The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

December 8, 2013

Boost your energy without caffeine


When your energy level starts nose-diving in mid-afternoon, do you reach for a cup of java or that canned energy drink for help?

If so, you’re like a growing number of American men and women. In one recent USDA report, women in their 30s consume about 165 milligrams of caffeine each day, but by age 50, the daily average climbs to 225 milligrams.

While the cup of daily coffee isn’t bad ― the antioxidants in java are good for you ― a half dozen cups a day can be. Not only that, it’s like putting a bandage on the problem. Instead, combat your fatigue with these energy boosters.

Enjoy a sweet whole-grain snack.

Avoid those “great white hazards.” White flour gives you an initial boost, but then you crash soon after.

Try whole grains instead for longer lasting energy. Breakfast is the prime time for packing them in.

When you front-load your good carbs, you set up your metabolism for the whole day. But be careful though not to overload.

A study in the journal Appetite found that more isn’t better. Those who had six servings of whole grains felt sluggish afterwards because of the surge of serotonin which makes you feel drowsy.

Chew gum.

Gum isn’t just for fresh breath. It can also refresh your body. In a 2012 study, people who chewed gum for 15 minutes felt more alert than those who didn’t.

“Chewing gum increases heart rate, which increases blood flow to the brain,” said study author Andy Smith.

Mint-flavored gum seems to be best because it stimulates your nerve fibers. 

Turn up the lights.

Bright light awakens your brain. A 2013 study from the Lighting Research Center in New York found that bright light increases alertness. In particular, blue light was associated with more of a calm alertness than some other colors.

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