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Five healthy energy boosters

Caffeine-free strategies to get you through an afternoon slump

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Masterfile

What’s your strategy when you hit an afternoon slump? Do you reach for yet another coffee and maybe a sweet treat? You probably know that’s not the best long term tactic for replenishing energy, so we have a few healthier suggestions. “It’s all about giving back your body what it’s lacking,” says Vancouver medical herbalist Chanchal Cabrera. Try these five tips to get a natural boost:

Rehydrate
“Coffee is a powerful diuretic,” says Cabrera. “And if you’re dehydrated, you’re going to feel tired.” Cabrera suggests drinking at least two glasses of water to compensate for every cup of coffee. “Drinking lots of water can really help restore your mental alertness.”

Brew something new

Cabrera suggests trying out herbs such as gingko and rosemary to help you feel more awake and break through that afternoon wall. Available in capsules, liquid concentrates or teas, these herbs work by increasing blood circulation to the brain, feeding it more oxygen and sugar, which will make you feel more energized. “It’s a quick, easy lift,” says Carbrera, who suggests consulting a medical herbalist for proper dosage.

Take a walk
It’s simple, but it works. “Just a change a scenery will help lift you out of your fog,” says Cabrera. If you don’t have time to go outside, walk by a window or other area that will be visually stimulating. “Just five or 10 minutes will get your blood flowing, in turn, giving you a little boost.”

Eat right
They key to having energy all day long is to eat foods with “staying power,” says nutritionist and registered dietitian Liz Pearson. “Always have a source of protein and opt for foods with whole grains, which will help you to feel full longer.” To avoid the highs and low of fluctuating blood sugar, Pearson suggests eating something every four hours, even if it’s just a small handful of nuts and piece of fruit. “Once you start to feel hungry, you start to lose energy,” she says.

Sniff some peppermint
Studies have shown that catching of whiff of peppermint can actually help you feel more alert. Ottawa aromatologist Dale Dalessio suggests dabbing a little piece of cotton with peppermint essential oil and toting it along with you in a sandwich bag for the day. Open it up when you’re feeling drained and give it a quick sniff. “The nose is the quickest access to the brain,” says Dalessio, “so you should feel the effects almost right away.”