Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of stimulants, and maybe used them, to study for exams or meet a tight deadline at work. They run the gamut from nicotine and caffeine to cocaine.
But you don’t need to use dangerous chemicals. There are many natural stimulants that have better effects – and they’re safer, too!
Put down that cigarette or energy drink and use one of the healthier options below. Natural stimulants are created from whole foods. Used in moderation, they won’t make you jittery, and they even provide your body with healthy benefits.
Maca is a natural stimulant that comes from a raw, whole food. It looks physically like a turnip, and originated from Peru. Maca has natural properties that energize you. It works well for sluggish days or people with low thyroid function.
Maca root gives you longer periods of sustained energy. You can use it when you get up, for energy that lasts all day. You can put it in energy bars, smoothies or shakes, or stir it into cocoa or coffee as a creamer. The taste is like caramel and butterscotch, but it does not contain any sugar.
Cacao is among the favorites of natural stimulants. Hey, it’s chocolate!
It’s also rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, iron and antioxidants. Specifically, the zinc, iron and magnesium fight disease and enhance your mood.
Since cacao has natural stimulants, more than 200 of them, it is a powerful natural food. Just add cacao nibs or powder to any drink, dessert or smoothie. You can also use cacao and Stevia to make healthy cocoa.
Cacao stimulates your metabolism, curbs your appetite, boosts your immune system and promotes the healthy turnover of cells.
Add espresso beans to your smoothie for an energizing, delicious taste!
Espresso beans have plenty of antioxidants, and they stimulate naturally, since they are coffee beans. Organic beans offer the best taste and variety.
Drink coffee in moderation. Consume only one to two cups per day, and don’t use over 10 espresso beans a day in energy drinks and smoothies.
Espresso coffee has antioxidants, along with zinc, iron, B vitamins and magnesium. They cleanse the bloodstream and liver, and are linked to the prevention of depression, cancer and even Alzheimer’s Disease.
Cayenne powder is a mild stimulant and also a natural first choice for headaches, over aspirin.
It reduces nerve ending pain and stimulates blood flow to and in the brain. Sprinkle a little in your morning tea.
Cayenne added to chocolate smoothies enhances the chocolate taste and won’t make them spicy or hot. You can also purchase cayenne in pills. It’s a terrific antioxidant, and it aids metabolism, too.
Ginseng is well-known as an herbal supplement with a natural ability as a stimulant. It will give you quick energy, a lot like coffee does. It also offers anti-oxidants and weight loss benefits.
You can consume ginseng in tea, powder or pills. Adding ginger root along with ginseng compliments the taste of many dishes and drinks.
- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are nothing short of amazing when you need a stimulant and energy!
They actually are not considered stimulants, but they offer fast energy that will last for hours, just like stimulants do.
You can enjoy chia seeds by adding a teaspoon or two to oats, granola, homemade snack bars or smoothies. Chia pudding is a tasty treat, too.
Chia has been used for thousands of years, and held Aztec warriors for up to nine hours, when they couldn’t consume food as they were fighting battles.
Chia seeds fill you up and give you an extra boost. And you won’t have to worry about crashing, like you do with energy drinks or caffeine pills.
- Green Tea
Green tea is a natural and unique stimulant. It contains caffeine, so it gives you a natural energy boost. Green tea, though actually has calming properties, making it a safer stimulant than coffee.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It will relax you and give you sustained energy, without causing you to become jittery, tired or sleepy. This seems nearly impossible, but you’ll discover it’s true after just a cup or two of green tea.
If you need a double energy dose, add cayenne, stevia and lemon to green tea. It energizes AND calms you, so it’s perfect for that afternoon sleepy-time everyone has sometimes, at home, school or work.
- Coconut Oil
The fats in coconut oil are used by your liver for producing energy. Many athletes use the energy boost by consuming coconut oil before workouts or races for just that reason.
Coconut fats are MCT fats, meaning medium-chain-triglyceride fats. They aren’t stored if you consume them in moderation, so you won’t gain weight on them. They are used by cells to help in metabolic and thyroid function.
Coconut oil can be used in any type of drink or food, and lots of people eat it in their first meal of the day. You can use it raw, or stir it in your smoothies or coffee. It also contains powerful antiviral properties.
Coconut oil is a boost for your immune system, allowing your energy levels to remain higher over time. Extra virgin, organic, unrefined coconut oil offers the most in nutrients.
- Gotu Kola Root
This herbal root is quite popular with women for hormonal health. It increases energy and prevents symptoms like fatigue, which are associated with PMS.
Gotu Kola root also has many antioxidants, which lowers body stress. Some people do have a negative reaction to it, so try low doses first, like weak Gotu Kola root tea, before you use pills or powders, since those are more concentrated.
This herbal root originated in China and increases mental clarity and function. When your energy is low, you don’t need to use energy bars, harmful supplements or energy drinks to help you recharge – use this natural source, instead.
Guarana berries come from plants found in Venezuela, and in other countries that share the Amazon rain forest. The red berries have many antioxidants that contain about three times the caffeine you get in coffee.
The berries are also rich in the stimulant found in chocolate. Theobromine promotes the production of dopamine (that happy hormone) in your body.
Guarana is used in tea or powder form as a natural stimulant supplement. Though it’s safe, you may want to start out using it once time a day, to avoid the jitters.
Guarana berries fight fatigue, as they enhance your alertness and mental focus. They also help with physical endurance and increase your metabolism.