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Simple nutritional steps to keep your energy levels up
Keeping up with the kids can leave the very best of us exhausted and stressed. But worry not, with these simple nutritional steps your energy levels will be tip top.
Avoid the see-saw effect
Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is probably the most important factor in maintaining concentration and energy levels throughout the day. For sustained energy, focus on slow-releasing carbohydrates, balanced with a serving of protein or healthy fats. So instead of refined, sugary foods, such as white bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes, switch to wholegrains like oats, brown rice, vegetables and fruits and add some good quality protein, such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and soy. Avoid sugar and stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola and alcohol, which may give you an instant lift but will result in an energy crash later. Try
herbal teas instead, such as green tea.
Up your energy nutrients
For food to be converted into actual energy, your body needs a whole range of nutrients. B vitamins are crucial for energy production and many people’s diet can fall short of these vital
vitamins. A vitamin B complex is a simple way to ensure adequate supply. If you’re suffering with energy dips or craving sugary foods, chromium may be useful. Chromium helps control blood sugar by stimulating insulin activity and is involved in the burning of glucose for energy.
Low iron can also contribute to fatigue, as can low levels of B12 and folate, since these nutrients are all involved in the production of haemoglobin and the oxygenation of red blood cells. Make
sure your diet includes plenty of lean meat, poultry, leafy green vegetables, eggs, prunes and wholegrains, and contains plenty of vitamin C, which can aid absorption of iron.
Get the snacks in
Erratic eating and skipping meals can cause our blood sugar levels to crash, resulting in low energy and fatigue. Keep them balanced through the day by including a mid-morning and
mid-afternoon snack. Include some protein and healthy fat such as nuts and seeds, or try a delicious pumpkin seed or walnut butter spread on a couple of oatcakes or rye crackers.
If you’re low in energy because of stress, it’s time to give some support to your adrenals. These glands are responsible for producing the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, but faced with ongoing stress, levels can fall, resulting in fatigue. If this sounds familiar, adaptogen herbs like rhodiola may be useful. Taking steps to relax and unwind is also important. Theanine, passion flower, taurine and magnesium have all been shown to maintain a sense of calm in the body.
Whatever you do, we hope your energy levels are able to keep up with you and your little ones!