As anyone who ever has to regularly stagger out of bed at 7:00 AM will be quick to tell you, waking up is hard. Even if you fancy yourself an early bird, the relentless grind of early morning after early morning will soon have you clawing at the snooze button. It’s enough to make anyone reach for a pot of coffee.
For decades, coffee has been our go to cure for daybreak snooziness. A jolt from something hot, black and caffeinated is enough to keep most of us going for a few hours, before new doses are administered at regular intervals throughout the day. After a working week of jittery paranoia and heart palpitations, we give ourselves a couple of days off before repeating all over again.
But what if there was a way to feel awake without resorting to chemical impropriety? Coffee might be our go to, but it turns out that there are several foods that can be just as effective a wake up call. With a few dietary changes, we can all keep coffee for special occasions. Here are seven foods that can be just as energising as coffee.
Unlike coffee and other caffeinated drinks, which can cause massive peaks and troughs in energy and concentration, oatmeal is all about the long haul. The complex carbohydrates found in a bowl of oats provide slow release fuel, keeping your energy levels consistent throughout the day.
If you still fancy waking up to a warming cup of something delicious in the morning, you’d be well advised to indulge in peppermint tea. Scientists have proven that even smelling peppermint can help increase energy levels, whilst a study from Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that the plant can even help you lose weight. A win win on every level.
It might be most associated with pancakes and other sweet treats, but this spice has some unexpected healthy effects. Consuming it as a powder has been shown to reduce fatigue and provide a quick energy boost, making it a perfect topping for a morning bowl of oats.
One of the most important chemicals for converting food into energy is the elusive vitamin B12. Fortunately, most of the best sources happen to also be delicious, and sardines are no exception. With high protein content that can help to stabilise blood sugar levels, this fish ticks every energy box.
5. Sesame Seeds
Not only do the fiber and healthy fats in sesame help to keep blood sugar levels consistent, but these mighty seeds pack an extra energy punch. Rich in magnesium, sesame is incredibly effective at converting sugars into energy, making it a great option for mid morning snacking.
6. Cashew Nuts
Also rich in magnesium, cashews have another metallic energy trick up their sleeve. These nuts are extremely rich in copper, which in small doses is a vital chemical for internal energy production.
7. Dark Chocolate
It what is perhaps the best news on this list, it turns out that not all your favourite foods are necessarily terrible for you. Rich in the stimulant theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, dark chocolate can also elevate serotonin levels - a natural mood improver and psychological booster.
The thought of giving up your morning cuppa might be too much for some people to bear. It’s true that swapping the guaranteed hit of caffeine for something completely different and suspiciously healthy might leave you scratching your head. All we can say is give it a try. You’ll be surprised with the results.