Many people rely on caffeine, a substance that's absorbed quickly, for energy. Some people, however, are sensitive to caffeine or don't want to include it in their diet. Other nutrients, foods and drinks can also raise your energy levels, so you have alternatives if you don't want to rely on a large cup of coffee, tea or soda to get the job done.
Boost B Vitamin Intake
B vitamins help your body metabolize the foods you eat, which means they are essential for the production of energy. A B vitamin deficiency can cause fatigue and poor concentration, according to the Psychology Today website. Vitamins B-6 and B-12, for example, play a role in the production and maintenance of the myelin sheath around cells. The myelin sheath helps speed up the transmission of signals in the brain, something that can help with energy. Vitamin B-12 also helps with red blood cell production, and red blood cells help transport oxygen throughout the body, which also helps boost energy levels. Foods rich in B vitamins include lean meats, nuts, seeds, eggs and fortified grains. Adding these to your daily routine can help boost your energy and replace your usual dose of caffeine.
Perk Up With Protein
Including protein in your diet can help boost your mood, improve your concentration skills, supply you with energy and maintain your energy levels. Replacing your afternoon cup of coffee with a serving of protein can achieve the same energy-boosting results. Have a handful of nuts or seeds or some white-meat chicken rolled up in a whole-wheat tortilla. The same goes for breakfast. If you want to eliminate caffeine from your morning routine, prepare a protein-rich breakfast to help you get up and go. Eggs, lean meat, low-fat dairy foods, nut butter on whole-wheat toast and smoked salmon on a bagel all supply good doses of protein.
Fill a Glass With Water
Dehydration can cause lack of energy and fatigue, so boosting your energy level can be as simple as drinking more water instead of fueling up on caffeinated beverages. The American Council on Exercise suggests that women consume 91 ounces of water each day from foods and drinks and that men consume 125 ounces. Doing so can keep you well-hydrated, which can result in an increase in energy level. If you're experiencing that midday slump, reach for a glass of water instead of a caffeinated cup of coffee or a soda.
Help Yourself to Herbs
Certain herbal remedies can replace your usual dose of caffeine, though you should always speak with your doctor before adding these to your daily routine. Ginseng, for example, is often added to energy-promoting beverages, tonics and other concoctions, according to Dr. Elson M. Haas, author of "Staying Healthy With Nutrition, 21st Century Edition." Schizandra berry extract and ashwagandha are additional herbs used to boost energy, Haas notes. Guarana, purple willow bark, cayenne pepper and ginger root might also boost mental alertness and increase metabolism, according to a 2006 article published in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition."
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Caffeine in Diet
- Psychology Today: Vitamin B: A Key to Energy
- Wall Street Journal: Sluggish? Confused? Vitamin B-12 May Be Low
- HelpGuide.org: Protein to Strengthen Your Body and Mind
- American Council on Exercise: Healthy Hydration
- Staying Healthy With Nutrition, 21st Century Edition; Elson M. Haas
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Herbals