Typically, the foods we rely on most for high energy are the very foods that contribute to chronic low energy. The quicker we get a boost from a food, the faster it breaks down, leaving us with low blood sugar soon after consumption. Low blood sugar not only leaves us feeling tired, but often confused, emotional and irritable. When we feel this way we often reach for more sugar, caffeine or simple carbohydrates to pick us back up, thus perpetuating the cycle.
Break the cycle with these 5 simple but powerful tips:
#1. Breakfast is Best. This is the most important tip on the list, and although it sounds simple, for many people this is their biggest challenge. Eating a substantial breakfast is the best way to ensure sustained energy throughout the day, both for your body and your brain. It sets the tone for your metabolism and helps prevent cravings throughout the day. And a piece of toast or bowl of cereal will just not cut it! While eating eggs or steel cut oats for breakfast is ideal, faster options such as a breakfast shake heavy on protein (greek yogurt or hemp powder) with ½ avocado, flaxseed oil, ground flaxseed, berries and milk of your choice will give you the fiber, essential oils, protein and complex carbohydrates you need to get through your busy morning. Homemade cereals with rolled oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit are another fantastic option and can be put together the previous night before bed.
#2. Never Skip a Meal Skipping a meal is the worst thing you can do for your metabolism and your energy level. Everything slows down when you haven’t given your body the proper fuel and nutrients it needs to keep going. Ensure you eat a protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat every 2-3 hours. This will keep your energy and brain functions high and keep you from reaching for that cookie or coffee.
#3. Be an Iron Maiden Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies for woman and children. Iron produces hemoglobin, and hemoglobin carries oxygen in our bodies which is needed to perform the metabolic functions that give us energy. Being low in iron makes it impossible to get through the day with any energy, and makes it very easy to catch colds and viruses. Sources of iron include beef, dried fruit, beans, egg yolk, dark leafy greens and lentils. Have your doctor check your blood and liver storage for iron levels, and if either of them are low, supplement with a non-constipating formula such as ‘Salus’ or ‘Platinum Easy Iron’.
#4. Stay Fluid One of the first symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Water regulates temperature, transports nutrients to your body and carries waste away. Fluids come from water, herbal tea (my favourite for women are horsetail and nettle), fruits, vegetables and fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juice. Start with a large glass of water first thing in the morning, and drink enough water for your urine to be clear and odourless. And remember, for every cup of coffee you drink, you need 2 cups of water to replace the water lost.
#5. Stop Being so Refined Refined carbohydrates and simple sugars are your energy’s worst nightmare. While they give you that quick boost you desire when your blood sugar has dropped, the effect is short lived and followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar, and thus energy. Stop being so refined and go rustic. Eat ‘old fashioned food’ that isn’t wrapped in plastic or packed in a bag! Go for fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, salad greens, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils and ancient and sprouted grains. While it may take a bit of effort to prepare, it will take less effort to make it through the day when you nourish your body with real food.
You don’t need expensive super berries or powders to give you energy throughout the day. Ensure you eat a nourishing breakfast every day, never skip a meal, keep refined foods to a minimum and drink lots of fluid. It’s less complicated than you think.