One of the questions my clients always ask is about energy – we all seem to run low on energy at times! Many of the people I work with cover several time zones and need to ensure they are in top form when they have important meetings at times where others normally slow down to recover.
Let’s have a look at the options for how you can boost your energy levels naturally! Your body and brain run on good fuels. In the same way you fill up your car with the right fuel you should support your body. Vitamins, minerals, activity, and rest – all of them play a role in your wellbeing and energy levels.
Let’s start with carbohydrates. Many of us have a love-hate relationship with carbs. But it’s important to know that carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. Here’s where the quality of your carbohydrates plays a major role:
If you eat fast-releasing carbohydrates (foods that contain sugar, baked goods, fizzy drinks, white rice or pasta, fruit juice etc), they will be metabolised very quickly and cause your blood sugar to rise quickly and fall quickly. That’s great if you are about to finish a marathon but not so good if you need to host a two-hour board meeting!
Slow-releasing carbohydrates are high in fibre, which slows down absorption. They are being metabolised slower and help your energy levels remain elevated but without the peaks and troughs. Best sources are whole fruit and vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and oats.
You can use caffeine to your advantage!
But keep on reading before you run to the coffee shop! It’s no surprise that caffeine does help your alertness. But be mindful that the more you drink, the lesser effect you will see. Don’t drink more than 2-3 cups per day and be careful with any added sugar. To help your sleep, stop drinking it after 15:00 or switch to decaffeinated versions.
If your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue. Almost all my clients don’t drink enough! Depending on your activity levels you should drink between 1 and 2 litres of water every day! If you don’t like plain water, add a bit of lemon juice or fresh fruit for a bit of taste.
Add Vitamin B12, Magnesium, and Iron to your diet for a sustainable energy boost! Fish, lean meat, cashews, almonds, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds as well as chickpeas and beans will make a difference!
Move your body!
When it comes to energy-boosters, exercise is an old favourite. Regular exercise will help you prepare better for stress, too! Everything counts – whatever you do now, do a little bit more!
Try and reduce your alcohol intake. If you like to have more energy, alcohol is definitely not helpful! It makes you feel drowsy, and it raises levels of the stress hormone epinephrine which plays havoc with your energy levels.
Don’t forget to rest!
Don’t just slump in front of the TV – turn your phone off, try a meditation (lots of free apps available, try ‘Insight Timer’!) and relax. Take some time out for yourself.