Endless cups of coffee. Downing Redbull or any other drink touted as the answer to your energy needs. Whether you’re on a deadline or inspired to create, we are all searching for a way to have more energy. The key is to create sustainable energy and not tax your adrenals to the point of exhaustion.
Energy has a several components that all need to be address to create sustainable, balanced energy.
The Hanger is Real
Having a rollercoaster of blood sugar ups and downs give you false energy followed by a crazy crash. Making sure your blood sugar is stable throughout the day will keep your energy levels up and avoid that irritability (trust me your colleagues and loved ones will thank you).
- Stay away from refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Make sure to eat some protein with every meal. Fats and protein slow the absorption of simple sugars so you get a steady rise in blood sugar
Cut the Crap
Cutting out the junk from your diet is a no brainer but did you know that you could be eating things that are “healthy” in general but actually really bad for you? Often times people are eating foods that cause inflammation in their body and make you feel run down and tired. It’s not only about what we add in but sometimes about what we take out of the diet. Dairy, eggs, and wheat cause inflammation for many people so consider limiting or eliminating these from your diet for a few weeks and see how you feel.
Add Energizing Foods
Incorporating healthy sources of energy boosting compounds like B vitamins, theobromine and anti-oxidants help you balance your energy and mood to boost your creativity.
- Green leafy vegetables are a great source of energizing B vitamins
- Cacao nibs are full of theobromine, which gives a natural energy boost similar to caffeine but not quite as harsh
- Dark purple and blue berries are anti-oxidant rich and in moderation are a great source of natural sugar
Feed your Adrenals
Your adrenals are little glands that sit on top of your kidneys and basically keep you alive. Really, you’d be dead without these little guys. They regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and produce countless hormones including epinephrine (AKA adrenaline) and cortisol, among other things.
If you have trouble waking up in the morning, have a dip of energy in the middle of the day and/or feel “wired” at night you need to start nourishing your adrenals.
- Proper sleep: 8-9 hours a night is best (we’ll have a whole article on this!)
- Adaptogens: There’s a class of herbs called adaptogens that help your body handle stress and improve energy. They are basically food for your adrenals. Try herbs like rhodiola, schizandra, holy basil and Siberian ginseng
Move Early and Often
Regular exercise is important to increase energy levels.
- Move Early: Exercising in the morning on an empty stomach will increase growth hormone and energy
- Move Often: Set an alarm on your phone to stand up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. This will get your blood flowing, especially to your brain!
Written by Dr. Kelly Bender, a naturopathic medical doctor with practices in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
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