In our busy lives, physical energy seems to be a hot commodity, unfortunately one that is hard to come by. As a makeshift answer, we're constantly bombarded with a stream of energy drinks, pre workout powders and caffeine loaded supplements. All claiming to solve our lethargy and have us running like the energizer bunny for 5+ hours. Although effective to a certain point, the problem with these is the crash that inevitably awaits us at the end of the artificial peak. Not to mention, they shred our nervous systems which causes anxiety and stress, they do little to boost brain power and in general your body is not a fan of them. Not to worry though! Like always, nature has sorted us out with more than enough resources that are healthy, clean and sustainable for our mind and bodies, providing all the energy we could ever want. Below is a compiled list of herbs and supplements all targeting a variety of needs, like enhancing mental alertness, physical performance or just adding a little vitality to your day.
What is it? Spirulina is a type of algae and is recognized as being one of the world's healthiest foods. It is extensively backed by research and this underrated super food should be included in your diet for more than just its impressive energy kick.
Energy Boost: The effects are almost immediate; the first time I took Spirulina I felt like I was going to lift off into space. This is a great supplement to take for mental alertness and it improves physical performance by postponing muscle fatigue and point of exhaustion.
Bonus Benefits: Spirulina improves memory, aids in weight loss, removes toxic heavy metals, is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and supports the immune system. Plus it is extremely concentrated in protein, vitamins and minerals,
How to take it: In honesty, Spirulina is not known for it's great flavour (quite the opposite actually) but you can acquire a taste for it. Although, if you wish to avoid the taste all together, it comes in a capsule or tablet form. Take this whenever you are in need of a mental or physical boost.
What is it? Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that's been used for over 3,000 years to increase energy and relieve stress. It is an adaptogen, meaning that it fights off stressors of all kinds and will tailor itself to what your body specifically needs. It's great to take if you struggle with adrenal fatigue or stress and anxiety.
Energetic Properties: Supports energy levels without stimulating your heart the way caffeine does. It supports your nervous system so that your body is able to sustain itself naturally. Studies have proven that Ashwagandha can improve muscle mass and strength as well as mental fatigue.
Bonus Benefits: Ashwagandha is incredible for those dealing with anxiety, stress and depression, so conducively it will raise energetic levels. It improves memory and brain function, reduces blood sugar and cortisol levels, has anti-cancer properties, improves skin and hair health, increases testosterone and fertility in men, reduces cholesterol and lowers inflammation.
How to take it: It can be taken in a capsule form or incorporated into smoothies and shakes as a powder. To achieve best results it is best to be taken daily.
What is it? Creatine is a supplement famed in fitness and bodybuilding communities for its ability to increase muscle and strength. This is the perfect gym buddy for maximizing your efforts and delivers a powerful surge of energy.
Energy Boost: Creatine enhances your body's energy production by helping it produce additional adenosine triphosphate- you'll never remember that so ATP for short. ATP is the most basic form of energy found in your cells and you only naturally store enough to perform 8-10 seconds of high intensity exercise. After that your body fights a losing battle to produce more. Creatine increases these stores and is proven to enhance muscle mass and dramatically improve power and endurance.
Bonus Benefits: Besides helping with every aspect of your athletic performance, it is also known to aid brain function, drowsiness, lower blood sugar levels and is believed to improve neurological diseases and Parkinson's disease.
How to take it: For best results, creatine should be taken daily. It mostly comes in a powder form and can be incorporated into shakes.
What is it? Beetroot powder is a powder that is derived from the beetroot vegetable. It packs loads of nutrients and is all-round great for your entire body and mind. Plus it's widely available and reasonably priced so it's great to take whenever you need a bit of vivacity.
Energy Boost: Beetroot contains exceptionally high levels of nitrate, helping your body to produce Nitric Oxide. This majorly increases oxygen delivery to your body which means you are able to produce energy with far more efficiency, spanning a longer period of time. Studies show that people can exercise 25% longer when they've taken beetroot powder.
Bonus Benefits: Beetroot powder reduces workout recovery time, increases heart health, boosts brain health, is exceptionally high in key vitamins and minerals, lowers blood pressure, fights inflammation, encourages weight loss and supports liver health.
How to take it: Beetroot powder tends to come in a powder form (obviously). It only mildly tastes of beetroot and some clever manufacturers have managed to eliminate the taste altogether if you aren't a fan. The powder is great to take whenever you have a big day or a workout ahead and need a surge of power. It's great in smoothies, shakes or mixed with water or your favourite juice. If you're one of those people who puts beetroot on their burgers, we know what you're thinking. Don't do it**.