Most people’s energizer of choice turns out to be coffee. In fact, 54 percent of Americans over 18 drink coffee every day. It is such a go-to that many people even prefer coffee to sex—at least first thing in the morning. (Full disclosure: I am one of them.) A study conducted by Le Meridien Hotels discovered that 53 percent of its guests favored coffee over sex as the perfect way to start the day.
But there are times when you would rather not reach for that cup of coffee, and availing yourself on sex to get energized would not be appropriate. If you are looking for some healthy alternatives to boost your energy, look no further. Here are five foods that give you a lift that sustains, no caffeine crash included.
Eggs are the breakaway heroes for power eating. Researchers reviewing 25 studies on protein suggest that the protein in eggs contributes to muscle strength, satisfies hunger and provides a source of sustained energy. Eggs are rich in leucine, an essential amino acid that plays an important role in how muscles use glucose, a contributing factor to endurance. Plus, eggs are rich nutrients including thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12 and B6, the B vitamins that are essential for energy production.
Edamame makes another smart choice when you are starting to wilt and need a pick-me-up. Not only are the unprocessed soybeans perfectly balanced, full of fiber, complex carbs and healthy fat, they also contain a whopping 16 grams of protein per cup for less than 200 calories. Edamame are also loaded with the magnesium and B vitamins that our bodies need to convert carbohydrates into energy.
Nuts and dried fruit are an energy power couple—the ideal combination of healthy fats, fiber and protein. The natural sugars in dried fruit perk you up, but the fiber helps slow down glucose-release so that the supply is steady and more consistent than eating a refined sugar treat. As for the nuts, similar to fiber, their high protein content slows down metabolism of carbs in favor of a more regulated release of energy. Fats such as nuts, seeds and oils are also notorious for providing long-lasting vim and vigor, so grab a handful when you feel like you are starting to flail.
An energy reviver par excellence, quinoa is a complete protein source containing all nine essential amino acids. A cup of cooked quinoa has roughly eight grams of protein per cup. It will give you energy you can use for quick bursts of exertion as well as for the long haul. Loaded with phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins, it’s small wonder that quinoa was revered by the Incas for its stamina-enhancing powers.
A delicious comfort food, tangy, creamy yogurt may seem more meek than mighty. But it’s actually an energy workhorse, full of protein, carbs and probiotics. Yogurt (buy it unsweetened and then add fruit) supports the immune system, improves digestion and gives you a sustained charge.