Busy caregivers are, by definition, stressed. It probably doesn’t come as a shock that stress and exhaustion come together in a vicious cycle: stress is exhausting, and exhaustion contributes to stress. In addition to getting adequate exercise and sleep, you can use certain foods as natural energy boosters to help restore energy that gets sapped by stress. We’ve called food the “staff of life” since the 1630s with good reason.
Before We Look at Food
Water is even more important than food for keeping your body in fighting condition. US News reports, “Every system in your body depends on water,” and water carries nutrients that you receive from food to those systems in addition to removing toxins from the body.
“Even mild dehydration can make you tired, drain your energy, and make you feel achy,” the article states. “Don’t wait until you feel thirsty in order to drink water; that means you’re already dehydrated. Often, this may mean you eat (because you think you’re hungry), when you’re really just thirsty.” If you don’t like the (non)taste of water, add some fresh citrus juice for flavor.
5 Energy-Boosting Food Sources
Not all foods fight stress equally. Select the following natural energy boosters to help combat stress and fatigue in your daily life:
According to CNN, “Not consuming enough protein during the day can be a primary reason for fatigue.” Common protein sources include meat, fish, seafood, chicken, eggs, and dairy.
2. Magnesium-Rich Foods
CNN also reports that nuts rich in magnesium can help fight stress and boost energy. Choose from walnuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds instead of sugar-laden foods when you crave a snack.
3. Low-Glycemic Foods
Low-glycemic foods can help you avoid the sugar crash that follows eating sugary foods and high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as those in French fries. According to Harvard Medical School, “Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil.”
Harvard Medical School says, “Caffeine does help increase alertness, so having a cup of coffee can help sharpen your mind.” However, excessive caffeine consumption after 2 p.m. can interfere with sleep.
5. Water-Rich Produce
As mentioned above, it’s important to remain hydrated. If you can’t bring yourself to drink enough water, you can get some of your H2O requirement from produce. MSN reports, “Eating four cups of water-rich produce, such as watermelon, cucumber, and lettuce, daily can help you stay hydrated too.”
As you can see, healthy options exist to keep you on top of your game even during times of stress. It doesn’t take any extra time to push aside a candy bar and open a package of nuts. The key to reaching for natural energy boosters is to have them on hand at all times — at home, at work, in the car, etc. Take a little time to double-check your grocery list and ensure that you’re buying the right foods. When you have healthy snacks on hand, you’re less likely to be tempted to eat energy-draining foods.