Don’t turn to the Red Bull just yet if you’re short on energy, but instead try some natural stimulants that are much safer for you, don’t contain additives and excess sugars, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or food dyes. These natural stimulants are made from whole foods, and some of the most powerful stimulants of the world, in the most natural way possible. They won’t give you jitters in a moderate amount, and they even provide the body with an array of natural health benefits. Try these today and enjoy just how wonderful they can be for you!
1. Cacao Powder or Nibs
Cacao is by far my favorite of all natural stimulants. I mean, after all, it is chocolate! Cacao is rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, and Vitamin C. Iron, magnesium and zinc in cacao are used to fight off disease and enhance the mood. Plus, since cacao contains natural energizing stimulants, with over 200 just to be exact, it is in fact one of the most powerful natural foods on the planet. Add cacao powder or nibs to any smoothie, dessert, baked good, or drink. I love to use it in my homemade energy bars, smoothies, and it goes great in some almond milk heated with stevia to make a healthy hot chocolate. Cacao also stimulates the metabolism, promotes healthy cellular turnover, increases the immune system and curbs your appetite.
Maca is another one of my favorite natural stimulants that come from a whole, raw food. Maca root looks much like a turnip, originating from Peru. It has natural energizing properties that are wonderful for a low thyroid, or those days where you just feel a little sluggish. Try maca root instead of other supplements for long sustained energy. I like to consume it in the morning since it provides sustained energy all day long. The maca powder sold here in the U.S. is the only kind you can buy unless you buy it as a supplement. I like to use maca powder in all my smoothies, shakes and energy bars, or I stir it into coffee or cocoa for a nice creamer. It tastes like butterscotch and caramel, yet has no sugar at all.
Cayenne powder can be used as a mild stimulant and a natural alternative to aspirin for headaches. It stimulates blood flow to the brain and helps reduce pain in the nerve endings. I sprinkle a bit in my morning tea, and like to add lemon. I also add cayenne to chocolate smoothie recipes since it enhances the taste of the chocolate, without tasting hot and spicy. Cayenne is also sold as a pill, and is available in common health food stores and drugstores. Cayenne is a great antioxidant and it's a wonderful metabolism aid to boot.
I love adding espresso beans to smoothies for a delicious, energizing taste. Espresso beans are actually full of antioxidants, and since they are a coffee bean, they are already a wonderful natural stimulant. I like to buy organic espresso beans for the best variety and taste. Use coffee with moderation and consume one or two cups a day, or no more than 10 beans per day in smoothies and energy drinks. Coffee is full of magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc and many antioxidants that cleanse the liver, bloodstream and have been linked to preventing cancer and depression, along with Alzheimer’s Disease.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are so amazing for your energy! Technically, they aren’t a stimulant at all, but they do act as a fast source of energy that lasts for hours, like stimulants are intended to do. Add just one or two teaspoons to smoothies, homemade bars, granola, oats, or make chia pudding. Chia was used in ancient times to hold over Aztec warriors up to 9 hour periods when they wouldn’t be able to consume food during battle. They are excellent for filling you up and giving you that extra boost without the crash of caffeine pills or energy drinks.
Ginseng is an herbal supplement well known for its natural stimulant abilities. It gives quick energy, much like coffee, and provides the body with an array of antioxidants, along with some weight loss and cancer-fighting benefits. Consume through tea, pill or powder form and add some ginger root for a nice complementary taste.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil's fats are used directly by the liver to promote energy production, and many athletes like to consume coconut oil before a race or long workout for this reason. Coconut’s fats are known as MCT fats, which stand for medium-chain-triglyceride fats. These fats are not stored when consumed in moderation, and are instead used by our cells to aid in thyroid and metabolic function. You can use coconut oil anywhere you like first thing during the day. Many people stir it in their coffee, smoothies, or just eat it raw. Coconut oil also contains antiviral properties that boost your immune system, so your energy levels are better over time. Be sure to buy organic, extra virgin coconut oil that is unrefined for the most nutrients.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is a unique natural stimulant. For one, because it contains caffeine, it does promote a natural boost of energy, yet the unique part about green tea is the calming property it contains, which makes it such an amazing safe stimulant. The amino acid L-theanine in green tea helps to relax you and provide sustained energy, without making you tired, sleepy or jittery. It almost seems impossible, yet is very evident after having just one or two cups of green tea. For a double dose of energy, make a cup of green tea, add some lemon and cayenne and a touch of stevia to sweeten. It provides such an energizing, calming blend that is perfect for those afternoon sleepies we all get!
Guarana berry comes from a plant native to Venezuela and the Amazon rain forest. It is a beautiful red berry full of antioxidants that also contains more caffeine than any known plant, including three times the amount of coffee. It is also rich in the same stimulant as chocolate, known as theobromine, that promotes the happy hormone dopamine in the body. People commonly use guarana as a natural stimulant and drink it as a tea, or consume it in a powder. Though this is a perfectly safe supplement, I would suggest consuming it only once per day so you don’t get the jitters. It is also sold as a soda made by Coca-Cola called Kuat, along with varieties from a few other brands, though I wouldn’t consume it through a soda beverage due to added sugar. Guarana fights fatigue, enhances mental focus and alertness, increases the metabolism, and provides physical endurance.
10. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is one of my favorite natural energy sources. High in antioxidants, and containing only half the caffeine found in a serving of coffee, yerba mate is such an amazing tea to try. It increases blood flow to the brain, provides energy, can help you lose weight, enhances digestion, and most importantly, it gives you sustained energy instead of energy followed by a crash later. Buy loose leaf yerba mate tea or the tea bags. Both are great sources of this natural, robust and powerful stimulant. If you choose to buy the bottled drinks, do be sure to choose one sweetened with stevia, or one that is unsweetened so you don’t consume excess sugar.
11. Gotu Kola Root
This is an herbal root that is very popular with women and hormonal health. It is said to increase energy and prevent symptoms associated with PMS and fatigue. It is also full of antioxidant properties and said to lower stress in the body. Gotu kola does come with some controversy as some people react negatively to it. For this reason, I suggest trying a lower dose, such as in a tea form, instead of in a powder or pill form, which is more concentrated. This root originates from China and is said to increase mental function and clarity, among its most popular reasons for use.
Next time you’re low on energy, don’t use artificially flavored energy drinks, fake energy bars or harmful supplements to get you by. Instead turn to one of these natural stimulants, which are much better for you and your body. Do you use natural stimulants? If so, for what reason?