Do you have trouble mustering up the energy to get out of bed in the morning? Or do you function normally until after lunch, then come crashing to a near-halt? Lots of us suffer from low energy at one time or another, and for some it’s an everyday occurrence.

All too often, when we need enough energy to get us through the day, we reach for a cup of coffee or some other caffeinated drink. This does provide a quick boost, but it’s not really the best thing for our bodies. While an occasional dose of caffeine is no problem, it can easily become a habit. And that can end up sapping our energy even further in the long run.

There are other ways to get an energy boost. Most do not provide the quick and dramatic short-term fix that caffeine does, but they do increase our alertness and stamina. Here are some of the best energy boosters:

* Herbs – There are several herbs that people use to increase their energy levels. Some of these are ginseng, gotu kola, guarana, ginkgo biloba, and yerba mate. Some herbs, however, do contain forms of caffeine, so if you’re looking to avoid that, be sure to do your research.

* Nuts – Nuts are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and low in cholesterol, making them a good snack for an energy boost. They also take longer to digest than foods that are high in carbohydrates, so they provide energy for longer periods of time.

* Bananas – Eating a banana provides a very healthy energy boost. They contain vitamin C, iron, and antioxidants, all of which contribute to our energy levels as well as our overall health. Eating a banana about an hour before physical activity will provide a nice increase in energy.

* Carbohydrates – There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, also known as simple sugars, are the ones that provide a quick burst of energy but tend to make you crash just as quickly. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as pasta, rice, bread, oatmeal, and certain fruits and vegetables. These give us more stable energy.

Ideally, we should obtain our energy through our diets. But in today’s busy society, good nutrition through meals tends to get overlooked. There are energy bars on the market that include beneficial vitamins, minerals and herbs that can pick us up when we’re dragging. There is no harm in using them as needed, but it is best to try to get as much as possible of the things we need from balanced meals.

Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep our energy levels up. But sometimes we need a quick pick-me-up. When we do, there are things that can satisfy without causing us harm. So instead of reaching for your favorite caffeine-filled drink, why not try something a little healthier?

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