Sleep Disorders
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6 Foods That Fight Mid-Afternoon Fatigue

Overcome your 2 p.m. slump with these energy-boosting foods. 

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By Taylor Lupo 

 

We’ve all been there—2 p.m. hits and your energy and alertness dip to devastatingly low levels. Eating a carb-heavy lunch, not drinking enough water or sitting still at your desk for too long can all contribute to sleepiness. Another cup of coffee isn’t always the best answer—too much caffeine can dehydrate your body, adding to fatigue—so try these energy-boosting foods to fight midday fatigue.

 

The biggest energy booster is calories, so snack better with a mix of slow carbs and protein. Try an apple with peanut butter or whole grain crackers with hummus.   

 

Prevent afternoon fatigue with a smarter lunch.

 

Chia Seeds

2 / 7 Chia Seeds

Not only are chia seeds versatile, but they’re packed with a ton of nutrients, too. They contain fiber, calcium and magnesium, which is vital to your body’s production of energy. Plus, the fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates in chia seeds make energy long-lasting. Blend a tablespoon into your morning smoothie for a boost that lasts throughout the day or sprinkle them on top of Greek yogurt for a protein-packed afternoon snack. 

 

Tip: Struggling to make it through the work day? Try standing up! A quick walk to the copy machine can boost your energy.

 

Spinach

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Spinach can be blended into a smoothie, folded into an omelet or eaten in a salad to fight afternoon fatigue. A heaping helping of spinach contains the vital component that contributes to higher energy levels: iron. Iron is key to the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), your body’s energy source.

 

Tip: Monotony can be a real downer. Boost productivity by taking a break and focusing on something new.

Pumpkin Seeds

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A handful of pumpkin seeds is all you need to get energy-boosting iron and magnesium. Magnesium activates digestive enzymes, which are essential for breaking down food your body uses as energy. A handful of pumpkin seeds contains 74 milligrams (about 19 percent) of the recommended daily value of magnesium, and five grams of protein, about 10 percent of the daily value.

 

Tip: Dehydration can affect brain function and energy levels, so wash this energy booster down with an extra glass of water.

 

Melon

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Water can be energizing, so foods that hydrate your body boost your energy, too. Fruits that contain a lot of water, like cantaloupe and watermelon, each containing more than 90 percent water, can help your body combat midday fatigue. Watermelon also delivers fructose to your body, a natural sugar that digests slowly to provide energy over time.  

 

Tip: Feeling sluggish? Hold a quick stretch. Stretching delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and increases your heart rate. Just as stretching prepares your body for physical activity, it can rejuvenate your body to complete the day with more energy.  

 

Pistachios

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Pistachios are loaded with vitamin B6, magnesium, iron and manganese, all of which promote energy production. Almonds, cashews and peanuts are also high on the list of magnesium-rich nuts. Pistachios pack a protein punch at six grams per one-ounce serving. Just watch your serving sizes—nuts are high in calories and fat.

 

Tip: Music can be energizing, so crank up the tunes. Choose your favorite—upbeat—song, pop in your headphones and revitalize your energy.

 

Tea

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When your energy wanes in the afternoon, so does your productivity. Boost your energy and mental alertness with a glass of green tea. A mug of green tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee (so you won’t get the jitters), but contains enough to perk you up. Green tea is also loaded with L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes brain function.

 

Tip: Take a nap! This might not be feasible for everyone, but if you have the opportunity—and a pillow—take advantage. A 20-30 minute nap is a great way to improve alertness.