Energy: it is something we can all use more of. Between working long hours and lack of sleep, most Americans complain that they do not have enough energy to get them through the day. The holiday season brings later nights, higher sugar consumption, and colder temperatures, and unfortunately because of these factors, our energy plummets even further. To help increase your natural energy, here are a few simple nutrition and lifestyle strategies that have successfully worked for my clients.
1) Eat foods high in B vitamins, including brown rice, quinoa, turkey, bananas, tempeh, and grass fed meat. The family of B vitamins, such as B1, B2, B9, and B12, are known as the “energy” vitamin, so concentrate on these foods when you are feeling especially sluggish.
2) Many people choose coffee when they need a quick energy boost. In fact, about 90% of Americans report using some form of caffeine everyday. In the short-term it can stimulate the body for more energy. However, in the long-run it can exacerbate ailments such as anemia, kidney stones, osteoporosis and ulcers, as well as cause adrenal fatigue, which causes undereye circles and puffiness. Try decreasing your coffee intake over time and/or replace it with more gentler versions of caffeine such as green or white tea.
3) Increase your intake of coenzyme Q10. This fat soluble compound is vital for the production of energy inside cells. Foods high in Coenzyme Q10 include nuts, meat, and fish. If your diet is low in these foods, consider a good quality supplement.
4) Identify potential food allergies. No matter how healthy your diet is, if you are consuming foods that you are allergic to (even healthy foods such as eggs, peanut butter, spinach, beans, etc) your energy will be effected. Even mild intolerances put stress on the body and result in fatigue. A nutritionist can help you identify any potential food allergies you may have.
5) Eat consciously! Many of us eat on the go- in the car, at our desk, or even standing up in the kitchen. It takes 20 minutes for our brain to receive the message from our stomach that it is full, but by then we have eaten way more than was necessary. This extra food bogs down our digestion and zaps our energy in the process.
6) Go Organic. Research has shown that chemicals and pesticides used in the cultivation of food negatively effect how our cells turn food in to energy. Buy organic food as much as possible. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists are excellent guides when deciding which foods to purchase organic and which you can afford (health wise) to skip.