As we head into the year-end festive season on the back of another gruelling year, it is not uncommon to be feeling a little more flat than usual. Stress takes its toll on our bodies and our mental wellbeing. But there is an upside: by learning how to recognise, adapt and bounce back, we can get one step closer to living a full and energy-rich life. And in my opinion, the first place to start improving those energy levels is by taking a good look at what is on your plate.
Here is how I use natural whole foods to give my body the energy boost it needs:
Protein is important for health on a fundamental level. It builds tissue, regulates blood sugar levels and helps to repair muscles – key to maintaining longer-lasting energy levels. So beginning your day with protein in your meal will get you off to a good start. Eat protein that is in line with your physical needs, preferences and personal beliefs, and as always, protein is a matter of quality over quantity. I encourage eating animal protein with awareness. Be mindful of how that animal was treated, raised and fed.
Eating a diet with higher fibre is important for bowel health, metabolism, blood sugar and weight management, all of which support improved energy levels. My favourite fibre-rich foods are berries, avocados and broccoli.
Although antioxidants don’t directly increase energy levels, they are found in foods that do boost energy by fighting off toxic free radicals. These include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower plus greens like spinach, kale and bitter herbs.
Limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant which provides short unsustainable bursts of energy. The aim is to achieve regulated energy release, maintaining natural rhythms promotes less tiredness and better quality sleep.
Reduce processed foods
Processed food such as grains are low in fibre, so they are digested more quickly and raise blood sugar levels and insulin, causing energy spikes that are not sustainable nor balanced. The same is true for refined carbohydrates – they will also leave you feeling tired in the long run.
Reduce sugar intake
Any added, refined or processed food sugar in any form, is a toxin, which messes with the healthy functioning of your brain, hormones, gut, skin and energy levels. Like processed foods, sugar raises your blood sugar levels rapidly which is not sustainable. A whole, real-food diet provides enough natural sugar to give your body the energy it needs.
Increase these vitamins, herbs & minerals
- Vitamin B12 – Almost every cell uses B12 to promote energy. It helps to form red blood cells and converts protein and fat to energy.
- CoQ10 – Is found in our cells’ mitochondria which supply energy to those cells and, when supplemented, increase energy production too.
- Magnesium – Involved in almost every metabolic process in the body, thereby it provides energy. Lifestyle and stress deplete magnesium, so it may be a good idea to supplement.
- Iron – Critical for energy production. It makes haemoglobin which carries oxygen to all cells so they can function properly, providing energy.
- Green tea – A natural stimulant with many healthy energising properties, yet simultaneously promotes relaxation to keep the stress at bay.
- Chamomile tea – Known for its natural energy support as well as helping to reduce stress.
- Raspberry tea – I actually just eat raspberries. They are naturally invigorating and help focus the mind.
- Salt – Low levels of salt can lead to tiredness and exhaustion. Consider a healthy dose of high-quality salt like low-sodium, mineral-rich Himalayan salt. This is important when consuming a natural whole food diet. Avoid any table or processed salt, which is also found in processed food.
- Fulvic acid – A natural substance formed when plants and animals decompose and is known to stimulate energy production.
- Turmeric – Research shows that taking turmeric or the natural compound of curcumin can reduce fatigue and boost energy levels.
- Ashwagandha – Well-known for its rejuvenating properties including relieving stress, bolstering immunity, promoting energy and improved concentration.
Increase water intake
Hydration is so important for maintaining energy. Fatigue and tiredness are often signs of dehydration. The rule is 8 glasses of water a day and find good quality spring water full of vital nutrients.
Work on developing a healthy sleep pattern. Get moving, use your breath and let go of hoarding things that no longer serve you in your environment. Also, let go of toxic relationships. They are massive energy drainers!
Wishing you much love and an abundance of energy x.