Modern society has taken an approach that coffee and sweets are the key to energy, but they have not taken on board the negative aspect of over consuming these. There are much healthier ways to eat for energy and below I have listed some of my favourite foods, such as Moringa and Raw Chocolate. I am a great advocate for eating functionally and these foods will show ways to give you a pick me up or pre workout boost.
Directions - add to your smoothie or also use tablets as pick me up. This is a serious contender for being the ultimate energy supplement. This plant derived nutrient powerhouse is quite amazing! Moringa will give you an increase in energy after minutes of consuming it, but Moringa contains no caffeine at all. So….. How does it do it? The key is due to its unique array of nutrients. High concentrations of magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins are present in Moringa. These B-vitamins increase the absorption of magnesium and potassium. This causes muscle relaxation, depression and stress relief and also relieves headaches. It allows our minds to concentrate and focus better. The B1 vitamin in particular plays a big role in the energy providing of Moringa. This vitamin actually helps the body convert sugars into energy! Giving you an extra boost!
Available as dried fruit.
Directions - add to smoothies, use as a snack or on top of your porridge.
I use these little wonders in many ways from straight up, porridge topping in all my pre-workout smoothies. Goji berries have been used in Chinese medicine for 2,000 years. This superfood contains amazing health, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, along with a whole array of vitamins and minerals to support our bodies. But what makes this fruit so different is that it contains ‘essential’ amino acids, which is rare for a fruit. For a boost in energy, Gojis are a great start. They have been known to improve mental alertness, athletic performance and stamina. I can tell you I have used Goji Berries for many years and they really do provide a natural boost. Snack on them throughout the day, add them to your salads or your pre workout shake!
Available as powder.
Directions - add to your favourite smoothie recipe or you can bake with it.
If you don't know about the energy boosting properties of Maca you should. But why? Firstly, Maca is nutrient powerhouse! Containing 19 essential amino acids, vitamin A, B and D, along with minerals, iron, magnesium, copper and zinc. What’s remarkable about Maca, is the fact it is one of the very rare adaptogen plants. Adaptogens are amazing due to the fact that they work with the body to help adapt to circumstances such as stress and fatigue by regulating important hormones. Another great thing about this amazing root is the fact it is not gender specific. Maca balances the different hormones in both males and females. The result? Stress relief and an increase in energy levels! Now, consuming Maca… you can bake with it but the easiest way is in a drink. When added to a smoothie it will be easily masked. If you want a proper kick use 1 tbsp in your pre workout smoothie.
Directions - mix into warm water and drink or use a small amount in your smoothie.
You’ve heard of green tea right? Well this is the whole leaf of the plant that green tea is derived from. It is also grown in the shade, as opposed to regular green tea. This causes an increase in chlorophyll and amino acid contents. Matcha usually comes in a bright green powder form with a very distinctive taste. Once you’ve tasted it, you won’t forget it! Trust me… Matcha is quite amazing though. Packed full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it comes with an array of health benefits, from improving fungi and bacterial infections to stress relief. Matcha also contains caffeine, now normally when I think of caffeine I think of an acidic substance that is not good for the body. But, the caffeine in Matcha is different to the caffeine in your favorite blend or a typical energy drink. In fact, the Matcha caffeine is actually alkalizing! Ever had one of those horrible caffeine crashes? Yeah well that doesn’t happen with super Matcha caffeine, the caffeine is slowly released providing your body with a perfect amount for an energy boost and alertness but no jitteriness and nervousness. Don’t get me wrong Matcha will still give you that sharp boost when ingested but it won’t send you into space and leave you falling back down! Normally I would buy the powdered form to use in my smoothies and for a Matcha latte . But tablets are also available!
Directions - brew like traditional tea. Also great to make ice tea.
This super tea originates from Peruvia. It contains all the essential amino acids and comes with a huge amount of health benefits such as: Immune system boosting properties, great for your bones and your heart, digestion aid and of course, yerba matte increases energy and mental focus. It truly is Nature’s energy drink. Yerba Matte is a lot like Matcha in its energy providing abilities. Containing a significant amount of non-acidic, not oily caffeine that will give you a boost, but not cause the jitters. Surprisingly, Yerba Matte will also allow you to sleep! Musicians have been known to be big lovers of Yerba Matte due to the increase in focus and energy, but still have relaxed muscles to play, unlike coffee which ‘tenses you up!’ A great way to use it is also to make large batches and then add to your pre workout smoothie.
Directions – Add to your smoothie, use as toppings or bake with it.
Raw chocolate (Cacao) is one of the most nutrient dense superfoods on the planet. Cacao comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Cacao Tree. The health benefits of raw Cacao are endless and has been used in health and medicine for over 3,000 years. Apart from improving your mood and alertness this baby also boosts you with energy! It is the richest dietary source of magnesium, which balances the brain chemistry and optimizes our use of oxygen. It therefore increases energy and helps you burn more calories. It has also been known that if you are deficient in magnesium this can cause fatigue and a lack of energy.
The compound ‘PEA’ is found in huge amounts in Cacao. PEA is an amazing substance that increases energy level along with alertness and concentration. I love to bake with it in my Coopers Cacao Brownies or use it in pretty much every smoothie I make. A great daily healthy habit.
Directions: Eat the chewable snack or add a small amount of the powder to your favourite smoothie.
I discovered this when working in China about ten years ago. I was really struggling with jet lag and only there for two days shooting, so it was tough. One of the runners got me a small bag of Ginseng and I was amazed how good it was in terms of the speed it works and the boost it gave me. Ginseng is a herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. There are three different types: Oriental, Siberian and American, all of which possess mood boosting and energy boosting properties. Our body have glands which secrete various hormones which control the bodies functions and systems. Ginsenocides, a main active ingredient in Ginseng has a very similar chemical structure to that of our hormones. Therefore, when you ingest Ginseng it helps to control and balance the hormones within us. Keeping everything working properly as it should, therefore keeping you sharp between the ears. The great difference with Ginseng is that you can keep it in your bag and there is no need to mix it.
Recipe - Natures Energy Drink
This smoothie is the perfect natural pre-workout! Feeling tired and fatigued? Try this Energy boosting drink full of powerful superfoods!...Natures energy drink AKA The Brown Bull!