We have evolved into a culture that overbooks and overextends themselves to achieve the most out of the 24 hours we are given each day. As a result of this fast-paced lifestyle, most of us unintentionally have a common concern with several people, fatigue and lack of energy. The energy supplement and drink market are thriving; Monster Energy Drink had a 95.2 million dollar profit in 2014. The industry has paired with major companies such as Coca-Cola.
People want energy and are realizing that artificial sources of energy from herbs, caffeine, and sugar are not a long-term solution. Aside from the crash of energy after it wears off, these artificial sources of energy can interfere with quality sleep, have been linked to irregular heart beat, anxiety and in some rare cases even death. People want to have a natural remedy for fighting fatigue and restoring energy.
We will review products, foods and lifestyle strategies to help restore energy without the crash.
1. Cut back on caffeine
Caffeine is the most used energy drug, mainly in the form of coffee but also found in supplements and other drinks. Cutting back on the amount you have per day can actually increase sustained energy levels over time. Once the body is not dependant on caffeine for energy, the adrenal glands can function better by allowing the body to function at its optimal level with natural energy.
2. Exercise daily
Exercise is the best way to increase energy; it promotes optimal blood flow and oxygen circulation to muscle tissue, therefore, improving the muscle’s ability to produce more energy also known as ATP adenosine triphosphate.
3. Mix up your exercise routine with high-intensity days and low-intensity days
A combination of strength training, flexibility/core training (Yoga and Pilates) and cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming, walking, dancing, etc. are optimal for best results and lower injury risk.
4. Reduce your carbohydrate intake
Carbohydrates should be consumed mainly in the form of vegetables and fruits. Grains that are low in fiber and their main ingredient are flour and/or sugar will spike insulin levels and then crash them. When the insulin level is low, we crave more sugar, caffeine and feel very sleepy and in some case a mental fog.
They key to steady energy is maintaining even insulin and blood glucose levels. Consuming foods that are high in fiber, heart healthy fats, and quality protein is the best plan. Avoid drinks with any added sweetener, processed snacks like cookies, candy, pastries, and bread. We tell patients to aim to consume 100 grams or less of carbohydrates per day unless activity level is high.
5. Supplement with Magnesium
Magnesium helps the body transport oxygen to cells. When the body is deficient in magnesium, it can cause fatigue. Magnesium is actually the most common deficiency of Americans along with vitamin D. Adding magnesium rich foods like almonds, hazelnuts, and halibut to your regular diet along with 300-500mg in daily supplements will help manage and prevent a deficiency.
6. Take a 20-60 minute power nap
The trick to benefiting from a power nap is to keep it to 60 minutes or less. This gives our brain a chance to repair, and some research shows that it helps with retention.
7. Reduce Stress
Stress is one of the worst energy zappers both mentally and physically. Consider meditation, therapy, self-improvement books and exercise as a way to reduce stress daily. Stress raises unhealthy levels of the hormone cortisol this can interfere with quality sleep patterns, and it can cause your body to store unwanted body fat as a coping mechanism.
8. Cut back on alcohol consumption
Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it can interfere with quality sleep, you may sleep for eight hours but the quality of sleep is poor, and you will still feel tired. Limit your consumption of alcohol to 1-2 glasses occasionally for optimal sleep and restorative rest.
9. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day
Dehydration is the first sign of fatigue. Aiming to consume water throughout the day especially around exercise and outside activity can help prevent any fatigue associated with dehydration even if it is slight. Alkaline Hydroxide rich water has, even more, anti-inflammatory benefits and adds oxygen to your blood. Both will help with fatigue.
10. Have a complete blood panel done to check thyroid function
The thyroid is a major influence of overall energy, body mass index, and vitality. A simple blood test can reveal any anemia and thyroid imbalance that can be managed through lifestyle and worse case medication. The thyroid changes during life events such as pregnancy, stress, and menopause, make sure to have it checked at your annual physicals.
11. Green Tea extract
Originated from Chinese medicine is a subtle energy boost that will not result in a surge then crash. Supplement with green tea extract daily or have a mug of green tea (no sugar added) when you feel a slump in energy.
12. Supplement with Relora
Is also an herbal supplement that can help reduce cortisol levels. For those who have anxiety and trouble sleeping due to high cortisol levels, improved sleep quality and energy has been shown with proper supplementation with Relora. It is best to get cortisol levels tested before supplementing for optimal results and dosage.
13. Get a massage
Massage like exercise helps bring oxygen and blood flow to the muscle tissue, resulting in increased energy and overall vitality and health.
14. Consume enough protein
Ironically quality all natural protein from animal sources improves energy, especially when consumed during a slump. The complete amino acid profile in animal protein helps promote sustained energy, compared to the highs and lows of carbohydrates.
15. Do something that makes you happy
Call a friend, pet your dog, watch a funny movie, window shop your favorite store, check out a new book from the library. Happiness brings us energy and is good for the soul. Take time to do things that make you happy.
Avoid false sources of energy and strive to live a balanced lifestyle that incorporates healthy foods and activity daily.
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In-Post Image: Istockphoto.com