Do you rely on your cup of Joe for a quick pick-me-up? You're not alone, according to recent research that shows most Americans use caffeine to boost energy. The problem: Unabated stress, less-than-ideal nutrition, sleep deficits, and too little exercise deplete our bodies, and this morning habit is nothing more than a quick fix.
Not addressing the problem from a long-term perspective can lead to dwindling energy stores that sap your immune system (check out these top 5 immunity-boosters), drain your libido, and interfere with concentration. The solution? A healthy combination of herbs and supplements, nutrient-rich foods, and regular exercise that boost energy and keep it high.
Herbs and supplements can restock energy stores by helping maintain the balance between the bodyÂs energy-producing and energy-consuming mechanisms. Check out Delicious Living';s top picks.
- Rhodiola Also known as golden root, rhodiola has been shown in studies to improve cognitive functionÂparticularly under stressÂand elevate mood by facilitating production of serotonin. More.
- Ribose A naturally occurring sugar, ribose forms the backbone of the energy molecule (called ATP), which fuels every body function. When more ribose is present, muscle cells are able to create more energy. More.
- Chlorella Chlorella, a type of green, freshwater algae, is packed with protein, B vitamins, antioxidants (including vitamin C and carotenoids), and chlorophyll. More.
- B vitamins These essential vitamins help in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system to support energy production.
- Magnesium An essential mineral that helps support healthy nerve and enzyme function and is necessary for over 300 different biochemical processes, such as digestion and energy production. More.
Loss of muscle mass and proper function may cause you to be less active and ultimately feel fatigued. Here's how to nourish, strengthen, and stretch your muscles every day. More.
- Eat muscle-building minerals Magnesium and calcium are essential to muscleÂs ability to contract and relax properly, so load up on both daily. Dark green leafy vegetables offer a hefty dose of magnesium and calcium, as well as potassium, which is crucial for muscle growth.
- Boost vitamin B B vitamins help supply cells with the energy they need to function. By supporting the nervous system, they also help improve communication between muscles and the brain.
- Get enough exercise Your muscles thrive on regular exercise, so shoot for at least 30 minutes every day (check out our 10-, 20-, 30-, and 60-minute workouts).
- Take a multi A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement promotes optimal health. Of particular importance for athletes are calcium, to maintain bone strength; folic acid, linked to endurance; iron, for strength; and magnesium and zinc, for muscle recovery.
What to eat for energy
Food really is fuel, especially when you make meals rich in essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, and C, plus fiber, iron, and protein. Check out these breakfast, lunch, and dinner picks from Delicious Living to keep your energy even and long-lasting.
Dark leafy greens: Fat-free, low-calorie, and rich in magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, K, and B12.
- Kale with Tempeh and Roasted Pepper Sauce
- Souffléed Spinach Omelet
- Steamed Halibut with Collard Greens
Whole grains: Rich in magnesium, fiber, and protein,whole grains are complex carbohydrates that generate a steady source of fuel that comes on gradually and stays with you throughout the day.
- Skillet Brown Rice Fusilli with Lamb, Zucchini, and Feta
- Quinoa with Mixed Vegetables
- Sprouted Spelt and Seed Bread
Fresh fruit: Instead of opting for an unhealthy, calorie-packed snack, stock up on fresh fruit or a smart power smoothie.
Stay hydrated, stay energized
Feeling parched or dizzy after your hot-weather workout? These could be signs you're not drinking enough. In fact, dehydration can restrict your exercise performance and muscle strength, or leave you feeling fatigued. Check out these top tips for staying ahead of hydration to keep energy up.
- Sip early and often Begin hydrating long before your workout to give your body a chance to absorb the liquid. In general drink 20 ounces three to four hours in advance of exercise, then another 10-15 ounces two hours before exercise.
- Replenish lost minerals Your body loses important minerals when you sweat; make up for it with nutrient-rich beverages.
- Feed your thirst In addition to quenching your thirst with water and nutrient-enhanced beverages, foods naturally high in moisture, such as fruits and vegetables, should be enough to replace lost liquids and electrolytes after most workouts