With a quick look around any supermarket, it's obvious energy boosters are big business. Energy drinks, bars, powdered additives, and supplements line the shelves. In fact, energy drinks alone are about a $9 billion per year industry, with U.S. sales increasing 16 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to TIME. Many energy supplements are high in sugar, making them unhealthy options for a quick boost and prone to triggering subsequent crashes in blood glucose and energy levels. If you need a shot of energy during the day, certain natural supplements provide healthier, longer-lasting alternatives.
Fuel Up with Caffeine
Caffeine is famous for increasing energy and enhancing alertness. You don't have to get it from a cup of coffee or a pricey venti, triple-shot, two percent caramel macchiato, though. Green tea is a natural source of caffeine that also offers potent antioxidant polyphenols (including EGCG) and a wide variety of scientifically supported health benefits. Guarana, yerba mate, and kola nut are other natural sources of caffeine. When using this compound to dial up your energy levels, remember its potential to interfere with your night's rest. Taking this supplement in the evening can cause difficulty falling asleep. This in turn takes a toll on your energy and alertness the next day.
Perk Up The Body and Mind with Oat Straw
Everyone knows oatmeal provides lots of dietary fiber and can help lower cholesterol, but many aren't familiar with oat straw. This doesn't refer to the well-known ripened oat grains, but to the green, unripe oat plant often sold as Avena sativa. Liquid extract, teas, powders, tinctures, and other preparations are often marketed to enhance sexual desire and function and as a diuretic. But oat straw also boosts energy and promotes physical stamina. This all-natural ingredient also has the demonstrated ability to improve cognitive performance. Take a straight supplement, or add the powder to oatmeal and other foods or to water; flavor the drink with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice.
Spice Things Up with Asian Ginseng
The Asian ginseng root has long been a popular supplement for boosting immune system function. As the University of Maryland Medical Center reports, the herb does provide this benefit, as well as antioxidant action. But ginseng also raises energy level and enhances alertness. Use Asian ginseng to combat fatigue, to increase physical endurance, and to give your mental performance a push in the right direction. Add the herb as a healthful and flavorful ingredient when cooking, drink it in tea, or take it in a liquid extract or powdered form.
Remedy Underlying Nutritional Deficiencies
If you just can't seem to get going at full steam, a nutritional deficiency might be the culprit. Increasing your intake of the vitamin, mineral, amino acid, or other compound in question—with foods rich in the nutrient, a supplemental form, or both—is usually the solution. Your doctor can test for deficiencies and check for contributing underlying health problems. Iron deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency are more common causes of anemia that sap the body of energy, notes the Mayo Clinic. Other B-complex vitamin deficiencies can also lead to anemia. Too little magnesium, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), creatine, carnitine, phenylalanine, taurine, or tyronsine are likely to cause low energy levels, too.
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