Has your energy taken a holiday? Do you have to haul yourself out of bed with a head so foggy that only a couple of strong coffees will clear the cobwebs sufficiently to get you going?
Do you struggle later in the day too – fading fast after lunch?
Overwhelming tiredness is a common complaint these days affecting the overall quality of life for many people, but it can be easily solved with a little determination and a positive approach.
Fatigue is often a symptom of a poor diet and a stressful hectic lifestyle, by making some simple changes you can transform your energy levels in as little as one week.
If you really want to put some pep in your step - follow our 10 top tips .....
# 1 Re-examine your diet
The body needs a whole range of vitamins and minerals to convert food into energy and many of those won’t be found in nutrient poor, highly processed foods like cakes, biscuits, chocolate, crisps, pastry, white bread, white pasta, white rice and ready meals.
Open your cupboards and have a good clear out – be ruthless and donate what you don’t want to the local food bank.
Then start planning to stock up with high quality foods that are guaranteed to make you feel good.
# 2 Eat for Energy
Reclaim your get-up-and-go, by making sure you eat a good selection of fruit and vegetables (preferably organic), these energy dynamos are jam packed with all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need to keep your cells’ energy factories working overtime.
Fruit and vegetables also contain lots of water, which is vital for cell metabolism and energy production.
Be honest – how many do you normally eat each day?
The government recommends 5–a-day, but if you really want to improve your health and particularly your energy levels, it’s worth aiming for 10 a day.
Make 5-7 of those different coloured vegetables.
# 3 Load up on Antioxidants
Antioxidants counter oxidative damage in the body that affects how cells in the body function, including energy metabolism.
Many antioxidants are particularly good for promoting, maintaining and supporting cellular energy.
Choose from some of these foods with the highest antioxidant levels:
- Berries – all kinds, blue purple and reds!
- Boiled artichoke
- Plums & prunes
- Red grapes & raisins
# 4 Don’t Overeat or Under eat
Are you eating in moderation and not overeating or depriving yourself either?
If you’re not getting enough calories or you’re skipping meals, the body will compensate and slow down your metabolism to conserve energy – which will leave you feeling sluggish.
On the other hand if you are overeating the body has to channel an enormous amount of energy into digesting and absorbing your food, which is why most people feel the need to sleep after a really large meal. Chronic overeating can result in low energy levels.
# 5 Drink Frequently
Dehydration leads to lethargy, brain fog and fatigue.
It’s important to drink lots of fluid throughout the day.
Water is ideal but herbal or de-caffeinated tea and coffee can also add to your fluid intake.
You might normally reach for a strong coffee for a quick burst of energy but this can backfire when the caffeine rush wears off and leaves you feeling irritable and tired.
It’s easy to go for long periods without drinking and surprisingly just remembering to drink regularly can get rid of headaches and fatigue really rapidly.
Research shows that increasing water consumption elevates the body’s resting energy expenditure so make sure you keep a bottle or glass of water by your side and try to drink ½ to 1 cup every couple of hours.
# 6 Balance your Blood Sugar
Keeping blood sugar balanced throughout the day can have a huge impact on maintaining energy balance and preventing slumps.
To avoid the highs and lows, make sure you eat protein at every meal, even if it’s just a few nuts with a piece of fruit as a snack. Include complex carbohydrates like fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils as well as some healthy fats.
This combination provides lasting energy that is released slowly into the blood, maintaining a steady balance throughout the day.
Avoid eating sugary and highly processed foods as although these may give an instant lift, this is short lived and will lead to sudden drops in blood sugar levels, causing fatigue and irritability.
# 7 Establish a Sleep Routine
A good night’s sleep is so important for maintaining energy levels.
This may seem obvious but many people have great difficulty sleeping.
To encourage restful sleep, avoid exercising too late in the day.
Stay away from caffeinated products such as tea, coffee and alcohol especially in the evenings.
These act as stimulants and can keep you awake for hours - cutting out alcohol may improve your energy considerably.
If interrupted sleep is a problem, low blood sugar late at night could be the culprit.
Try eating a snack about one hour before bedtime, which includes some tryptophan rich food like bananas.
Your body converts tryptophan to serotonin, which produces melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Make sure you have adequate curtains that block out the light. Avoid anything that might keep your mind busy like reading, watching TV or working on an electronic device.
Slip some lavender under your pillow and take a warm relaxing bath with Epsom salts before bedtime to relax your muscles and get your body and mind ready for sleep.
# 8 Find time to Exercise
It can’t be emphasised enough how just adding 30 minutes a day of something as simple as walking, cycling or swimming can energise your life….
Exercise reduces stress, improves your circulation, transports oxygen and nutrients around the body, lifts your mood, improves your sleep, protects your bones and gets your muscles working.
Make it as much part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth is!
# 9 Evaluate your Hormone Balance
If you struggle to get out of bed every day, wade through the morning coasting on coffees and then yawn your way through the rest of the day wishing you could take a quick nap - chances are you may have adrenal dysfunction or an underactive thyroid.
Quite often these symptoms are triggered by chronic stress or inflammation which may have kicked your hormones out of balance.
There are easy ways to tip the balance back in your favour by making changes to your diet and lifestyle, but it helps to know exactly what’s going on.
You can achieve this by carrying out functional medicine tests.
These involve analysis of your stool, breath, blood, urine or saliva and can help you to identify if your symptoms are due to biochemical imbalances.
Many can be done at home under the guidance of a qualified professional health practitioner.
# 10 Take advantage of energy boosting supplements
If your diet is less than perfect and you’re struggling to find time to pull together wholesome organic meals, sometimes supplements can help to fill the gaps.
Choosing the right nutrients can offer a little health insurance when healthy eating is a challenge.
According to research the following supplements are the most effective:
This vital nutrient is a key player in the production of energy in the mitochondria of the cells.
If your cells are low in co-enzyme Q10, you cannot produce enough energy, so nerves and muscles will perform less well.
The production of co-enzyme Q10 diminishes with age and research has found that CoQ10 is particularly beneficial for increasing energy in the elderly and people who suffer from chronic fatigue.
B Vitamin Complex
The B vitamins are essential for transforming food into energy and many people’s diets can fall short of these vital vitamins.
B vitamins are generally found together in food, so it is a good idea to supplement them together as a complex.
Magnesium - found in green leafy vegetables, is an important part of the energy production cycle in our cells.
People with chronic fatigue have been found to be low in magnesium. Alcohol also promotes the loss of magnesium in the urine, another reason to lay off the hard stuff!
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
This powerful antioxidant is another must have for promoting cellular energy.
It works as an essential cofactor for several enzyme complexes that generate energy production within the cells.
Herbs have been used since the beginning of time as natural remedies and Rhodiola is best known for its potential to reduce stress and raise energy.
It is classed as an adaptogens which means it helps the body to adapt to physical stress which is often a factor in fatigue.
Clinical studies suggest that Rhodiola reduces mental as well as physical fatigue which makes it an ideal choice for those with busy, stressful lives.
Acetyl L Carnitine (ALCAR)
ALCAR is a form of Carnitine - an amino acid that is made in the body to help transport fatty acids into the cell’s mitochondria where they can be burned to produce energy.
According to research ALCAR is effective at reducing fatigue in the older population and individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome.
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