# SLEEP … Most people at various times in their life suffer from poor sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential to help re-charge your batteries and to help repair and rejuvenate your body. For those who suffer from insomnia, that feeling of tiredness and low energy can seem never ending. So to help achieve a good, quality night’s sleep, avoid stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, particularly at night. Good sleep hygiene practises are also important. These include ensuring your room is dark, and removing electrical appliances such as clocks away from your bedside. Dim the lights and turn off the television in the lead up to bedtime. Replace the television with some meditation or deep breathing, or read a book. You could take a bath before bed and add a little lavender oil or place a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Try a cup of chamomile tea just before bed. Use 2 teabags and just a little water, so it is extra strong. Too much water before bed can cause you to wake during the night to use the toilet. If your insomnia is ongoing, consider seeing a Naturopath to help resolve it.
# BREAKFAST … You’ve had a good night’s sleep thanks to the tips above, but you are running late and skip breakfast. It is called breakfast because it is literally “breaking the fast” of the previous night. It has been around 10 – 12 hours since you have eaten, so it is important to re-fuel your body. But don’t head for the processed breakfast cereals, because they will leave your sugar levels plummeting by mid morning, which will lead to an energy crash. Try gluten free toast spread with avocado and topped with an egg, or a bowl of porridge sprinkled with nuts and seeds such as macadamias, walnuts, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds. These types of breakfasts will give you sustained energy.
# EAT PROTEIN WITH EACH MEAL … Protein and quality fats give you sustained energy that will last until you next eat. So always include some quality protein such as lean red meat, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds with each meal.
# DON’T SKIP MEALS … Skipping meals invariably leads to a plummet in blood sugar levels, which will leave you feeling completely drained of energy. If you have a busy lifestyle and feel that you often don’t have the time for meals, at least carry a bag of organic, raw nuts and seeds and some fruit to snack on. If eating fruit as a snack, always include some nuts and seeds as well to help stabilise your blood sugar levels.
# ELIMINATE REFINED CARBOHYDRATES … The refined carbohydrates like bread, biscuits, cakes, fruit juices, soft drinks and sugar do not give you long term, sustained energy. They will give you an energy boost that will be short lived, leaving you feeling tired and hungry. So for sustained energy, go for the complex carbohydrates like fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
# INCREASE YOUR B VITAMIN FOODS … The B vitamins are essential in order for our body to produce energy, so if you are suffering from low energy, increase Vitamin B foods such as red meat, mushrooms, legumes, asparagus, almonds, broccoli, green vegetables, avocado, eggs, sunflower seeds and whole grains. If your diet isn’t optimal, a vitamin B supplement taken at breakfast or lunch can help.
# INCREASE YOUR MAGNESIUM FOODS … Like the B vitamins, Magnesium is also essential to the body for energy production. Magnesium is found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs, barley, soy beans, whole grains and kelp. Magnesium supplements can also help with improving energy.
# EXERCISE … Although it might sound counter- productive to exercise when you are feeling low in energy, exercise can actually help increase your energy levels and promote a greater sense of wellbeing by releasing those feel good chemicals – endorphins.
# RELAX … Being in a continual state of high stress is very energy draining. Finding time each day to relax is a great way of beating those energy blues. Whether its meditation, deep breathing exercises, reading a book, catching up with friends or listening to some great music, find the time each and every day to de-stress yourself.
By Andrea Southern, Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist at Stafford and The Gap in Brisbane. For an appointment phone 0412 791 705