Do you ever…..
- Struggle to get out of bed in the morning and not feel ready to start the day?
- Experience slumps mid morning or mid afternoon and question how you’re gonna make it through till 6pm?
- Get home and crash in front of the TV too tired to prepare an evening meal?
We lead busy lives and constant tiredness or swinging between energy highs and lows can affect our moods resulting in anxiety, irritability, depression, anger, mood swings and PMT.
Low energy and tiredness can be caused by a number of factors, but often it’s what we are consuming, or our patterns of eating that are the root cause.
Here are my top five tips for keeping energy and moods balanced throughout the day.
1. Eat foods rich in B-Vitamins & Magnesium
If you struggle to get going in the morning one of the best things you can do is give yourself a hit of B complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, folate and biotin) and magnesium. All play a vital role in converting the foods we eat into energy and are top of the list of important energy foods.
Both B-Vitamins and magnesium are found in abundance in
- Wholegrains like brown rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat (if the grains are sprouted, the nutrient value and therefore energy we receive is increased),
- Nuts and seeds like pumpkin, sesame, brazil, almonds, cashews and pine nuts, and
- Fresh leafy green vegetables.
Eating a bowl of delicious quinoa porridge with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds, or starting the day with a green smoothie can provide high levels of nutrients and a huge energy boost. Click here for a delicious Quinoa porridge recipe and here for a Berry Smoothie with greens.
2. Eat complex not simple sugars
Complex sugars are broken down slowly in the body into simple sugars. The conversion process means that energy is released gradually into the blood stream, keeping energy on an even keel. Most processed foods, fast foods, white breads, white pastas and commercial cereals are loaded with simple sugars, which rush into the bloodstream and cause a quick increase in blood sugar levels. The body then responds quickly to remove the glucose from the blood causing a crash in energy. Simple sugars are the chief disruptor of energy production within the body causing highs and lows that result in energy imbalance and mood swings.
Good sources of complex carbohydrates are wholegrains such as oats, barley, brown rice, millet, wholegrain and rye bread and most vegetables.
3. Eat protein with every meal and snack
Combing protein with the fibre found in wholegrains or vegetables slows down the digestive process and consequently the release of sugars into the blood. Enjoy good quality protein sources with each meal and snack. Good sources include fish like salmon, trout, herring and mackerel, eggs, nuts and seeds, pulses, lentils, sprouted grains and seeds, tofu and seaweeds.
4. Eat little and often
Limiting meals to three per day or eating erratically, can lead to energy highs and lows caused by unstable blood sugar levels. This leads to cravings for sugary and starchy foods, which affect blood sugar levels further, creating a viscous circle. Eating smaller meals and including two to three snacks daily will keep blood sugar and appetite levels balanced. Don’t skip meals & snacks even if you’re not hungry, including breakfast. Eating breakfast, breaks the fast your body has undergone overnight (hence the name) and kick starts the metabolism. If you’re not hungry at breakfast eat less for dinner and earlier in the evening.
5. Cut down on the energy zappers
Foods that stimulate the hormone adrenaline can zap the body of energy or hinder energy production. Drinking too many stimulants such as alcohol, tea, coffee and fizzy drinks and eating foods high in simple sugars can cause an over production of adrenaline which leads to feelings of fatigue.
Stress can also cause an over production of adrenaline and cortisol, which interfere with digestive processes and can therefore affect blood sugar levels in the same way. Want to know the best foods to include to combat stress…..ones rich in B-Vitamins and Magnesium – all of which we covered in number one! It really is that simple!