoons. For a great morning pick-me-up, try a cup of moringa tea.
3. Keep moving
As the old saying goes, energy begets energy. That means, once you initiate movement, you will gather momentum to produce more energy to keep moving. You don’t need to run a marathon; simply get up from your sofa or desk and take a brisk walk. Grab the leash and take your dog out. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Turn on your favorite tune and dance dance dance. Even standing up from your desk and stretching for several minutes will enhance blood circulation, elevate your breathing, and give you a shot of energy.
4. Get good sleep
This seems like a no-brainer, but the secret word here is “good.” A sleep cycle consists of four stages:
- Stage 1, the transition between awake and sleep
- Stage 2, light sleep when memories are consolidated
- Stage 3, which is the most restorative stage. Stages 1-3 last about 4 to 7 hours of your overall sleep time
- Stage 4, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is the dreaming stage. If you wake up or are awakened during REM, you will likely feel groggy or overly sleepy. This stage usually makes up 90 to 120 minutes of a night’s sleep.
Typically, people go through a sleep cycle four to five times a night.
To help ensure you get through all the sleep cycles with few or no awakenings, here are a few tips:
- Establish a pre-bedtime routine that allows you to decompress. Take a hot shower or bath with lavender essential oil, listen to relaxing music, read something light, meditate, or have a cup of chamomile tea. Do Not Exercise before retiring.
- Stay away from electronic devices, including your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and TV at least 30 minutes before retiring. Wear a pair of blue blocker glasses as they help to block any blue light emitting from your electronic devices.
- Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable in terms of temperature, clothing (PJ's), pillows and covers, and lighting. Complete darkness is best.
- Consider a natural supplement if you are having trouble getting to and staying asleep. Some options include magnesium, melatonin, theanine, passion flower, and valerian root. All are available as supplements, but the latter two are also available as teas.
5. Stay hydrated
Few people realize that dehydration is the most common cause of fatigue. That’s because when your body lacks sufficient fluid, your heart needs to work harder to provide your body with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive. The next time you feel tired, ask yourself: “When was the last time I drank water or a hydrating beverage?” Diuretic beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks can cause you to urinate frequently and lose fluids. In addition, dehydration can cause cognitive problems such as problems with short-term memory and fogginess as well as dizziness.
Remembering to hydrate throughout the day can be challenging, so here’s a suggestion: designate a special sustainable water bottle that you will fill with water (and lemon, mint, cucumber, or other natural flavorings) and carry it with you all day. Consume at least two 32-ounce bottles during the day.
6. Take tulsi
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Lin), also known as holy basil, is an adaptogenic herb, which means it has special qualities that help balance energy levels and fight fatigue. Research has shown that Tulsi can help protect your body against environmental stressors such as heavy metals, air and water pollutants, excessive noise, prolonged physical exercise, and exposure to the cold, all of which can drain your energy.
Tulsi also plays a role in regulating blood pressure, lipid levels, and blood sugar levels, as well as providing antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of pathogens. All of these factors can have a positive impact on energy levels.
Choose tulsi supplements made from the leaf of the plant, as it contains various bioactive substances such as beta-caryophyllene, eugenol, linalool, and ursolic acid. Tulsi is also available as a tea, which can be enjoyed both iced and hot and with lemon.
7. Embrace wheatgrass
Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum) is a living food and one of the best sources of chlorophyll, which is the basis of all plant life. This plant, which can be grown easily at home on your window sill, is a great source of oxygen and helps the brain and other tissues function at a high level.
If downing wheatgrass juice every day is unappealing, don’t fret. Add wheatgrass juice or powder to a smoothie, which hides the flavor rather well. You also can use the juice or powder in pesto, soups, salad dressings, or guacamole.
Here are two recipes using wheatgrass powder:
8 oz sweetened cashew or almond milk
1 tsp powdered wheatgrass
Whisk the wheatgrass powder into the beverage and enjoy!
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ tsp wheatgrass powder
12 oz fresh basil, tightly packed
1 cup spinach
6 cloves garlic
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 small avocado
3-6 cloves of garlic
1 tsp water
1 Tbs lemon juice
Salt as needed
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Use pesto on pasta, grains, vegetables, sandwiches, and as a dip.
8. Check your blood and thyroid
Low energy can be the result of low iron in your blood (anemia) or a malfunctioning thyroid. You can address both of these conditions using natural means, but first, you need to have a blood test to identify the reason for your fatigue.
All types of anemia, including a deficiency of iron, vitamin B12, or folate, can cause chronic low energy. Once the deficiency is identified, you can work with a healthcare professional to reverse it. Generally, you will need to take a supplement (oral, injection) and increase your intake of foods containing the necessary nutrient. For example:
For iron-deficient anemia, a typical treatment course includes taking an iron supplement along with vitamin C (which increases the absorption of iron) plus including more iron-rich foods in your diet, such as leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, mustard greens), amaranth, tofu, dried apricots, figs, lentils, and beans. Because iron supplements can result in constipation, drink lots of water and eat at least 25 grams (and up to 40 grams) of fiber daily to help stay regular.
For vitamin B-12 deficiency, which is more common in older adults, your healthcare provider may recommend getting a B-12 injection if you have low levels of a protein that helps B-12 absorption. Oral supplements are sufficient for most people, however. The most effective oral dose is between 647 and 1,032 micrograms daily. Sublingual (under the tongue) or traditional oral dosing are believed to be equally effective at remedying a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Most individuals with a folate deficiency take folic acid supplements for at least four months. Before taking folic acid, your healthcare provider will identify your vitamin B12 levels. If a B12 deficiency is present but goes undetected, taking folic acid may hide the lack of B12, and the result could be nervous system problems over time. You should also eat more foods rich in folate, including asparagus, broccoli, brown rice, Brussel sprouts, chickpeas, and peas.
9. Practice deep breathing
This remedy for low energy can be done just about anywhere, anytime, and costs nothing! You may not realize it, but it’s likely you don’t take full advantage of your lungs. Most of us are shallow breathers, which means we don’t take full breaths in or completely exhale the air from our lungs. Deep breathing sends your body’s cells and tissues a rich gift of oxygen, which invigorates you and elevates your energy level.
You can find dozens of suggestions on how to practice deep breathing. Here is just one, but feel free to explore others. Practice deep breathing several times a day. Some suggested times are when you first get up in the morning, during a break at work, when watching television (commercials are a perfect time), while commuting on public transportation, in a waiting room, and before you go to sleep. Here is a suggestion on how to do it:
- Sit with your back straight and your eyes closed (closing your eyes is optional).
- Focus on your breathing as you inhale slowly to a count of 5.
- Hold your breath to a count of 7 while you tense all of the muscles in your body.
- Slowly exhale to a count of 8 as you relax all of your muscles. Be sure to release all of the air that you can.
- Repeat this cycle several times. If you feel lightheaded, breathe normally for a minute before trying again.
The bottom line
Lack of energy is a common problem but one that can often be remedied by practicing a few simple activities and making them a part of your lifestyle. Let me know which energy-boosting tips you have tried and share any you know that are not listed above.
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