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Start your engine: Fresh ways to fuel up through food
by Jessica |  Aug 14, 2013

While you typically reach for coffee when you're feeling laxidasical, there are plenty of other ways to perk up. In fact, the more java you drink, the more your body builds up a caffeine tolerance, meaning you need higher amounts of the stimulant for it to be effective. So why not shake things up for a better boost of energy? Regardless of whether you're dragging before a morning workout or feeling a late afternoon crash at work, any of these options can make you feel more alive and alert.

8 a.m.
You've always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But the first foods you eat truly set the tone for your energy levels for the remainder of the day. Start with whole grain cereal or oatmeal, which are packed with slow-burning fiber that can keep you satiated during your morning meetings and focused during that Vinyasa yoga class. Better yet, Reader's Digest advised topping your bowl with strawberries, which can convert fat into energy, or blueberries, which help you to hone in on whatever task is at hand. Sprinkle nuts on top and you'll get an extra crunch plus a dose of magnesium, which can help to turn sugar into stamina.

11 a.m.
If you need a late morning pick-me-up, you have plenty of other options besides a latté. Rodale suggested sipping on Kombucha​ tea. While many teas have just as much caffeine as coffee, the source noted that this drink uses B vitamins to keep your energy steady. Not only that, but the fermentation process used to create the beverage also produces acids that detox the liver of impurities that can make you feel sluggish. Try david kirsch's energy bubbles if you prefer the taste of Yerba Mate tea but want a bigger boost. While most energy drinks are high in sugar, these packets give you the same spring in your step without all the calories.

If that's not your cup of tea, try blending your own smoothie. Start with a yogurt base, as Reader's Digest pointed out that the dairy product is high in magnesium, which can control how your body expends energy. Whatever combination of fruits you choose, consider adding pineapple. The iodine in this tropical fruit can ensure your body doesn't burn fuel too fast, which will help prevent a crash.

1 p.m.
There's a reason why Popeye was such a big spinach supporter - and it's not just strength. Reader's Digest explained that common mesclun greens have high levels of folate, which can give you a considerable boost at lunchtime. Opt for dark, leafy greens like kale, chard and watercress, all of which are high in Vitamins C and K and beta carotene. Meanwhile, the detoxifying sulforaphanes can rid your liver of whatever might be slowing you down. For added power, toss steamed or grilled asparagus into your bowl. The magazine explained that the vegetable's high fiber content will keep your blood sugar levels regulated while B vitamins help to convert carbohydrates into energy. Try adding hard-boiled eggs for protein, which Shape magazine noted have a substantial amount of choline, a nutrient that helps you to more effectively convert food into energy.

4 p.m.
Chocoholics, rejoice! This treat can actually help get you out of that late afternoon slump. Shape explained that chocolate is rich in theobromine, a natural stimulant not unlike caffeine, which not only perks you up but can also improve your mood. There's just one catch - these benefits only apply if you're consuming dark chocolate, ideally 70 to 80 percent cacao or higher. As if you needed another reason to nibble on some - cacao also helps you to focus and relieve stress, according to Shape.

If you're heading right to the gym after work, now is a good time to pop an energy vitality body enhancement capsule by elemis. Not only will you have more endurance while exercising, but you'll also reduce body tension and enhance your alertness for a better workout.

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