Do you need an energy boost? Fatigue is such a common complaint in my clinic. How many people do you know that can say they have endless energy all day long (and are over 40!)?
But whatever age you are, if you are tired it’s a sign that something isn’t right. We should have plenty of energy to get through the day without wanting a little nap here or there. Or having to rely on coffee or sugary snacks for a quick energy hit.
There are multiple possible reasons for feeling fatigued, but diet is a major factor and making some smart changes can make a huge difference to your energy levels.
Energy boosting foods
- Coconut oil – the fats in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which go straight to the liver to turn into energy. This makes it a super fast source of instant energy. Coconut oil also boosts the metabolism of every cell, stimulating the burning of fat for fuel. So it can help with weight loss as well as energy!
- Protein shakes – protein powder contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins that are involved in the energy production process. It is absorbed quickly so can be transported to the cells for immediate use. Make sure you are buying good quality undenatured whey or plant protein.
- Green leafy vegetables – rich in vitamin and mineral co-factors for our energy production, eating your greens will certainly give you a boost.
- Avocados – delicious and filling, avocados are full of healthy fats that help us feel full for longer.
- Organic natural probiotic yoghurt – a great source of protein, essential fats and probiotics, which help your digestive system. The less your digestion has to work, the more energy you can have for getting through your day.
- Oats – a complex carbohydrate that are rich in B vitamins needed for energy production. Great to have in the morning as they will keep you full and energized til lunch.
- Liver – liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat. It is the main metabolic engine of an animal’s body, so is a rich source of energy-giving nutrients. Rich in vitamin A, B vits, minerals and essential fats. Try liver in a pate if you don't like it on its own. Check out these amazing organic pates here.
- Eggs – an amazing source of whole protein, and rich in B vitamins and choline, eggs are perfect energy boosters. Don’t skip the yolk, this is the most nutritious part!
- Water – dehydration will surely sap your energy levels. Make sure you are drinking enough pure filtered water, especially if you are drinking a lot of coffee or alcohol.
While increasing these great energy boosting foods, you need to be avoiding foods that deplete your energy.
Energy draining foods
- Refined carbs – breakfast cereal, baked goods, white bread, pasta, biscuits, pastries. These foods will give you an instant energy hit, but will bring you crashing down soon afterwards leaving you craving another instant energy fix. These foods are also low in the nutrients needed to produce energy in your cells.
- Sugar – fruit juice, fizzy drinks, fruit smoothies, hidden sugar in processed foods – for the same reasons as carbs, sugar hits are short lasting and will put you on a blood sugar rollercoaster.
- Caffeine – we all love our cup of coffee for an instant boost, but caffeine is another potential blood sugar disrupter and can keep you coming back for more. Watch out for those milky lattes too – all that milk sugar will make the energy slump even worse.
- Processed foods – ready meals and packaged foods are loaded with food additives, sugar, salt and damaging trans fats. Your digestion has to work really hard to deal with all this ‘junk’, using up lots of your energy stores, and often leaving you feeling lethargic. You will also be lacking the nutrients you need to make energy in the first place!
- Alcohol – too much alcohol will empty your tank pretty quickly. Great to get off to sleep, but watch out for that 3am wake up call as your blood sugar crashes and your liver struggles to detox the booze! Interrupted sleep will leave you exhausted the next day.
So make sure you are eating more of the energy boosting foods and less of the energy draining foods and you should be bouncing around like Tigger!
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St-Onge MP1, Ross R, Parsons WD, Jones PJ. Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obes Res. 2003 Mar;11(3):395-40
Boirie Y1, et al (1997) Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulated postprandial protein accretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 23;94(26):14930-5.
Dabas D1, Shegog RM, Ziegler GR, Lambert JD (2013). Avocado (Persea americana) seed as a source of bioactive phytochemicals. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(34):6133-40
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