5 Natural Energy Boosters

Feeling drained before or after a workout? Before you reach for a protein bar or energy drink, turn to your kitchen pantry for an all-natural energy booster.

1. Spirulina
Spirulina, a blue-green algae that grows in naturally alkaline (salty) waters, has endless health benefits. First off, it is 50-70% pure protein in its dry form, and unlike other forms of protein, it is incredibly digestible.

Spirilina also contains more than 100 minerals and vitamins, including copper, vitamin K, vitamin E, selenium, vitamin D, zinc, gammalinolenic acid (GLA), beta-carotene and other B vitamins.

Tip: add one teaspoon of powdered spirulina to a glass of juice or your favourite smoothie recipe for an instant power boost.

2. Edamame beans 
Edamame beans are the perfect low-fat, protein-rich, highly energising snack, packed with B-vitamins, copper and phosphorous.

The fresh vegetable soybeans contain about 36 percent protein, which is 86 percent higher than mature soybeans.  Edamame is also anti-inflammatory, so great for easing inflammation from sports injuries or aching muscles.

Tip: you can buy frozen edamame beans from most Asian supermarkets. Simply steam for several minutes and sprinkle with sea-salt.

3. Coconut water
Coconut water is a natural isotonic drink that provides many of the same benefits as formulated sports drinks, with electrolytes in their natural form.

Tip: many supermarket chains in Australia now stock fresh coconuts, so try to go for the real deal over the packaged product. A fresh coconut comes preservative-free and without any added sugar or salt.

4. Quinoa 
Quinoa is a superfood (or supergrain) and comes packed with health benefits.  It’s high in Riboflavin (B2), which improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create energy production in cells.

It also contains iron, which supplies oxygen to our muscles and aids in contraction. Iron also increases brain function, regulates body temperature, aids enzyme activity and increases metabolism.

Tip: For “green quinoa”, put kale, spinach and parsley into the blender and add to the water while boiling your quinoa.

5. Cacao

Cacao contains theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant that has a similar stimulating effect as caffeine. Eating cacao also helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiates.

On top of just giving you a “natural high”, cacao contains a whopping 621 antioxidants, whereas blueberries contain just 32. It also has a wonderful effect on the cardiovascular system, particularly when it comes to lowering blood pressure.

Tip: Combine one teaspoon of raw cacao powder, one shot of espresso, warm oat milk and coconut sugar for a “power mocha”.