When you’re struggling to keep going throughout the day, what do you reach for? Do you drink a cup of coffee, a can of soda or an energy drink? Or do you eat a chocolate bar? These things provide quick energy, but they will most likely leave you in the same boat as before a short time later.

Nuts are a healthier option for those who need an energy boost. Not only do they give us quick energy, they also keep us going longer than caffeine-laden drinks or sugary snacks do. And they have lots of other health benefits as well.

Why Do Nuts Provide So Much Energy?

Nuts are loaded with protein. Protein is a great source of energy, but it tends to work more slowly than carbohydrates. Protein does not provide a quick energy fix, but it keeps us going for the long haul.

Another nutrient found in nuts is coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short. This is a nutrient that helps our cells produce energy. It is also an antioxidant, which means that it protects our cells from damage caused by oxidative stress. Our bodies produce some CoQ10 naturally, but the amount decreases with age. But by eating sources of the nutrient such as nuts, we can experience its benefits.

Nuts also contain Omega 3 fatty acids, a category of unsaturated fats which provide energy to the muscles and organs. They also store energy for the body and help lower LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol. Nuts are one of the best sources of this class of fatty acids.

Which Nuts Are Best?

All types of nut will give you energy. But some varieties do have added benefits. Here are some of the best types of nuts:

* Almonds – Considered a superfood by some, almonds have lots of nutritional value. A serving contains as much protein as many meats. Almonds also provide potassium and iron, which are essential in maintaining energy levels.

* Walnuts – One serving of walnuts provides as much as 90% of the recommended daily value of Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also high in L-arginine, an amino acid that can be converted into glucose and glycogen.

* Pecans – Pecans contain lots of protein and unsaturated fats. They are also a source of at least nineteen vitamins and minerals.

* Cashews – Cashews are lower in fat than most other nuts, but they are packed with amino acids and minerals. They are a good source of copper, which is essential to energy production.

Nuts are a great snack when you need an energy boost. A handful of mixed nuts can give us surprising amounts of the nutrients that we need in our diets. Keeping some on hand will give you a tasty and effective alternative to caffeine when you need a quick pick-me-up.