It’s Autumn, the nights are drawing in, Summer feels a million miles away as the weather turns grey and wet (although our UK Summer has sadly been a lot like this!). Here are some top nutrient fuelled tips to help boost our much needed Autumn energy levels and beat the dreaded 4pm slump:
- Never skip breakfast or lunch – skipping meals means your blood sugar levels will remain low throughout the day and continue to drop leaving you not only tired, but also unable to concentrate, irritable and hungry. Before too long, you’ll start craving sweet foods – this is simply your brain’s way (the brain can only use glucose as energy) of letting you know that your blood sugar levels need topping up.
- Too many carbs can make you sleepy! Carbs increase the production of serotonin, which helps to improve our mood but can make us want to sleep. Only use complex, low GI carbs for breakfast and lunch (pulses, brown rice, squash, quinoa) not refined carbs like white bread or pasta. Eat more protein & good fats at breakfast and lunch to help give you a drip feed of energy through the afternoon.
- Eat more micronutrients! Vitamin C, B vitamins, iron and magnesium are all essential micronutrients for energy production. Fresh green smoothies and vegetable juices can really help giving your body a flood of micronutrients – the ‘spark plugs’ for energy production. Add your favourite superfood powders too for an extra boost.
- Avoid caffeine and sugary foods to perk you up. A bar of chocolate and even a can of Diet Coke (the caffeine content doesn’t help here and the aspartame it contains is 180x sweeter than sugar and can increase sweet cravings) will rapidly boost blood sugar levels to give you a quick energy boost but the effects will be short lived. Your blood sugar levels will drop just as rapidly, leaving you right back where you started.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day. Being even slightly dehydrated will make you tired and listless with poor concentration. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty before drinking either – by the time thirst kicks in you are already dehydrated. The key is to keep drinking regularly throughout the day. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water daily– drink a small glass every half an hour rather than downing a pint at a time.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal at lunchtime. Your body will have to put all of its energy into digesting it. If all this fails and you find yourself experiencing an afternoon dive in energy, then an energising snack to top up blood sugar levels will help eg. oatcakes with nut butter or a dip like hummus or babaganoush, a hard boiled egg, an apple, pear, orange, a pot of natural or soya (Sojade and Provamel are brands I prefer) yogurt, handful of nuts, handful of trail mix.
Words By Karen Newby BSc Nutritional Medicine. Karen Newby is a nutritional therapist and founder of Alchemy Organic Super Blends: www.alchemysuperblends.com
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