Forget Coffee: Five Foods That Will Perk You Up

When we think about ways to get a quick pick-me-up, coffee is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But if you're working hard and fighting fatigue, coffee — which will actually end up knocking you out — will only take you so far. There are plenty of foods that you can eat to fight fatigue, whether they work to wake you up in the morning or power you through that mid-afternoon crash.

Whole Grains
Skip the bagel; the refined white flour will knock you out. Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates from whole grains, like oatmeal or whole wheat crackers, which will give you sustained energy and keep your blood sugar from spiking.

Dark Chocolate
Studies have shown that people who eat a daily helping of dark chocolate show less fatigue than those who don't. This is because dark chocolate contains high levels of polyphenols, which increase the level of the chemical serotonin in your brain, making you happy and boosting your energy at the same time.

Oranges and Bell Peppers
What do oranges and bell peppers have in common? High levels of vitamin C, which reduces oxidative stress, a side effect of too many free radicals in the body. People with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are also generally more fatigued. Oranges will cause your blood sugar to spike, which could lead to a crash, and red bell peppers actually contain more vitamin C than oranges.

Bran Flakes
Bran is full of vitamin B, iron, and magnesium, all of which produce energy, and the fiber it contains stabilizes blood sugar levels and fills you up.

Have a kale salad for lunch and you'll see you energy levels spike. Kale is loaded with more vitamins and minerals than can be counted, and it's a great source of calcium. All of this adds up to a serious energy booster.