The key to keep your energy levels up all the year is maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular exercise and eating a balanced diet mainly based on plenty of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and low in saturated fat. Proper sleep and good stress management are very important too, as we find it harder to roll out of the bed every morning during the winter months, we don’t actually need to sleep any longer over the colder seasons, eight hours is enough.

There are different reasons why we feel more lethargic in winter but the main one is due to the lack of sunlight, which leads our brain to produce more melatonin, the hormone that helps us control our sleep and wake cycles.

During this time of the year, we feel tempted to swap the salad for starchy meals such as pasta, bread and potatoes. However it is best to roast your vegetables and keep the starches to a minimum and even more important, eat at regular intervals instead of large meals. This way you will not only avoid feeling sleepy over the day but will also avoid the extra few pounds.

There are also many natural energy boosters, we have listed some of the best to help you go through this winter in top form.

  1. Echinacea

This pinky-flower plant coming from Easter and central North America has become one of the top natural remedies over the last few years. It is said that Echinacea boost naturally your immune system (which I firmly believe after more than 10 years benefiting from it) although so far scientific research has only confirmed that it helps to prevent colds. It may be effective for early cold treatments and reducing their duration too. You can consume echinacea for up to 8 weeks.

I personally prefer the drops as it goes straight into your system and you avoid the thickeners and other ‘extra stuff’. Typically dosage is around 15 drops three times per day. Be aware that children under 12 years old must not take echinacea due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.

Be aware that children under 12 years old must not take echinacea due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.

  1. Garlic

My mum used to tell me, it is the best home medicine. The list of benefits of this onion relative is so long that we would need a whole blog for it.

Garlic is a natural antiviral (cold preventer), fighting infection and bacteria and contributing to lower the rate of colorectal and stomach cancer, among its most relevant benefits.

The perfect dose is two raw cloves a day and some crushed garlic added to your cooked meals over the week. I know, raw garlic may be a little too much to eat like that, especially if one aims to keep a healthy social life, so another way of getting this two raw cloves per day or as much and as often as you can handle is simply cutting the two cloves into a few pieces and swallow them as if you were taking meds. You will get all its benefits without the downside.

Another way of enjoying raw garlic is with one of the most popular Spanish breakfast: toasted bread (best for you if is rye or wholemeal) spread with raw garlic, ripe tomatoes and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Finally, if you have never tried black garlic you definitely should. It is considered a superfood due to its high nutritional value and it tastes really good, with a slight liquorice finish. It is particularly delicious cooked with pan-fried wild salmon and thyme.

  1. Cinnamon

Add a generous sprinkling to your morning smoothie, yoghurt oatmeal for incredible antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal benefits. It will also help you keep blood sugar levels stable, remove toxins from the body and improve digestion.

Best time of the year to consume more cinnamon is actually winter as it supports good circulation in the body to fight cold hands and feet.

  1. Berries

Berries are well-known for being packed with plenty of antioxidants which help combat ageing and keep your brain sharp.

Only a couple of servings per week is enough to enjoy the mental health benefits, according to the study published in the Annals of Neurology. They can also aid weight loss due to its high amount of fibre and liquid which makes you feel full for longer.

Since berries are very appealing for insects and bugs because of their colours and thin peel, they are usually treated with a high amount of pesticides and herbicides so I recommend you going organic when possible if you want to benefit from all their wonders.

Find our berries breakfast recipe in our article Healthy and delicious high protein breakfast.

Healthy and delicious high-protein breakfasts

  1. Ginger

This flowering plant original from China has a long story along the traditional and alternative medicine.

Among its most popular known benefits are to reduce nausea, help digestion and prevent and fight flu and colds. However, the list goes on and includes anti-inflammatory properties (reducing progressive exercise-soreness when consumed on a regular basis), a decrease of heart disease risk and menstrual pain, prevent cancer, improve brain function, lower LDL cholesterol, blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

Ginger it’s simply amazing and you can benefit of it with just 1-2 grams of ginger powder per day. I also love it sliced and added to my green tea or in cubes with my miso soups / stir fried vegetables or tempeth meals.

  1. Ginseng

If you are not sleeping well, ginseng will give you an incredible energy boost. I tried in the past and it is a bit too much for me, as I am very sensitive to caffeine or anything which boost significantly my energy levels, so just be aware. However, it does wonders helping those with deep and sound sleep and with a very intense lifestyle when taken for a specific period of time.

Ginseng improves physical and sexual performance, increases the body’s ability to adapt to metabolic stress, helps to combat inflammation, free radicals and protects against cancer due to its high amount of antioxidants. These listed benefits vary depending on the type.

While still more research must be done to prove that it actually helps you enhancement your energy levels, it has been proven to have enough antioxidants to help boost your body’s immunity shield.

There are five types of ginseng: American, Brazilian, Red, Siberian and Indian ginseng, from which only one has been considered risky when taken in slightly greater amounts, Brazilian ginseng.

1-2 grams per day seems a reasonable and safe amount. Anyone with insomnia problems and women battling breast cancer must avoid ginseng. You should also stop taking ginseng immediately if you experience diarrhoea, headaches, rapid heartbeat or blood pressure fluctuations.

All advice shared here is meant to serve as mere guidelines. Please, see your physician for specific and tailored health advice.

Written by; Pilar

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