3 Ways The Food You Eat Can Help You Boost Energy
Do you often feel exhausted even though you had a good night’s sleep? Struggle to find energy to focus fully on your job, play with the kids or get everything done you want in a day?
And, because you’re tired all the time, do you find yourself feeling irritable and unmotivated?
Trust me, you’re not alone.
These days, chronic tiredness and poor moods have become so common, that we’ve started accepting them as normal. We live such busy lives and so many people around us feel tired all the time that it must be normal if we do too, right?
The truth is, it’s not.
Sure, if you regularly sleep less than 7-8 hours or are waking up a lot during the night, you’re probably not going to wake up rested. Or, if you have certain medical conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism or an autoimmune disease, these can contribute to your tiredness too.
But, there’s one other factor that massively affects your energy levels and that is, for most of us, the number one cause of chronic tiredness - and that’s your diet.
The food you eat (or don’t eat) every day, drinks you consume (or don’t) and the eating habits you cultivate.
Yes, the food can make you tired and cranky - or it can help you feel energetic and on top of your game every single day!
So why exactly is food so powerful? Here are 3 proven, science-based ways in which balanced nutrition can help you beat tiredness and get your energy back:
(1) It Supports Your Gut Health & Optimal Nutrient Absorption
Gut health has received a huge amount of research attention in recent years and we now know that what’s happening in our intestines has an enormous impact on everything from our digestion to our immune system, sleep, our moods and yes, also our energy levels.
In your gut there are billions and billions of different bacteria, some of which support your health (we’ll call them the ‘good bacteria’) while others don’t (the ‘bad' ones).
One of the things that the ‘good bacteria’ do is to help absorb nutrients from the food that you eat, including those that are absolutely essential for your energy, for example B vitamins, iron and magnesium.
The ‘bad bacteria’ - you guessed it - have the opposite effect and if they overgrow, the absorption of these energy-driving nutrients is compromised too. And of course, if you can’t absorb these nutrients well, then greater tiredness is likely to follow.
That’s why making sure that this doesn’t happen and that your gut balance is always in favour of the ‘good bacteria’, is key for maintaining good energy.
Now, one of the reasons why your eating habits matter so much here, is that the food you eat can either make or break this balance.
For example, if you tend to eat a fair amount of processed foods, this can very quickly lead to an overgrowth of the ‘bad bacteria’ and a poorer nutrient absorption. That’s because these unhelpful bugs tend to feed on simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats that processed foods are full of. Pizza, pasta, bread, muffins, cakes - you name it, the ‘bad bugs’ love them all!
The ‘good bacteria’, on the other hand, thrive on a particular type of fibre (prebiotic fibre) that’s found in certain unrefined foods, like flax-seed, oats and several others. So, if your daily meals are based on whole foods, with little or no processed products and plenty of this kind of fibre, this will help your good bugs stay alive and grow and support your energy levels in the process.
To do a quick check-in on your gut health and get a sense of whether your gut might be out of balanced too, take our free, 2-min Gut Health Quiz and find out.
(2) It Helps To Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable & Prevent Energy Slumps
Here’s what you need to know: If you want to improve your energy, you simply must stabilise your blood sugar. Without that, getting to a place where you feel energetic every day and you don’t experience energy slumps, is pretty much impossible.
Blood sugar is essentially the level of glucose in your blood and our bodies all have a blood sugar range that is considered to be normal and that they work hard to maintain.
This is how it all works:
When you eat, glucose from your food gets released into your blood stream which causes a rise in your blood sugar. From there, insulin pushes this glucose into your body cells where it can be converted into energy and, in this process, also lowers your blood sugar level. If your cells already have enough energy, excess glucose gets stored in your body as fat.
If you eat regularly and your meals are balanced, this rise and fall of the blood sugar happens within the normal range. That’s also when your energy remains high most of the time, when your mood feels settled and when you don’t tend to experience extreme hunger or sugar cravings.
But, when your diet is imbalanced and your meals are, for example, too high in processed foods or sugar, your body struggles to maintain your blood sugar within the normal range. This means that it can bounce around like a ping-pong ball and this can then lead to very short surges of energy, followed by a longer period of extreme tiredness, irritability and sugar cravings.
Of course, if you maintain this type of diet for a long time, your blood sugar can’t get off this roller-coaster, and soon fatigue and poor moods are no longer just a one-off inconvenience, but a regular occurrence in your life.
(3) It Provides You With Energy-Generating Nutrients
The food you eat every day provides you with several nutrients that have an enormous effect on your energy and moods, including B vitamins, magnesium, Omega 3, vitamin D, zinc, iron and potassium.
B vitamins, magnesium and zinc, for example, work together in your body to turn the food you consume into energy. If you don’t get enough of these nutrients from food or supplements, then your body simply cannot produce as much energy as you need, leaving you more tired than you would normally be.
On the other hand, Vitamin D or the "sunshine vitamin" is very important for good moods, as it encourages the production and release of serotonin in your brain, which is one of the so-called “happy hormones”. So, not enough vitamin D means less serotonin, and with that poorer moods.
And then there’s iron, which helps transport oxygen from your lungs to other organs and tissues, thereby affecting how well they function. If you don’t have enough iron in your system, your organs will have less oxygen and they will have to work harder to do their job, making you more tired.
Potassium also plays a role in your energy levels and Omega 3 affects your mood, both via their own unique mechanism.
If your daily nutrition is well-balanced and sufficiently diverse, then the food you eat should provide you with all of these nutrients and you’re off to the races!. However, if your diet is not so great, then this can very quickly result in a lack of one or more of these nutrients and the more of these your body is lacking, the worse your symptoms of low energy and poor moods will be.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that stress, coffee, alcohol, lack of sleep and smoking further speed up the rate at which your body uses some of these energy-generating nutrients. So, if any of these factors are a regular part of your life, it’s even more important that you fill these gaps with the right kind of nutrition to get your energy back and feel good every day.
If you suspect that you might be low in some of these nutrients too, download our free nutrient check list below, and get an initial sense of where your challenges might be.
So, these are just three ways in which a balanced nutrition can help you permanently increase energy and why having the right kinds of foods in each meal is essential to feel vitalised and on top of your game.
The good news is that achieving this is simpler than you may think and often just a few tweaks to your daily nutrition can make a massive difference to how you feel every day.
We’ll be sharing more tips on this topic and updates on our online program where we show you exactly how to optimise your nutrition step-by-step to improve your energy very soon. If you are keen to learn how to transform your well-being through the power of food as well, sign up for our mailing list below and we'll make sure that you get all of this awesome content in your inbox too!