Good energy levels are achieved and maintained by a balanced diet rich in nutrients, regular exercise and a good nights sleep. Here are our naturopath’s top 10 things that you can do to boost your energy naturally.
1. Get a good nights sleep
A good nights sleep will ensure that your battery is recharged to face the day ahead. Sleep is also needed for the repair and rejuvenation of the body. Try to aim for 8 hours of sleep a night.
Good sleep hygiene can help if you are having trouble settling at night. This includes ensuring the room is very dark and quiet, removing clocks and electrical appliances from your bedside, having the bed made and turned down ready to get into (nice sheets that you like can help too), and avoiding watching TV or doing anything else stimulatory before bed.
Other things that may help are some lavender, rose or other relaxing oils put on your pillow or in an oil burner, relaxing music playing very softly in the background or a cup of chamomile, valerian or hops tea an hour before bed.
2. Keep hydrated
As mentioned above dehydration can lead to drowsiness. Aim for 2 litres of filtered or spring water daily. Carrying a water bottle around with you is a great way to get into the habit, and if you don’t like the taste then try adding a squeeze of lemon or orange juice.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast
Breakfast is our first meal in over 10 hours so make it count! Aim for some complex carbohydrates such as rye bread or rolled oats with protein like egg or nuts and a good fat like avocado or flaxseed oil.
4. Use complex carbohydrates
Simple carbs like sugar and white flour products spike our blood sugar quickly which then drops and leaves you drained for energy. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains and whole grain products, oats, rye, brown rice and legumes.
5. Have protein with every meal
Adding protein to your meal with lower the glycaemic index of the meal as well as giving you amino acids which are needed for many bodily functions. Protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes (lentils, peas and beans), whole grains and tofu.
6. Get into the superfoods
Superfoods are foods which are particularly packed with vitamins and minerals. This includes blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, quinoa, amaranth, spirulina, broccoli, wheat grass, barley grass, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds, lemons, cacao nibs, figs, pineapple and kiwifruit (leave the skin on!).
7. Have snacks throughout the day
Snacking regulates your metabolism and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Try keeping some of these things on hand:
- A trail mix made with some mixed nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds and goji berries.
- Corn thins with avocado or hommus
- Celery/carrot sticks and hommus
- A piece of fruit
- Some berries and a dollop of probiotic yoghurt
- Veggie muffins made with wholemeal flour
- Ryevita and cottage cheese or sardines
Although you may think it would tire you to exercise, it actually helps to increase energy levels and promote a greater sense of wellbeing due to endorphin release. Aim for at least 40 minutes 3 times a week, a combination of cardio and weights is best.
Relaxation is key in rejuvenating both your mind and body. Yoga, meditation and relaxation tapes can help, but if you’re not into that kind of thing don’t despair as relaxation can take place in may forms. Doing something you enjoy can be relaxing in itself, some people like crafts or sewing, others like to build model planes or read the newspaper. Find out whats good for you and make sure you put time aside specifically to relax.
10. Avoid stimulants
When you’re tired it seems only natural to reach for a cup of coffee of a coke to give you an energy lift. The problem is that when you stimulate your nervous system like this it only leads to a further depletion of energy stores, and could eventually lead to adrenal burn out. Try instead to have a cup of green or white tea, these will give you a gentle buzz and also are high in antioxidants.