Having energy is not just about being able to work, it’s everything and without it we cannot live. Every thought, emotion, organ or chemical process is as a result of energy and it is therefore essential that we know how to enhance and preserve it.
Optimise Your Digestion
- We are what we eat and what we absorb. The question is are we absorbing all that we eat for optimal health? For good digestion and absorption, eating the right foods for you and avoiding any hidden food intolerances is fundamental. Efficient digestion makes all the difference to our energy levels, as energy is as result of what we eat. Our food provides fuel for all our cells to work efficiently.
- To maximise our nutrients, we should eat “real” food and avoid refined carbs, saturated fats and food additives, especially found in processed foods. A good serving of fibre and omega 3 essential fat supports digestion as it promotes absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, bowel regularity and has been found to minimise the risk of inflammatory bowel conditions.
- Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and oily fish, like salmon, trout and mackerel are all good examples of omega 3 fats and fibre.
- Remember to include other prebiotic and probiotic foods, which nourish and form the gut microbiome which promotes immunity.
- Stay hydrated and never eat when stressed or anxious as anxiety inhibits efficient digestion. Remember too, to chew your food as digestion starts in the mouth. Proper chewing allows for increased nutrient absorption.
- A little daily exercise goes along way as was shown with a study in people with chronic constipation who did 30 minutes of walking which significantly improved symptoms.
- A final few habits to adopt is to give up those bad habits such as smoking, drinking too much and late-night eating and if necessary, incorporate gut health supplements, like probiotics, glutamine and zinc. These promote gut healing and immunity.
Balance Your Blood Sugar
- This is the answer to good steady energy throughout your day. Your body relies on stable and even blood sugar. The best way to stabilise blood sugar is to control the glycaemic load or GL for short of your diet. It’s dependent on the choice of carbohydrate and what you eat with it is significant.
- We know that carbohydrates effect blood sugar, but fat and protein don’t have a particularly detectable influence. In fact, eating protein with carbohydrate stabilises blood sugar and energy. For a good balanced meal is advisable to have a quarter of a plate serving of protein, like oily fish, chicken or beans of your choice. The protein serving should be the size of one’s palm. The other quarter of the plate is made up of low GL carbohydrate, like brown rice or baked potato or couscous and the final half of the plate is filled with very low GL vegetables, like leafy greens, broccoli or courgette and or cauliflower. By eating this way, energy is stabilised, and metabolism optimised.
Increase your Antioxidants
- Antioxidants are full of energy giving immune promoting vitamins A, C, E and carotenoids. These micronutrients protect our cells from the effects of free radicals and are as a result of the breakdown of foods and through exposure to pollutants. Free radicals play a role in disease and influence our bodies energy.
- As a protective measure, top up antioxidant levels with regular servings of fruit, like berries, apples, kiwi’s, citrus, grapes, olives and with vegetables, like artichokes, red cabbage, sweet potato and broccoli. Nuts and seeds are another way to increase antioxidant status, along with a small glass of red wine, or a cup or two of green tea daily.
Eat Essential Fats (EFA’s)
- These are essential as the body does not make them but needs them to look after certain hormones called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins control hormones manage energy and inflammation, boost mood and the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles.
- Good examples of EFA’s are oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and plant foods like chia, flax, walnuts and algae. Essential fat deficiency is often linked to inflammation causing fatigue, low mood and even depression. The optimal intake of oily fish is three to five servings per week and a handful of nuts and seeds per day.
- To cover any possible dietary shortfalls, supplement with a free from contaminants fish oil and or flaxseed oil, containing all the necessary fatty acids, EPA, DHA, DPA and GLA.
Yes, water is the giver of life as its vital for the provision of cellular energy and function. It promotes efficient digestion, absorption, transportation of nutrients and the elimination of toxins and body waste. Not drinking enough water may lead to dehydration which slows down body functions, causing dips in energy, fatigue and sluggishness.
Signs of dehydration are not always obvious and may range from hunger, dry eyes, headaches, loss of concentration and constipation.11 Studies found that drinking water boosts energy and minimises fatigue and tired feelings.
A good energy giving habit is to have a large glass of water upon waking. This is a sure way of switching on our cells and ridding the body of toxins from the day before. Always carry water when out and about and always have a glass of water after you have a glass of wine. A good way to check you sufficiently hydrated is to look at the colour of one’s urine. It should be pale and without any smell.
Keep Fit and Move
Exercise boosts energy levels and feelings of wellbeing because it produces endorphins, the bodies happy hormones. The question is, what type of exercise boosts energy the most? Any bit of physical activity that exercises the heart and encourages blood flow, raises energy levels. Studies from the Journal of Science and Sports medicine found that aerobic exercise was best at easing symptoms of depression, with lower intensity exercise like yoga also reducing depression and states of anxiety.
A simple walk around the park may work just as well in giving one’s mood a lift and increasing energy. The choice is yours and be encouraged that even the slightest bit of physical activity makes all the difference to our energy and feelings of vitality.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Chronic stress may have a detrimental effect on energy levels and quality of life. Some stress is helpful as it maintains motivation and involvement. Long-term stress has been linked to low energy, apathy and feelings of exhaustion. Certain strategies may be helpful in managing stress, like keeping a diary, writing things down, focussing on the positive and being grateful. Relationships are important too and maintaining friendships and being part of a community gives one a sense of belonging.
Laughing is another worthwhile and highly beneficial activity as it relieves stress and releases serotonin, our feel-good hormone. Learn to use the little word no and set boundaries. By not taking on more than you can manage, may help reduce stress and naturally restore energy. Listening to soothing music, having a pet and or giving a person a hug, releases oxytocin, an anti-stress hormone which provides stress buffering support, improves wellbeing and of course, energy.
Daily Energy Boosting Health Tips
- Eat little and often and importantly don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Have two to three snacks, mid-morning afternoon and a nibble just before bed, to ensure a better night’s sleep.
- Minimise stimulants, especially caffeine from coffee as it increases the circulation of our stress hormone, adrenalin. The adrenalin influences blood sugar and together causes spikes and dips, which negatively impact energy.
- Get some sunshine. Vitamin D is essential for energy production within the cells. Deficiency is often linked to fatigue and muscle weakness.
- Quality sleep will increase energy levels. Sleep needs to be restful and uninterrupted to allow your brain to go through all the five stages of each sleep cycle.Napping may be helpful too in boosting energy. Take magnesium, natures tranquiliser mineral, as a guaranteed measure to ensure a peaceful night’s rest.
- Ensure you eat enough as too few calories leads to tiredness, a reduced body temperature and a compromised metabolism.
- Sleep according to your circadian rhythm or sleep wake cycle as studies found that when this cycle is disrupted chronic fatigue may develop.20 It’s best to sleep during the night whenever possible to maintain our energy.
- Deep breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system, deactivating the sympathetic nervous system or the stress part of our nervous system and this encourages relaxation. The focus is having an awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. This exercise expands our lungs causing the tummy to rise, allowing you to feel more peaceful.
- One final tip is to avoid procrastination and make to do lists, giving priority to tasks and deadlines. This will help to focus, minimising stress and maintaining energy.