How many times a week are you reaching for that extra coffee, tea, or diet soda, just to get you through the day? Working caregivers frequently need an extra energy boost to keep them going through early mornings and long nights. You may be surprised to learn that there are natural compounds found in foods– other than caffeine–that can increase your mental energy. Mental energy includes not only alertness and increased focus but also positive mood and a boost in motivation, just what working caregivers needs the most!
All the B Vitamins are critically important in improving cognitive function because they are an essential part of chemical reactions that create energy from food. Thiamin (B1) is particularly important for working caregivers who need a little extra energy because it is needed to make various neurotransmitters in the brain. It also plays a part in glucose (the brain and body’s main energy source) processing. Foods high in thiamin are breakfast cereals containing wheat germ, lean cuts of pork, eggs and nuts.
Coenzyme Q is a substance that is required for energy production. Studies have shown that an increase in coenzyme Q intake have improved energy production in the body and increased brain activity. Foods rich in coenzyme Q are beef, herring, and chicken especially when prepared with canola or soybean oil.
Essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, are vital for working caregivers as several studies have demonstrated their ability to prevent stress by helping to upkeep normal brain functioning. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed, canola, and walnut oil, as well as ground flaxseed, walnuts and salmon.
Working caregivers need more energy than most so they can keep up with their older loved ones, jobs, kids and other competing responsibilities. So next time you are feeling jittery from too much caffeine, consider some of these energy-boosting foods instead.
Sarah O’Connor holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Drexel University in Nutrition and Food Science and is currently completing her Dietetic Internship at Montclair State University. She is also a certified yoga instructor and fitness enthusiast.
“Micronutrients and Mental Energy – Nutri-Facts.org. “Micronutrients and Mental Energy – Nutri-Facts.org. July 2012. “Vitamins.” Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University, 2015.