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Boosting Your Energy Naturally

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Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Carol Gillette

How to naturally boost your energy

If you frequently feel fatigued, it can be tempting to turn to convenient methods like energy drinks and caffeine supplements to boost your energy. Unfortunately, these can leave you feeling worse — especially from the overload of sugar, which can cause an energy drop later.1

Below we’ve provided info on some natural ways to raise your energy levels. Learning how to boost your energy naturally can help you create long-lasting, healthy habits that keep you feeling fresh and ready to take on your day. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective.

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How Can I Increase My Energy Naturally?

There are many ways that you can increase your energy through natural methods. Paying attention to what you put into your body and carefully monitoring what you put your body through can have a positive impact on your energy levels.

A healthy gut is a key component of overall health. Adding fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and regularly taking probiotics can help restore balance to the gut. The microbiome in good shape is what allows for nutrient absorption, and nutrient absorption is what fuels the body’s energy and helps regulate metabolism. Metabolism functions as our energy source. So eating good foods when the microbiome is dysfunctional is not going to provide vital energy. Get the microbiome in good shape, and your energy “furnace” will be optimized for much higher efficiency.23

The tips below can help you increase your energy levels without relying on medications or expensive energy drinks.

Boosting Your Energy With Your Diet

What you put into your body has a tremendous impact on how you feel. For that reason, it’s important to make sure you are eating a sufficient number of calories every day to give your body enough energy. However, what kind of calories you consume is also important to consider. For example, processed foods like potato chips and candy bars can seem like they make a good snack as they provide a quick boost of calories, but they can actually make you feel more lethargic. This is because these foods lack sufficient nutrients to give you energy. Instead, they can dysregulate the metabolism and cause symptoms of fatigue and other negative impacts from insulin resistance.2

Which Foods Give Instant Energy?

Low-glycemic food for energy

Instead of consuming processed foods, strive to eat natural foods every day to give your body the energy it needs to stay alert and functioning at optimal levels. In particular, look for foods that have low glycemic levels and complex carbohydrates. Foods with low glycemic levels and complex carbohydrates take a longer time to be broken down, which can give you a longer-lasting energy boost than other foods. By contrast, those foods with a high glycemic index, such as those with starches or refined sugars, can give you a sharp spike in your blood sugar, followed by a slump in your energy.2

Examples of low-glycemic foods include:
  • Green Vegetables — Fresh veggies, such as kale, spinach, zucchini, and broccoli, are all non-starchy vegetables that are low in carbohydrates. There are lots of delicious ways that you can enjoy these vegetables, and you can even drink them in smoothies!19
  • Nuts — There are many types of nuts that are rich in protein and fiber, and these can boost your energy levels. For instance, almonds and walnuts are great sources of energy when you consume them without added flavors or coverings (sorry, no chocolate).20
  • Foods With Omega-3 Fatty Acids — There are foods with high levels of this healthy fat that can slow your digestion of carbohydrates and contribute to your rising energy levels. For example, avocados and certain fish, like salmon, are prime examples of foods with healthy, energy-boosting omega-3s.21
  • Protein — Adequate protein can increase your energy without causing a crash. For instance, organic tofu, beef, and chicken are great sources of clean protein that can slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Avoid processed protein products that are high in sugar and chemical additives.22

What Can I Drink to Boost My Energy?

The liquids that you consume can have just as significant an impact on your energy as the foods you eat. For example, as mentioned earlier, energy drinks often contain lots of sugar & caffeine and can have a negative impact on your health. In addition, while less processed caffeinated beverages like coffee can help boost energy, studies show that they can still cause adverse effects, such as insomnia, high blood sugar, migraines, and increased anxiety when consumed in large amounts.3 Limiting your caffeine intake and looking for drinks low in sugar can help you maintain normal energy levels.

For example, regularly consuming water can help you make sure that your body stays energized by promoting blood flow. If you are dehydrated, your body can become extremely fatigued because it is not receiving the necessary nutrients and electrolytes to the muscles and brain. When this happens, you can experience a great deal of negative impacts on your health, such as lethargy, trouble focusing, memory problems, and heart issues.4 To keep your body hydrated and healthy, you could bring a refillable water bottle with you throughout your day so that you always have access to water.

Other drinks that naturally improve your energy levels include those made from fresh fruits and vegetables.11-14 Include the fiber in your smoothie rather than juicing processes that filter the fiber out.10 For example, making smoothies is a great way to achieve a nutrient boost that wakes you up without any artificial additives or caffeine.

If you want to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals through a smoothie, make them with natural ingredients, like:
  • Fresh fruit, including the pulp — especially low-glycemic varieties such as pomegranate, cranberry, acai fruit, tomato, berries, pears, and cherries
  • Low glycemic vegetables, like carrots, celery, or cucumber
  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Peanut butter, almond butter
  • Moderate use of honey, coconut sugar, or xylitol
  • Milk

Raising Your Energy Levels With Exercise

Exercise for Energy

When you are feeling tired, it can be difficult to find the drive to move your body, but exercising can raise the dopamine levels in your brain.5 This can improve your mood and give you the capacity to capitalize on the energy you’re building. The best part is that you don’t need to start with complex movements or high-impact training to see results. No matter what intensity of your exercise, simply moving your body regularly can have impressive benefits. Starting to exercise can also be a social activity if you want it to be, which is good for your energy, your body, and your brain.

You can enjoy all the following activities alone or with friends to provide an extra boost to your energy:
  • Walking — Going outside for a stroll can have a surprising impact on your energy levels. The fresh air and movement of your body can make you feel more alert.
  • Jogging — Cardio workouts like jogging can make your heart and the rest of your muscles stronger. A stronger heart and an increased heart rate can help your tissues get oxygen and important nutrients. This can make you feel more energized.
  • Biking — When you ride a bike, you participate in an activity that also strengthens your muscles and boosts your endurance. Your dopamine levels go up, and your body becomes stronger and more energized.
  • Pilates — When you stretch and move your body in a Pilates workout, you can improve your energy in a few ways. Slow, purposeful movements may reduce your stress, provide natural pain management, strengthen your muscles, improve your breathing, and help you become more alert and focused.
  • Team Sports — Participating in sports, such as volleyball, pickleball, tennis, or soccer, can give you a boost of energy that goes beyond an increased heart rate and muscle strength. These games require you to focus on a goal, help you socialize, and boost your engagement with others, all of which can increase your levels of dopamine beyond that of physical activity alone.
  • Swimming — This activity has a wide range of physical benefits. Swimming is a workout for your entire body and can improve your heart health and your energy usage. It is also an option for many people who struggle to take part in activities on land.
  • Yoga — Like Pilates, yoga is intended to improve your strength, focus, posture, and breathing. Many people report reduced stress levels, which is key to boosting your energy levels naturally.

Increasing Your Energy With Rest

Learning how to improve your sleep and achieve deep, effective rest can also increase your energy levels throughout the day. Avoiding sleep deprivation can help you avoid metabolic issues, too.6 However, it’s important to recognize that not all energy derived from sleep is obtained at night. For example, there is research showing that taking short naps, often nicknamed “power naps,” for twenty to thirty minutes every day can make you more alert.7

Of course, to improve the quality and impact of your rest, strive to set up a healthy sleep schedule based on a regular nighttime routine. Strive to go to sleep at a similar time every night, and do not consume food or a lot of liquids in the hour before you go to sleep; these can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, require you to get up to use the restroom, and even provide energy when you should be winding down for the day. Minimize blue light exposure before you go to bed, which could make it difficult to put your mind at rest.15

To keep your body healthy and energetic, improve sleep. Ways to do this include:
  • Develop and strive to stick to a sleep schedule
  • Practice mindful breathing exercises before bed
  • Avoid distractions like texting, news,
    and blue light from televisions and phones
  • Meditate or journal before you go to bed
  • Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages
  • Minimize light and heat in your bedroom
  • Avoid noise that can keep you awake
  • Keep your bedroom comfortable with pillows and blankets

What Can You Avoid to Boost Your Energy?

What to avoid to boost your energy and how to reduce stress

There are a variety of things you might be consuming and engaging in that lower your energy levels. Once you recognize the causes of your energy dips and change your behavior, you can see a healthy increase in your energy levels.

Stay Away From Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can cause a host of negative health issues, many of which can reduce your energy levels. For instance, if you consume alcohol before you go to bed, you may experience a reduction in REM sleep. This means that your rest would be of a lower quality than it would be if you did not consume alcohol.8 These beverages can also lower your body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which leads to a reduction in your energy and endurance levels.9

Avoiding Stress

It is hard to avoid stress entirely, but actively working to minimize the level of stress that you are exposed to can have incredible impacts on your health. When you are stressed about a situation, a great deal of your physical and emotional energy is poured into thinking, worrying about, and managing the stressful scenario. Many strategies exist that cost nothing to implement except your intention to put them into practice.16-18

To reduce your stress levels, you could consider these:
  • Doing deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga
  • Listening to music
  • Going for a walk outside
  • Stretching
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Spending time with your loved ones

Making Many Long-Term Changes

Increase your energy naturally

When you are already in a state of deep fatigue, asking, “How can I increase my self-energy?” might seem just another chore that you don’t have the energy to do. So start with small steps that over time, can foster long-term, comprehensive change. Adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet, avoiding processed or otherwise unhealthy food, abstaining from alcohol, getting better sleep, exercising, and managing your stress levels are all changes that can work together to contribute to your energy levels. If you are seeking to increase your energy levels as you look for alternatives to medications or support for medication or substance use withdrawal, contact Alternative to Meds Center today.


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9. Young, T., Bailey, S., Van Horn, C., Cunningham, C., (2006). Chronic ethanol consumption decreases mitochondrial and glycolytic production of ATP in liver, Alcohol and Alcoholism, 41(3), 254–260, [cited 2024 April 17]

10. Vlachos D, Malisova S, Lindberg FA, Karaniki G. Glycemic Index (GI) or Glycemic Load (GL) and Dietary Interventions for Optimizing Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients with T2 Diabetes: A Review. Nutrients. 2020 May 27;12(6):1561. doi: 10.3390/nu12061561. PMID: 32471238; PMCID: PMC7352659. [cited 2024 April 17]

11. Jensen GS, Ager DM, Redman KA, Mitzner MA, Benson KF, Schauss AG. Pain reduction and improvement in range of motion after daily consumption of an açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp-fortified polyphenolic-rich fruit and berry juice blend. J Med Food. 2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):702-11. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0150. Epub 2011 Apr 6. PMID: 21470042; PMCID: PMC3133683. [cited 2024 April 17]

12. Li YF, Chang YY, Huang HC, Wu YC, Yang MD, Chao PM. Tomato juice supplementation in young women reduces inflammatory adipokine levels independently of body fat reduction. Nutrition. 2015 May;31(5):691-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.11.008. Epub 2014 Dec 13. PMID: 25837214. [cited 2024 April 17]

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14. Gasmi Benahmed A, Gasmi A, Arshad M, Shanaida M, Lysiuk R, Peana M, Pshyk-Titko I, Adamiv S, Shanaida Y, Bjørklund G. Health benefits of xylitol. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Sep;104(17):7225-7237. doi: 10.1007/s00253-020-10708-7. Epub 2020 Jul 7. PMID: 32638045. [cited 2024 April 17]

15. Ishizawa M, Uchiumi T, Takahata M, Yamaki M, Sato T. Effects of pre-bedtime blue-light exposure on ratio of deep sleep in healthy young men. Sleep Med. 2021 Aug;84:303-307. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2021.05.046. Epub 2021 Jun 8. PMID: 34217920. [cited 2024 April 17]

16. Maddux RE, Daukantaité D, Tellhed U. The effects of yoga on stress and psychological health among employees: an 8- and 16-week intervention study. Anxiety Stress Coping. 2018 Mar;31(2):121-134. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2017.1405261. Epub 2017 Nov 23. PMID: 29166771. [cited 2024 April 17]

17. Pascoe MC, Thompson DR, Jenkins ZM, Ski CF. Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Dec;95:156-178. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.08.004. Epub 2017 Aug 23. PMID: 28863392. [cited 2024 April 17]

18. Linnemann A, Ditzen B, Strahler J, Doerr JM, Nater UM. Music listening as a means of stress reduction in daily life. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Oct;60:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 21. PMID: 26142566. [cited 2024 April 17]

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21. Moosheer, S. M., Waldschütz, W., Itariu, B. K., Brath, H., & Stulnig, T. M. (2014). A protein-enriched low glycemic index diet with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation exerts beneficial effects on metabolic control in type 2 diabetes. Primary care diabetes, 8(4), 308-314 [cited 2024 April 17]

22. Munsters MJ, Geraedts MC, Saris WH. Effects of different protein and glycemic index diets on metabolic profiles and substrate partitioning in lean healthy males. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 Nov;38(11):1107-14. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2012-0409. Epub 2013 Apr 25. PMID: 24053517. [cited 2024 April 17]

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This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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