This subject is so important to me because I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and if you have been following my blog you will know that better health is a journey for all of us to achieve a healthier lifestyle for the rest of your life. I don't just write about what keeps you healthy - I live and practice what I preach every day!
Why you’re exhausted by 3 p.m every day.…Ever wonder why your energy level takes such a nose dive in the afternoon? Your favorite breakfast, lunch or snack foods may be to blame. Certain foods are big energy sappers. See if your favorite foods are on the list of the biggest culprits:
Foods That Drain Your Energy:
High-magnesium foods like banana, pumpkin seeds, and halibut can make you tired. This mineral is actually a muscle relaxant, so it’s great before bed but could affect your energy during the day.
If you’re choosing carbs with a high glycemic index (like white bread and white rice) instead of those with whole grains (like whole-wheat bread and brown rice), then you’re not getting the key elements that keep you feeling strong and satiated. High-glycemic carbs don’t have a lot of fiber, so they break down quickly, and you don’t get that steady stream of energy like you do with the whole grains.
The high fat content of red meat like steaks and hamburgers could leave you feeling drowsy. It takes a lot of energy to break these down, so all your body’s energy is going to be focused on digesting, so salmon is a better option. Fish with omega-3's should give you a pick-me-up since omega-3 fatty acids are proven to help with brain function and focus.
Research has shown that cherries and tart cherry juice work well as a natural sleep aid because they are high in melatonin. Cherries will actually help regulate sleep, so it’s great as an aid but may be poor as a midday snack. They’re still a great thing to nosh on, especially if you’re trying to lose weight (the pits make you slow down while you’re eating). However, you might want to save cherries for a bedtime snack.
Having high-sugar sweet treats after lunch can put you in a food coma faster than you can say "yum." The amount of sugar going into your body releases insulin, which frees up too much of the amino acid tryptophan in the brain, which will make you sleepy. You get the rush, and then you crash. Skip the after-lunch pastry, and wait to indulge until a time when it won't be a huge deal if you start dragging.
While this one seems counter-intuitive, caffeine-rich drinks like coffee and tea might be causing your tiredness. They give you a quick burst of alertness for maybe an hour or an hour and a half but eventually you tend to crash and burn when the caffeine wears off. Try to consume 200 to 300 mgs [of caffeine] per day, but drink it in small doses over a longer period of time - maybe until noon. It’ll keep you going until around 2 p.m. so you’re not wired by the time you get home at night. The best morning energy fix is having a healthy breakfast. It’s the meal that lets you literally “break the fast” you experience at nighttime, and thus it helps power you up for the day. Eat nutrients that include a mix of whole grains with fiber, lean protein, and some fruit. The combination will help give you lasting energy for the day.
Foods That Boost Your Energy:
Water is a integral part of keeping all the cells in your body hydrated and working at optimum levels. Start the day with an 8 oz glass of water as soon as you wake up. Many people are starting the day dehydrated, which leads to fatigue very early on in the day.
When eaten raw and unsalted, almonds are a good source of healthy fats and protein to balance BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS. One ounce of almonds (that's about 23) can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, quinoa is a highly nutritious grain (seed) that keeps you full and energized well into your next meal. For meal options, try warm quinoa with raisins, almonds and cinnamon as a cereal, mix it into your favorite salad for lunch or as a side dish at dinner.
Eat 1.6 ounce of chocolate per day to boost your energy. Dark chocolate energizes by providing an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Make sure it's at least 70% dark chocolate - I recommend Green and Black's Organic Dark Chocolate. Many people don't realize that chocolate is plant-derived and is good for you.
Flax seeds (or linseeds) and their oil are one of the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health as our body doesn't produce them on its own. Flax seeds improve brain function, energy production, oxygen transfer, strengthen immunity and Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight and prevent inflammation.
Salmon is high in essential omega-3 FATTY ACIDS that are needed for energy production, brain activity, and circulation as well as maintaining heart health.
Oils that are found in coconuts consists primarily of medium chain TRIGLYCERIDES, which are types of fat that is turned into energy quickly and efficiently. These oils can prevent you from feeling sluggish throughout your day.
Lentils and other legumes - like chickpeas or kidney beans - stabilize BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS and can help prevent a mid afternoon crash.
Eggs are high in iron and protein to give you sustainable energy throughout the day. Choline is a type of B-vitamin that is found in eggs that is required for brain function and energy production.
Wheat, kamut, spelt, oats or even brown rice. No matter which whole grain you go for, the complex carbohydrates, fiber, B-vitamins and iron will keep you energized until your next meal.
Citrus fruits, like lemons and limes, are rich in Vitamin C which can boost our body's IMMUNE SYSTEM.
The nice thing about blueberries is that they’re delicious, they travel well, and you can pop them like candies so they’re fun to eat. They also have a boatload of antioxidants in them so they’ll help your body battle back the free radicals which will lead to increased feelings of energy, and overall well-being.
Kale really is a SUPERFOOD. High in vitamins and minerals, kale is a great energy booster and key source of calcium.
Forget coffee and grab a tea. Ginger infused tea is filled with antioxidants and NUTRIENTS that can give you an afternoon boost.