The line between feeling energised after a cup of coffee, and landing in a zone of caffeine-induced jitters and skyrocketing anxiety, is dangerously thin. I would know, for I find myself straddling that line every single day, and inevitably succumbing to the latter result of too much coffee. Besides, while a cup of joe is great for a short, intense spurt of energy and productivity, it eventually depletes your natural reserve of energy, paving the way for a caffeine crash.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic took over the world, there was (and still is) another widespread disease most of humanity suffered from every day. I'm talking about the ailment of overwhelming fatigue. You see, most of us initiated and proceeded to get stuck in a cyclic chain of too tired, a cup of coffee, some energy, more tired than before, another cup of coffee and repeat. And the same goes for sugary food and refined carbs. They give you the illusion of momentary energy, while actually leading you down a path of eventual exhaustion.
Solution? Opt for food and beverages that expand your energy in ways that are less acute, and more natural and stable. You can still start your morning with a cup of coffee, but for the rest of the day, stick to these energy-boosting food and drinks without caffeine, to fuel productivity, efficiency and stamina. For example? Keep scrolling to find out!
Bananas fall under the category of the best energy-boosting foods, owing to their naturally high content of potassium, carbohydrates and vitamin B6. It is also common practice to consume a banana before a high-intensity workout or a gym session, considering their sodium, fat and cholesterol-free qualities despite which the fruit can rebuild muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores. They're also an excellent post-workout snack to revive your energy and ward off exhaustion after exercise.
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Munching on a raw carrot is an excellent way to get some steady supply of energy. Carrots are packed with nutrients and minerals like Vitamin A, Biotin, Vitamin K, Potassium and Vitamin B6, along with quick-acting carbohydrates. These qualities make carrots a weight-loss-friendly vegetable that revives your body's natural vigour. Carrots have also been linked to low levels of cholesterol, along with being a rich source of fibre.
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What makes yoghurt an excellent snack to fuel your energy is their high content of carbs in the form of simple sugars. These nutrients like lactose and galactose help supply natural energy upon being broken down by the digestive system. Yoghurt is also often recommended as a healthy snack to have after a workout, considering their generous protein content that helps kick-start the repairing of muscles, along with replenishing the energy you lost during exercise.
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Oatmeal is one of the healthiest long-grain cereals out there in the food world, one that supplies you with stable, caffeine-free and long-lasting energy. In addition to having a rich content of vitamins and minerals that aid your body in producing feasible energy, oatmeal is also protein-packed, high in soluble fibres and also, fat-free. Since oatmeal takes time to get absorbed in the body, the energy you derive from its nutrients lasts a longer while, than caffeine-induced energy spurt.
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Probiotics come under the most underrated caffeine-free energising drinks. An unhappy gut has been associated with adverse impacts on mood and energy, all of which can be combated by consuming probiotic drinks like Yakult, that are rich in gut-friendly bacteria. Healthy intestinal flora has also been found to be immensely helpful in the production of Vitamin B in your body, a nutrient essential to the process of energy production.
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6. Energising Smoothies
A smoothie is a great way to combine the energy-enhancing effects of a number of nutrient-rich foods. Depending on what you throw into your smoothie, downing a generous glass in the morning can power you through a considerable number of hours. Some energising smoothie recipes include banana + milk + peanut butter + flax seeds, strawberries + pineapple + banana, and spinach + kale.
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We're all aware of the high protein content in eggs, owing to which it's one of the most widely recommended workout and exercise-friendly foods. From Vitamin B 12 to choline, eggs are naturally packed with all the nutrients that your body requires to produce sustainable energy efficiently. Since eggs don't cause any spikes in insulin or blood sugar levels in the body after being digested, the rich protein-packed food gives you a steady and sustained release of energy.
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8. Coconut Water
Coconut water is an excellent source of B Vitamins as well as Potassium, both of which play a role in energy production. Coconut water is also packed with electrolytes which makes it a remarkably energising drink, ideal for thoroughly hydrating your body after a workout session. All these nutrients, along with minerals like sodium, magnesium and calcium in coconut water accord it the title of nature's own sport drink.
Image Courtesy: Vogue India
9. Green Tea Kombucha
Kombucha has been one of the most trending, talked-about and recommended healthy beverages in the past few years. If you haven't heard about it yet, Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that's been purported as a miracle energy-boosting beverage, along with being linked to a host of health benefits like dispelling bodily pain, detoxing the body, making your immune system highly robust and even warding off certain kinds of cancer. Kombucha is crammed with multiple vitamins, minerals, probiotics and antibiotics. Although Kombucha isn't entirely caffeine-free considering it's ultimately made up of tea, but it's a negligible amount especially in the green tea variety.
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10. Mint Water, Lemon Water Or Just Water
I don't have much to say here, except for there's no drink on the planet that can parallel the health benefits of just good old water and hydration. While water doesn't have any caffeine-like stimulant that will shoot up your energy drastically, it's the singular most important lubricant involved in basically every process in your body, including that of energy conversion and production. Hydration will help you maintain a steady supply of energy through the day, and ward off fatigue or tiredness. Throwing in another nutrient-rich and energy-enhancing garnish like lemon juice or mint to your water will further stimulate your energy, freshness and focus levels. Drink up kids.
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Special Mention - Spinach
Green leafy veggies like spinach and kale are packed with minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, combined with a rich vitamin content of the A, C, E and K variety. In addition, they also contain a considerable about of fibre, folic acid and antioxidants. What can I say, Popeye was on to something.
Put. That. Third. Coffee. Down. Trust us, your body will thank you for it.
Freqently Asked Questions:
Q. How do you fight fatigue without caffeine?
- Snack smart. When our bodies are fatigued, we tend to crave carb-rich foods.
- Get moving. Physical activity can help us feel more alert and awake, especially if you experience dips in your energy level throughout the day.
- Take a nap.
- Breathe it in.
- Set yourself up for success.