We all have periods of time when we start dragging, usually when we’ve been extra busy or burning the candle at both ends. But usually with some extra rest or a vacation we recoup our energy level. The real problem comes with a chronic energy drain. About 10% of the population in the world suffers from this type of chronic fatigue. There are many reasons this type of constant state of tiredness can exist including thyroid problems, hypolglycaemia, anaemia, anxiety, depression, weight issues (over or under weight), insomnia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, but diet can also play a role in our energy levels. Research shows us that there is a connection between the type of foods we eat and our mood and energy levels. If you have a medical condition adding to your fatigue, then you certainly need to work with your healthcare provider on treatment. Making some dietary changes by adding foods that can increase energy levels and avoiding foods that can add to fatigue can also help.
Foods that Drag You Down
First, let’s look at some types of food you want to avoid if you find yourself dragging. This would include simple carbohydrates and sugar that can affect your blood sugar level. While carbs and sugar do give you a quick energy boost, it is one that is short lived with a rapid spike in blood sugar followed by a rapid decrease within an hour. Foods such as these with a high glycemic index increase blood sugar levels which causes the pancreas to release insulin to balance your level. The more unstable your blood sugar level is, the harder your body has to work to re-stabilize it which means much of your energy is being directed to this task leaving less overall energy for other tasks. As you can see, the energy boost you get short-term from simple carbs and sugar is not a healthy way to increase energy, doesn’t last long term, and does more harm than good in the long run for increasing overall energy.
Foods that Boost Energy
When looking for ways to increase your energy level, protein and healthy fats, according to Robyn Hussa, from Mental Fitness, Inc. give you a way to stabilize energy levels longer term and in a more healthy way. If you need a quick way to boost energy during your day, Mehmet Oz, MD recommends a snack with simple carbs such as fruits with some honey. Fruit not only has lots of healthy nutrients for you, but also are a good source of fiber which will keep working longer for you. Eating whole grains, starchy vegetables, and other such complex carbohydrate foods are another healthier alternative for boosting energy. Yogi Cameron Alborzian, an alternative medicine expert, recommends eating natural foods in small amounts at a time as a good way to increase and stabilize energy levels. By eating less at a time, the body doesn’t use up as much energy in the digestion process and by sticking with natural wholefoods, we feed the body with the nutrients it needs for energy production. Nutrition expert, Kirsi Paalanen, adds that vegetables such as spinach and kale have iron for increasing oxygen to body cells which increases energy and leafy greens such as these are a good source of magnesium that helps us get a good quality sleep important to keeping energy levels up. Drinking adequate amounts of pure water throughout the day is also important when fighting fatigue as dehydration can zap energy.
Here are a few tips to try when looking for ways to boost energy levels naturally:
- Eat a diet that includes healthy proteins to insure you get the amino acids that keep cells healthy. This would include lean meats, fish, dairy, nuts, and beans. AFA bluegreen algae also has all the amino acids the body needs with a profile make-up nearly identical to that found in mother’s milk.
- Make sure your diet includes foods rich in iron, vitamin C, and magnesium.
- Avoid foods that cause an imbalance in blood sugar levels such as those with simple carbs and sugar.
- Digestion takes a lot of energy, so stick with foods that are easy on the digestive system. You can also add a digestive enzyme supplement to your diet to aid the body in breaking foods down that it needs to produce energy.
- Avoid junk foods, processed foods, foods with refined sugar, and foods with transfats and saturated fats as these type of foods can kill off the enzymes your body needs for digestion. Without good digestion, the body is not able to extract the nutrients it needs for energy production from the foods you eat.
- According to Michael Roizen, MD, eating a diet that includes 25 grams of fiber, 31 milligrams of flavonoids, four to five servings of fruits and of vegetables, eating fish three times a week, and the right amount of calories, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients for your body’s height and build is a good recipe for maintaining stable energy.
- Many of us typically experience a slump in energy in the afternoon after eating lunch. If you find this is true for you, try eating a healthy substantial breakfast and then eat lighter at lunch and possibly even lighter at dinner. There is research to support this type of diet as contributing to living a longer, healthier life.
- Stretching your muscles is another natural way to get a boost of increased energy. If you spend your day sitting at a desk or standing in one place for long periods of time, take the time for a ten minute stretching break. This will increase circulation, give a boost to tired muscles, and deliver more oxygen to muscles. Even if you have a job that involves manual labor, you may not be stretching muscles and may not be aware that heavy manual labor can actually shorten muscles thus making the need for stretching important.
- Need a quick boost of energy? Try sucking on a cinnamon stick.
- Taking a whiff of certain essential oils including grapefruit, peppermint, or lime can give you a quick energy boost when you find yourself dragging and needing to focus.
If you find yourself tired all the time and lacking the energy to get everything done that you want to do, check with your healthcare provider to see if you have a medical condition that might be contributing. Once you rule out a medical condition or just find yourself dragging from time to time, but not chronically, then take a good hard look at the types of foods you are eating. Finding ways to make changes in your diet based on the above tips will help you support your body in producing energy and help keep energy usage stable. This adds up to more energy that is more available throughout the day to keep you moving and accomplishing everything on your list.
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