Our society is addicted to caffeine. From that first magical cup of coffee in the morning, to that mid-afternoon “I Can’t Get Past This Without A Nap Or A Miracle Or At Least A Latte” wall, caffeine is what gets us through most days. And like any addiction, it's tough to beat.
But before you hit up the nearest coffee shop, consider chowing down on some of these superfoods to keep your energy up. Certain superfoods are extra energizing, containing natural properties that will help you regain focus and achieve the alertness you need to continue your workday. Next time you need a pick-me-up, try one of these nine foods instead of coffee for that boost of energy.
Chocolate, made with cacao, is bursting with antioxidants as well as natural chemicals that help jog your memory and improve attention span. It also increases dopamine levels, so not only will you feel yourself functioning better, you’ll also be a dandy mood. Try some dark chocolate in a small bowl of oatmeal, or in your trail mix. The darker your chocolate is, the more cacao content it has (which is what you want).
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, and those are vital for your brain health. Studies have linked a diet rich in omega-3s to a lower risk of dementia and healthier heart. These fatty acids also help keep our memories and brain function in good shape.
3. Avocados in your sandwich
When you’re sleepy, your brain is probably not getting enough blood flow. If you don’t have enough time to go on a quick walk or run, try making sure that your lunch has some complex carbs, as well as some avocado. Why? According to WebMD, a diet high in whole grains “reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells.” As for the avocado, it has a magnificent supply of good fats, which also help with blood flow.
4. Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are a great addition to granola or your cereal; they’re an awesome way to naturally boost energy without that horrible spike in blood sugar later. Hemp seeds have a ton of protein, omega 3s, and magnesium. Besides helping you stay alert, hemp seeds prevent depression and anxiety, since magnesium is a naturally calming agent.
Add some blueberries to your oatmeal, smoothie, or just pack a cup for dessert. Blueberries have antioxidants that help enhance memory, keep away stress, and reduce inflammation.
Maca powder tastes a little bit like butterscotch. Originating from Peru, maca has plenty of amino acids as well as calcium, magnesium and zinc. You can add maca to a smoothie, bake it into energy bars, or sprinkle it on some granola.
Try packing yourself a big, wholesome salad for lunch. That way, you get a bowlful of vitamins, minerals, protein, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids. A lighter lunch will also make you feel less sluggish, and way more likely to be ready to go once you’re back to work. As a bonus, greens (like spinach, arugula, kale) have tons of fiber, which levels out your blood sugar levels to help you can avoid that dreaded sugar crash around 3 p.m.
8. Chia seeds
If you’re a vegan and you still need your daily dose of omega 3s, chia seeds are definitely your best friend. They’re also a great source of B vitamins, which will naturally wake you up and make you feel more energetic. Try making yourself chia seed pudding; it’s easy, and it’s delicious.
Last but not least, quinoa is a great substitute if you’re vegetarian, and need some protein. Hunger is a sure-fire way to lose concentration quickly. Adding a cup of quinoa into a salad will add enough carbohydrates to keep you full and focused.