If you find yourself feeling tired and drained during the day, it’s worth tweaking your diet to ensure that it provides you with sustained energy. Here are a few tips to help you keep your energy levels up – and avoid sugar highs and the inevitable lows…
1. Make complex carbs your friend
When it comes to carbs, try to choose ones of the fibre-rich, complex variety, like whole grains, vegetables, oats, peas and legumes. They take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates and provide a slow release of energy.
2. Ditch the sugar
Avoid eating sugar-rich foods and drinks which can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. What goes up eventually comes down, and the dreaded sugar crash can leave you feeling tired and irritable. And while you’ll want to ditch the usual suspects like chocolates and sugary drinks, remember that foods like breakfast cereals, fruit juices and flavoured yoghurts can also contain high levels of sugar.
3. Enjoy caffeine in moderation
Love your flat white in the morning? While caffeine can be a handy pick-me-up, too much of it can leave you feeling tired and worn out. Plus, if your body gets used to it, you can experience withdrawal symptoms (like headaches and anxiety) when you don’t have it. Of course, it can also disrupt your sleep, so try to have your last caffeinated drink about six hours before bedtime. And remember that caffeine is also present in regular and green teas, so watch your intake of these beverages too.
4. Eat magnesium-rich foods
According to University Health News, ''Magnesium is required to form and store the energy molecule ATP. Magnesium deficiency impairs the energy production pathway required by mitochondria to generate ATP.'' So, if your energy levels are low, try to include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet – Dr Axe provides a handy Top 10 list:
5. Eat a varied and healthy diet
For that extra boost, it’s best to have a variety of healthy foods in your diet. According to Medical News Today, some of the best foods for energy include goji berries, dark berries, strawberries, fatty fish, eggs, beef liver, dark leafy greens, oats, popcorn, brown rice, lentils, nuts and seeds, and quinoa.
Three energy-boosting lifestyle tips
In addition to eating for energy, there are also simple lifestyle strategies you can implement to help boost your energy levels. These include:
Getting enough sleep
Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling tired, cranky and moody, and can even affect your memory and concentration. To give yourself the best chance of waking up with a spring in your step, try to get around seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Getting enough exercise
It should come as no surprise that physical activity helps to boost energy levels. According to Mayo Clinic, ''Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.''
Managing your stress levels
Stress can leave you feeling emotionally and physically drained, but fortunately there are some things you can do to help you manage it. Try daily breathing exercises, take a yoga or meditation class, and spend time with family and friends.