It is recommended that you incorporate whole foods into your diet that consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy oils/fats and lean proteins. Eating a diet filled with high fiber and protein and straying away from refined carbs and sugars will increase your energy. Consuming natural sugars through whole fruit containing fiber will slow down the rate of digesting and will not result in the blood sugar spike that you may get from a processed energy or candy bar. Protein will send your body the signal that it is full, limiting yourself from overeating.
Eating Habits for Brain Power:
Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day may help the post-meal fatigue that you may normally experience when you eat three large meals throughout the day. Trying this out will not only help your perceptive energy levels but will feed your brain nutrients throughout the day. Consuming larger meals, especially lunch, can create the infamous “afternoon slump.” This may happen from the increase in blood sugar and the rush of blood that is directed to the digestive system.
If you are seeking more energy and overall vitality, crash diets are not the answer. Overly aggressive calorie reduction and meal skipping can cause an elimination of essential nutrients, vitamins and carbohydrates that give you energy. Women should be intaking a minimum of 1,200 calories each day and men should be intaking a minimum of 1,500 calories each day to ensure proper food intake.
Feeling signs of fatigue, nausea and brain fog? See if drinking a glass of water will help. A great way to start your morning with energy is to gulp down that tall glass of water before turning that coffee pot on. On an average night’s sleep, most people lose about 3 cups of water, making that first glass the recharge your body is craving. After various studies have been conducted, it has been shown that water will give you just as much if not more energy than an actual “energy” or sports drink. These beverages are loaded with additives and sweeteners that will give you a sugar buzz and crash, where as water is a long-term solution to keep your body fueled all day long.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant in products like coffee, tea, yerba mate, green tea and matcha powder. These products not only contain caffeine, but they are known for their antioxidant properties, they may boost long term memory, and they may support liver health, laxative abilities, and mental alertness. Although caffeine can give us a boost, it is not meant to cover up lack of sleep. Caffeine can kick the body into a fight or flight mode, which may lead to further exhaustion down the road if overconsumed. The FDA recommends a maximum intake of 400 mg a day, the equivalent of two to four 8-ounce cups of coffee.
Vitamins and Nutrients:
Did you know that 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient? Having a lack of vitamin D in your diet or lifestyle can cause imbalances, resulting in fatigue and even in some cases, depression. Make sure to spend time outside to get some sunlight and incorporate vitamin D-rich foods in your diet and lifestyle, such as salmon, tuna, egg yolks, wild mushrooms and fortified foods.
Vitamin C is known for its role in immune function, ability to balance blood cholesterol, collagen balance, and giving our bodies an energy boost. Foods rich in vitamin C include: citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetable, and white potatoes. Vitamin C impacts the absorption rate of iron. Deficiencies in iron can cause fatigue and difficulty concentrating, due to a lack of oxygen in the blood. Iron-rich foods include: dark leafy greens, dried fruits, legumes, seafood, iron-fortified foods, seeds, nuts and organ meats.
Magnesium converts the food we eat into energy, so if we are deficient in this mineral, we will actually start to feel fatigued! You can make sure that your energy is filled with this nutrient by consuming spinach and other dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, avocados, dark chocolate (70% or more cacao), whole grains and fatty fish.
Elia’s Energy Trail Mix
¼ cup of gogi berries
¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
30 grams or 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate
¼ cup of cashews
Combine all the ingredients in a jar or container, shake to mix, and enjoy!