Who’s tired, raise your hand? And hands around the world shoot up like rockets. As a culture we are overstressed, overworked, burn the candle at both ends trying to do and be it all for everyone. Obviously this is no way of life. Balance is critical and while I’m well aware you have bills to pay and likely little ones to raise, there are still many things you can do to naturally boost your energy and mitigate the dangerous effects of stress on your body.
Now, diet does play a critical role in everything from your weight to your immunity as well as your energy level, but there are several other factors you should be taking into account as well.
The first of which is the most obvious. SLEEP MORE. You must try to prioritize your sleep. Go to bed earlier. Don’t watch TV. Don’t answer emails in bed. Go to sleep. The more you sleep the healthier you will be and the better you will feel. In fact, if there was a question of whether or not to sleep 6 hours and hit the gym or sleep 8 hours and just eat clean the next day I always choose the sleep and clean eating. That’s how important sleep is.
Second is hydration. We can literally wilt like a flower when we don’t get enough water throughout the day. Over the years there has been a ton of differing information out there on how much you should drink, which can be really confusing. Especially since there are many different factors that play a role in your hydration level, from the climate you live in to your age to the amount you exercise and so on. So, in a nutshell, you need to drink enough so that your pee looks like lemonade. If it’s dark like apple juice keep drinking.
Third, don’t eat crap. While I can and will give you a few key nutrients to help boost your energy naturally, when you eat processed foods laden with sugar, white flour, trans fats, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors and so on it crashes your blood sugar, destroys your health and leaves you feeling depleted and exhausted. Keep your food as fresh and whole as possible.
Next, let’s talk caffeine. Caffeine when exploited correctly can be an excellent energy boost. Plus, it improves cognitive function and has been shown to help fight pancreatic cancer and insulin resistance. However, coffee is the second heaviest sprayed crop in the world so it’s very important you go organic with your brew. And, dose is critical. When you overdo the caffeine it has the opposite effect. This is because it taxes your adrenal glands, stressing you out, leaving you tired and rundown. The key with caffeine is to not consume more than 400mg in a day. That’s the equivalent to two strong cups of coffee.
Now, when it comes to diet, there are key nutrients that have been linked to energy, but there are also a few guidelines you should follow.
- Don’t skip meals and eat every 3-4 hours to stabilize your blood sugar and subsequently your energy.
- Choose 100% whole grains and foods that are high in fiber because they also stabilize your blood sugar. Quinoa is a great option. (There was a myth circulating that the saponins in quinoa was an “anti nutrient” that caused inflammation. Previous studies have proven this to be utter bullsh*t, so eat your quinoa.)
- Be sure to look for foods high in vitamin B complexes. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body use fats and protein. Some great examples would be beef, fish and eggs.
- Plus, you want to consume foods with Iron to fend off anemia. Beef is also good for this but if you are vegetarian try dark leafy greens and add some citrus to them as citrus helps iron absorption. So, try steaming some spinach with lemon juice.
- Nuts and seeds are also good because they are rich in healthy fats, proteins, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous, which keep you energized and stabilize your electrolyte levels.
So…in summation, I want you to take a broader view of how to approach your energy issue, take all the above factors into account, and for goodness sake buddy– take a holiday and give yourself a break!