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Energy Remedies

Annette McDermott
Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Energetic Woman

Everyone can use an energy boost every now and then but it's even more important to find ways to maintain good energy levels throughout the day. If you're searching for effective energy remedies, there are many ways to keep a spring in your step when your energy levels are low.

Get Adequate Magnesium

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements' website, magnesium is required for energy production, and a deficiency causes symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. The USDA cites a study on its website that concluded low magnesium levels requires the body to use more oxygen and exert more energy to perform low-level functions.

The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 320 mg a day for females 31 and over. While it's relatively easy to get adequate magnesium from foods including green, leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and whole grains, people not eating a balanced diet may be low in the mineral. Check with your doctor to see if your magnesium levels are adequate and determine if a supplement is warranted.

Eat Low Glycemic Foods

Many people experience an immediate increase in energy eating refined carbohydrates or sugar-laden foods but then become tired and often cranky shortly thereafter. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, this is because foods high in refined carbs cause the body's sugar and insulin levels to spike quickly and then dramatically plunge instead of gradually releasing sugar and keeping insulin levels steady.

To avoid this sugar rollercoaster ride and keep your energy levels stable, try to consume low glycemic foods such as:

  • Fruits (avoid watermelon, grapes and raisins)
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains and cereals
  • Whole milk dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean meats and fish

Foods to avoid include:

  • Sugary candy and snacks
  • Condiments with added sugars
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta and bread made with white flour
  • Juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Sweetened cereal
  • White rice
  • Foods made with high fructose corn syrup

Drink More Water

Bodies can't function without water and, according to the Mayo Clinic, even becoming slightly dehydrated can reduce your energy levels and leave you feeling tired. The Mayo Clinic also states that the Institute of Medicine recommends women need to drink 2.2 liters of beverages and men 3 liters per day to stay adequately hydrated. This recommendation is a guideline and your water intake may be different based on your exercise habits, the climate you live in or your health status.

Drink Coffee

Many people rely on their morning coffee fix to get started in the morning for good reason. Coffee contains caffeine, a natural substance found in many plants and a known stimulant and almost instant energizer. Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages is an easy way to get a short-term energy boost; however it's not without risk.

The University of Maryland's website states that too much caffeine can cause uncomfortable or even dangerous symptoms such as a fast heart rate, anxiety, depression, nausea, insomnia and frequent urination (due to caffeine's diuretic properties). As a result, people with certain cardiac, digestive or anxiety issues and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid caffeine. In addition, people who suddenly stop drinking caffeine often experience withdrawal symptoms such as drowsiness, headaches, nausea and irritability.

To avoid unwanted caffeine side effects, avoid consuming too much coffee and stick to the recommended guideline for healthy people -- three, 8 ounce cups (250 mg) per day.

Get Adequate Coenzyme-Q10

If you're regularly low on energy, you may be deficient in this important enzyme. According to an article by Dr. George Obikoya, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is critical for maintaining good overall health and energy levels. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant found in every cell in the body.

The University of Maryland Medical Center's website, says that CoQ10 is responsible for converting food into energy. A CoQ10 deficiency may not only reduce your energy levels but potentially lead to the development of serious illness such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's or migraines.

You can ingest CoQ10 through foods including red meat, organ meats, oily fish and whole grains; however, if you're not eating those foods regularly, you may be deficient. Talk to your doctor to determine if a supplement is necessary.

Get Adequate B12

If you're deficient in vitamin B12, you are likely to feel tired and weak and lack energy overall. According to WebMD, vitamin B12 is critically important to oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

If you're low on energy and have anemia, certain stomach disorders such as gastritis or celiac disease, consume excessive amounts of alcohol or are a vegetarian, check with your doctor to see if your vitamin B12 levels are low. If they are, your doctor may recommend supplements or injections to bring your levels back to normal.

Exercise Regularly

If you're feeling sluggish, a short, brisk walk can help give you a much needed energy boost. A University of Georgia study showed that sedentary people who exercise regularly can increase their energy levels by 20 percent and decrease their levels of fatigue a whopping 65 percent.

The Mayo Clinic's website indicates that physical activity provides tissues with oxygen and the nutrients, enabling the cardiovascular system to work effectively.

Exercise may also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. As a result, you're likely to be less fatigued and more energetic and alert during the day. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

Try Gotu Kola

A popular Ayurvedic remedy is gotu kola, a bitter herb that comes from a creeping vine. It is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and helps improve blood flow through the body, which can give you a feeling of increased energy and less fatigue.

Gotu kola is also used as a treatment for the mental decline associated with old age and Alzheimer's disease because it helps to regulate the use of oxygen in the brain, leading to better mental focus and concentration for people of all ages. Because studies are limited on side effects and drug interactions of gotu kola, you should not use the herb without consulting your doctor or licensed holistic practitioner.

Add a Dash of Cayenne

Cayenne pepper, just like you would put on your food to give it a spicy kick, can give you energy levels a boost as well. Cayenne is great for improving blood circulation, which can give you a feeling of more energy and alertness. Cayenne is also great for the digestion, boosts metabolism, removes the painful sensations associated with arthritis and may even relieve the pain of a migraine, which can certainly boost your energy.

Like other culinary herbs, you can just make an effort to eat more foods with cayenne pepper on them or take supplements, but check with your doctor if you have liver problems before you start using cayenne on a regular basis.

Feel Energetic with a Healthy Lifestyle

Your best bet for feeling energetic is to eat a well-balanced diet, reduce stress in your life and exercise regularly. However, in today's busy world, that's often easier said than done. When you're lacking energy, take a close look at your lifestyle habits and try to identify areas that you can improve upon.

Talk to doctor to determine if you're deficient in any vitamins or minerals and before you start an herbal supplement for energy, especially if you take medications.

Energy Remedies