Originally published July 31 2008
Avoid Sugar and Caffeine - Natural Energy Boosters That Work
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) Are you searching for quick ways to improve your concentration and performance? Do you need to stay alert and focused? How about improving your level of performance without caffeine and sugar? To stay alert and smart, your brain needs glucose. But grabbing a sugary snack to improve your mental energy will not work in the long run.
It's true that eating something that contains sugar will improve your mental performance because of the quick spike of glucose. Eating a candy bar makes us feel great for a short time. But this won't be effective in the long run.
Why? Because after the quick glucose spike, your glucose level will then drop dramatically and when this happens your brain will lose its ability to concentrate on anything. Often we even lose our will power and common sense and may grab another candy bar to create a defeating cycle.
The key to long term stability is to avoid sugar. When you choose natural snacks instead, your body is able to utilize a slowly released supply of glucose. This will not set us up for that roller coaster of highs and lows.
Some easy keys for success:
* Start your day by eating a fiber-rich breakfast like oatmeal. This will deliver glucose over a longer period of time without the energy spike previously mentioned.
* By eating this morning meal that is high in fiber you will be more alert during the day. This has also been connected with more energy and less fatigue throughout the day.
* You may also have fewer memory problems, fall asleep faster and suffer less depression.
Instead of energy drinks that typically contain 8 teaspoons of sugar try an herbal-mineral tonic instead. A good tonic will invigorate and refresh you physically and mentally. This is accomplished by revitalizing a number of the body's systems.
Energy supplements that contain both herbs and minerals will give a boost. Look for supplements that contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and an energizing assortment of herbs. Pay special attention to ingredients and look for a formula that does not contain sugar. Herbal tonics are effective for increasing stamina, reaction speed, concentration and mental alertness.
Particularly effective are formulas that contain both minerals and small amounts of herbs that are beneficial to the brain. This includes:
* Ginkgo Biloba (improves memory)
* Ginseng (performance optimizer)
Other Natural Pick-me-ups:
* Some fats and cholesterol will aid in improving concentration and focus. Eating fish oils and the essential fatty acids in nuts and avocados is beneficial for concentration. This is especially true for children and people with attention deficit problems.
Cholesterol is important because it is needed for the brain to function properly. Cholesterol improves mental function in areas such as visual coordination, memory, attention and concentration. It has also been suggested that as someone's cholesterol level rises, their ability to learn, pay attention and remember rises as well. Be sure to keep your "good" cholesterol level high by eating lots of nuts and avocados.
* Bananas are a great pick-me-up because they are high in potassium. Potassium is a mineral your body needs to convert sugar in your blood into energy.
* Peppermint not only freshens your breath, it freshens your brain. The smell of peppermint has been shown to lower fatigue, increase alertness, and decrease frustration. Peppermint oil increases alertness by stimulating the trigeminal nerve (this is the same nerve that is activated by smelling salts). Try taking a long whiff of peppermint oil the next time you need a boost. Peppermint tea is also effective.
* Sometimes a boost is as simple as a drink of water. Dehydration is a significant factor in fatigue. A recent study found that even a 2% dip in one's hydration level (this would be the point where you would start to feel a bit thirsty) contributes to a decrease in short-term memory and even the ability to add and subtract.
* Another effective thing to try is bright light –- especially in the morning. Recent research suggests that bright light exposure early in the day can increase energy for the remainder of the day. This may be because light stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain and this in turn improves mood and motivation.
* Exercise begets more energy. If time is a problem, even a mini-work out can be effective. Light weight lifting has been shown to be effective in increasing energy levels.
Your body and brain will thank you for stepping off the rollercoaster that sugary food products produce. Try some of these natural ways to improve concentration and alertness and feel your brain get enhanced by nature's goodness.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
http://loftymatters.com - Current Events
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