Are you a victim of the afternoon slump? If you find yourself struggling to make it through the day, your diet might be to blame. While sugar and caffeine often give you a quick energy boost, they also cause you to crash just a few hours later. If you’re relying on coffee and energy drinks to perk you up, you’re actually doing more harm than good.
Before looking at diet, we have to add water to the equation. And not just any H2O: pure water with a pinch of added sea salt will keep your body hydrated. In fact, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re getting enough hydrating liquids. Drink a large glass upon waking, then stagger your water intake throughout the day. You don’t want to drink with your meals but between meals for optimal hydration and digestion.
Then to help your body fight stress and fatigue the right way, add a few whole, plant-based foods to your diet. They’ll provide your body with a steady stream of natural energy, eliminating that afternoon slump once and for all.
Here are 8 power-packed whole foods that can help you fight fatigue:
Spriulina is higher in protein and amino acids than any other plant source. It also contains iron, B vitamins, and magnesium, which are so important to maintaining your body’s energy levels. Spirulina is high in antioxidants which helps the body fight stress, too. Around 1 tablespoon will provide you with 150% of your daily vitamin B12 and 90% of your daily iron needs. Make sure you’re buying quality spirulina from a trusted brand.
Bananas are full of soluble fiber that slows down the release of sugars into the bloodstream. This helps stabilize your blood sugar to relax your mind and body. Known for their high potassium content, bananas also contain magnesium and B vitamins, providing you with a constant stream of energy. Eat a banana when you wake up for a healthy morning boost! Or have one just before you reach for a late cup o’ joe or sugary pick-me-up. You may find you don’t need that coffee or snack after all.
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are small but mighty. They’re packed with iron, magnesium, and amino acids to help give you energy. They also contain B vitamins and calcium, which help to fight stress that can cause fatigue. Add them to your oatmeal, yogurt or smoothie, or make coconut chia seed pudding for an energizing breakfast!
Coconut is rich healthy fats known as medium chain triglycerides, which help boost your physical and mental energy levels. Coconut also contains B vitamins, amino acids, magnesium, and potassium to keep you energized. That’s all found in the coconut meat. But we can also drink the coconut water. What do energy drinks always claim? That they have electrolytes. Well, coconut water is the number one electrolyte there is! Add coconut meat, coconut butter, or coconut oil to your smoothie, oatmeal, or any other dish, and drink coconut water with your juices and smoothies.
Cacao is packed with iron, vitamins, protein, fiber, and zinc. It’s also one of the highest sources of magnesium in the world. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals to help support your body’s energy levels. It activates your metabolism, fights stress, and even helps reduce sugar cravings and mood swings. But that zing you feel isn’t caffeine. Raw cacao has a compound called theobromine that can dilate blood vessels while relaxing bronchi muscles in the lungs (a bonus for asthma sufferers). Purchase raw cacao at your local health food store or online. Add a raw cacao smoothie, energy bar, or pudding to your daily diet.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Eating a handful of pumpkin seeds for a snack can help you fight afternoon fatigue. Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc and iron, along with the amino acid tryptophan, which helps the body fight stress. As a bonus, they have anti-inflammatory properties! Carry some around for a snack or add them to your meals for a boost.
Maca is a golden-yellow powder, depending on the variety, that is believed to be one of the best foods to support energy levels. It’s a root vegetable native to Peru that helps improve your hormonal functions, allowing your body to better deal with different forms of stress. Add a tablespoon of maca to your smoothies or oatmeal or make maca energy bars at home.
Spinach contains magnesium, iron, B vitamins, and protein. It also provides your body with a large dose of Vitamin C to help with iron absorption. The high levels of chlorophyll in spinach help fight off inflammation that can lead to fatigue. Chlorophyll is Nature’s great detoxifier. Some fatigue may be caused by a buildup of toxins. Eating spinach frequently can help reduce the toxic burden on your cells, giving you more natural energy. Use spinach in salads, sandwiches, smoothies soups, sauces, or wraps!