The signs of fatigue are many. They can includepoor concentration,brain fog, andmoodiness. For many, fatigue has becomechronic — a daily sapping of energy. Feeling chronically fatigued significantly impairs productivity and quality of life in general. You may feel like no matter how many hours of sleep you get, or how many cups ofcoffee you pour each morning, you still drag most of the day.
The energy problem may have a surprising solution. Achieving real, sustained energy requires something different than caffeine. This energy comes from healthy dietary and lifestyle choices.
So, if you’re in need of a seriousenergy boost, read on to learn about what nutritionists have dubbed the “four pillars of energy” and transform your life.
4 Pillars of Energy
Believe it or not,hydration is a critical part of supporting energy levels. Hydration impacts brain function, and even mild dehydration can have a negative effect. Mild dehydration with fluid loss of 1-3% has the potential to cause a big decrease in energy and mood, and also a decrease in memory and brain function.Staying on top of hydration is an essential part of a high-energy plan, so be sure todrink water throughout the day. You don’t want to wait until you are thirsty to start hydrating, so remember to be sipping water consistently.
Having a hard time drinking enough water? Try adding a splash of unsweetened coconut water, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an added flavor boost. Better yet, infuse your water with ginger and apple slices, basil and strawberries, or mint and cucumbers. Whatever you need to do to get your water consumption up, do that! Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to remind you to drink.
While so much focus is put on themacronutrients we are putting into our bodies, micronutrients are just as important for overall health, and energy support. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are essential for energy production. The energy nutrients in food you want to focus on include the high amounts of calcium from spinach and sardines, and vitamin B12 from grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs.
You will want to make sure that you are getting enough B vitamins in your diet in particular, because B vitamins help convert the nutrients in the foods you consume into energy. You can find B vitamins in foods like organic pasture-raised eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, and wild-caught salmon.
Zinc is also important. You can find zinc in cashews, garbanzo beans, turkey and grass-fed beef. Potassium is important as well; potassium-rich foods include bananas, apricots and red and sweet potatoes with the skin. Also, make sure to consume foods high in vitamin C. Oranges, broccoli, kiwi, kumquats and lemons are abundant in micronutrients! Other micronutrient-rich foods include beetroots, hemp and chia seeds, goji berries, kale, avocados, lentils, and millet. You can also augment a healthy diet with a dailymultivitamin, sourced primarily from natural food sources, to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
#3 Keep Blood Sugar in Check
Keeping yourblood sugar levels balanced is going to be key to making sure your energy levels are stable all day. There’s nothing worse than havingblood sugar swings between meals, which can lead to sudden spikes and then plummeting energy levels, not to mention mood swings. To help keep your blood sugar levels stable, focus on eating anutrient-dense diet that’s full of whole foods. You want to get as many whole, unpackaged foods into your diet as you can. Think veggies, low-sugar fruits,nuts, seeds, legumes, wild-caught fish, eggs, and grass-fed meat. Skip the packaged and processed foods that are refined,full of sugar, and are notorious for causing whacky blood sugar levels.
In addition to diet, another great way to keep your blood sugar stable is toexercise. Exercise can help increase the sensitivity of your cells to insulin and thus help prevent blood sugar spikes. Try adding some moderate to high-intensity exercise into your fitness routine for better blood sugar control throughout the day. And, if you can manage to exercise before breakfast, it may help control blood sugar even more.
#4 Heal Your Gut
Ahealthy gut equals a healthy body. We can’t achieve optimal health without supporting the gut and doing so helps improve your energy levels. So, what’s the connection between gut health and energy level? If you suffer fromdigestive health issues, then chances are you aren’t digesting and absorbing food optimally, which can lead to lower energy levels. In addition to decreased nutrient absorption, healthy gut bacteria is needed in order to create B vitamins, which as we now know are super important for energy support. Conditions likeleaky gut, where undigested food proteins and toxins can leak into the bloodstream, can also lead to fatigue.
This gives us yet another reason to focus on ways to helpsupport digestive health and feed those healthy bacteria in the gut so they can thrive.
To help heal your gut today, here are some things you can do:
- Eliminate as much sugar and processed foods from your diet as possible.
- Enjoy bone broth regularly.
- Increase yourprobiotic-rich food intake by enjoying plenty of sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and full-fat unsweetened coconut milk yogurt.
- Supplement with a high-qualitysoil-based hearty probiotic.
- Reduce your stress.
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid NSAID (like ibuprofen or Aleve) use.
Supportinghealthy energy levels just requires a holistic approach. While many people may rely on those cups of coffee or energy drinks to get through their day, sustained, all-day energy levels really comes from your nutrient, hydration, and gut health status. You have to eat a balanced diet with plenty ofhealthy fats,clean protein, and focus on complex carbs vs. simple carbs to balance blood sugar. Getting enough gut-boosting fermented foods in your diet and fruits rich in B vitamins also plays a big part. At the end of the day, how you eat, hydrate, and take care of your body is going to impact how you feel, and this includes your overall energy levels.
So, if you find yourself hitting snooze after a solid night's sleep, or you’re dragging your feet by 2 p.m., then consider these four pillars for energy that lasts all day. Start saying no to that midday latte, increase your water intake, say yes to balanced and a high micronutrientway of eating for not just more energy, but for better gut health, and stable blood sugar. Not only will these energy pillarscombat fatigue, but they can help support overall health — one healthy food and lifestyle choice at a time.