What to eat when you need an energy boost.

Exhausted from the holidays? You’re not alone. The mere thought of preparing the kids for another semester of school and returning to work after two weeks spent planning, cooking, laughing, decorating, travelling, eating, shoveling, and hosting is enough to make any person want to lie down. Before you sigh in despair, though, keep reading. It’s widely accepted in the health community that one of the best ways to put the pep back in your step is simply by eating the right foods, namely:

  • Fresh fruits. Apples, bananas, and berries all contain natural sugars that are known to increase energy levels. For maximum effect you can blend them altogether in a smoothie or snack on them separately if you’re short on time.
  • Vegetables. Peppers, celery, broccoli, and carrots aren’t only incredibly easy to prepare; they’re also low on calories and high in nutrition.
  • Nuts and grains. The magnesium and healthy fats in nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews make them energizing snacks that will also help curb your appetite.
  • Spices. Cardamom and curry dilate blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow and energy levels. Either spice can be added to savory dishes, such as chicken and rice.
  • Dark chocolate. Theobromine is a stimulant naturally found in chocolate that works like caffeine to improve energy levels. The sugars and antioxidants in dark chocolate can also perk you up and lift your mood.
  • Water. That’s right! Because people often don’t notice they’re dehydrated, it’s an extremely common cause of headaches and fatigue. If you’re feeling particularly sluggish add a few lemon slices to ice water for extra zing.

Bonus tip: exercising gives you energy!

You may have experienced a surge of energy after going for a run or playing sports. This is because physical exertion promotes circulation, and releases endorphins and adrenaline. All of these factors serve to oxygenate blood, improve performance, and make you feel great overall. It might be the last thing you want to do, but the next time you’re on your last legs go for a short walk and see what a difference it makes.

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Also published on Medium.