It's 3 p.m., and you're feeling less than peppy. Instead of grabbing a cup of joe or a sugary caffeinated drink, why not try one of these natural, low- to no-calorie energy boosters?
GO NUTS! (Almonds, to be precise.) "Almonds are a terrific source of protein that help stabilize blood sugar and increase energy," says Georgianna Donadio, MD, of the National Institute of Whole Health in Wellesley, Mass. Almonds also contain potassium, which aids in regulating glucose metabolism. Snack on a dozen or so.
REFRESH WITH A GLASS OF H2O. The colder, the better: the sensation of cold helps stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (aka the fight-or-flight response) and trigger an adrenaline release. "It keeps you awake and alert," says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! "When you need a quick boost, it gets the energy flowing."
PERK UP WITH PEPPERMINT. Research published in the North American Journal of Psychology suggests that the smell of peppermint essential oil can boost energy and alertness. "Peppermint has been found to stimulate an area of the brain called the reticular activating system," says lead researcher Bryan Raudenbush, PhD. "It's the part of the brain that wakes us up in the morning. When the scent comes in through the nose, it simulates the rest of the body." Find peppermint inhalers at sportsinhaler.com.
KEEP A FIRE IN THE BELLY. Dahn yoga, which originated in South Korea, offers this revver-upper: Stand with feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Using your palms and fingers, tap simultaneously on both sides of your belly button, once or twice a second for up to two minutes. "This stimulates the blood vessels in your gut to open up, increasing circulation between the digestive system and the rest of the body which helps stimulate the feeling of 'fire in the belly,'" explains Dahn yoga adviser Sung Lee, MD.