Updated 20th May 2018
At some point, we’ve all felt as though we’re running on empty with low energy levels, especially after a hectic week at work or a few late nights. For others, low energy can be a persistent and ongoing issue. If you feel abnormally tired, you’re not alone.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1 in 5 people feel unusually tired and 1 in 10 have prolonged fatigue. In general, women tend to feel more tired than men and, whilst tiredness can be a problem at any age, it is less common in the very young and old.
The impact of poor energy levels can be detrimental to our health and could also indicate an underlying issue, so it’s always best to get checked out by your GP as a first port of call.
Here are 5 simple ways to find naturally balanced energy through your diet:
1) Cut Out Quick ‘Energy’ Fixes – Cut out caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugary drinks and sugary snacks. Ironically, these are often the first things people reach for when they’re flagging, yet in reality they are probably the worst choice you can make. These ‘quick fixes’ will give a short-lived energy boost followed by a fairly dramatic energy crash leaving you feeling worse than when you started. Instead, choose foods made up from complex ingredients such as wholegrains, high quality proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
2) Think Magnesium – Low energy is a classic sign of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is found in every cell type in every organism and is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body. However, the Western diet is typically low in this vital mineral. Try to consume more magnesium rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocado and wholegrains. It may be difficult to get sufficient magnesium from your diet alone, so magnesium supplements in a glycine form are worth considering for optimal absorption.
3) Feed Your Mitochondria – Energy happens as a result of a series of chemical reactions in the body; food is broken down into its component parts and these are combusted with oxygen to make a unit of cellular energy called ATP. This process happens inside the energy-making powerhouse, the mitochondria, in every single cell and there are nutrient co-factors required at every single step. These include B Vitamins, Co Enzyme Q 10, N-Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Malic Acid, Magnesium, Taurine and Lipoic Acid.
4) Boost Your Intake of Antioxidants – Antioxidants help to protect the mitochondria from free radical damage and can help to maintain its optimal function. Key antioxidant nutrients include vitamins C & E, Glutathione, Alpha Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Co-Enzyme Q 10 and polyphenols from grapeseed extract. To boost your intake of antioxidants, choose a diet rich in organic, brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables to boost your daily intake.
5) Support Your Stress System – Low energy is one of the first signs of stress overload. The body struggles to meet the nutrient demands of the stress response, compromising energy production as a result. To keep your stress system in balance, think B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium.