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Fully charged
20+ ways to keep energized

By Bonnie Schiedel
First published in Chatelaine's February 2003 issue.
Bonnie Schiedel

Step 2: Eat!

Have some ginger
Chew gum
Hold on to your iron
Use hydro energy
Pass the bran, woman
Snack attack

Have some ginger

Gingerroot is one of the hottest rejuvenators around. Not only does it reduce inflammation and quell nausea, it also improves digestion, which helps your body perform more effectively, according to Ingrid Pincott, a naturopathic doctor in Campbell River, B.C. Next time you want a treat, reach for spicy-sweet candied ginger, available in the bulk food section of the supermarket. Or make invigorating ginger tea by boiling five one-centimetre slices of unpeeled gingerroot in two cups (500 mL) of water for 20 minutes.

Chew gum

Chewing gum may improve your brainpower (particularly short- and long-term memory) by up to a third, say British researchers. They theorize that chewing gum can increase your heart rate by five to six beats per minute, getting more oxygen to your noggin. Chewing may also stimulate insulin production, which allows your brain cells to absorb more blood sugar, giving your brain more energy.

Hold on to your iron

Bet you already know that low iron levels equal low energy levels. (Iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body.) But you may not know that some foods, such as those high in fibre or calcium and the tannins in tea and red wine, can prevent your body from fully absorbing iron. If you're concerned about your iron levels, eat calcium-rich cheese sauce or fibre-loaded multi-grain bread, for example, at a different time than iron-packed spinach or steak. Vitamin C, however, doubles iron absorption from plant sources, so toss some orange segments into your spinach salad.

Use hydro energy

We all know that a little H20 is good for your health. Here's yet another reason to glug your six to eight glasses of fluid a day--if you're even slightly dehydrated, your mental and physical energy levels dip. Dehydration means there's less water in your blood, so your heart has to work harder to get blood and oxygen to your brain and body.

Pass the bran, woman

Turns out Grandma was right. In a recent Welsh study, people who started eating a high-fibre (six to 12 g) cereal every day reported higher energy levels than those who ate a look-alike low-fibre cereal. Researchers believe this energy boost occurs because fibre combats constipation, a little-discussed problem which makes you feel, ahem, sluggish. Beans and legumes are also packed with fibre, plus they're high in protein and low in fat. Enjoy them at lunch or dinner in hearty chili, flavourful hummus dip, and rich soups like minestrone. (Find high-fibre recipes in our Recipe File.)

Snack attack

It's 4 p.m., you're dozy, and you can hear that chocolate bar crooning your name. Sure, you can give into your cravings, but be energy-smart about it. Instead of a chocolate bar, grab a carton of chocolate milk and a small handful of almonds. Want cheesies? Munch on crisp rye crackers and cheese (a serving of cheese is the size of your index and middle fingers.) Andrea Holwegner, a registered dietitian in Calgary, suggests thinking warm instead of crunchy. "Your body may think it wants chips, but it'll be happy with a cup of soup."

  Energy vampires
  Secrets of a high-energy woman
  Track your energizers
  Energy basics
  Breathe: Serenity now! features 30 ways to slow down
  Eat: Find more than 1000 recipes in our Recipe File
  Move: Try one of our four Sweat Central workouts
  Swap more energy-boosting ideas in our Health forum

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