7 Natural Ways To Boost Energy (backed by research)
I don’t know about you but in today’s fast paced living with all the demands of work, family and other commitments I often need an energy boost. I know how to boost my energy, it’s just putting it into practice! So, I thought I ‘d share with you my 7 natural ways how to increase your energy and in doing so help me practice what I’m about to preach.
1. Sleep 2. Drink Water 3. Exercise 4. Eat Iron rich foods 5. Eat breakfast 6. Take time for leisure activities 7. Eat slow release carbs
For me, sleep has to one of the most important things that influence how I function in my daily live. Basically, I am pretty rubbish on less than 7 hours. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, irrationality and lack of focus. On the other getting the right amount of sleep can keep you slim and help with mental wellbeing. Experts suggest getting between 7-9 hours a night.
Stay off social media and turn off all devices (phones, tablets, laptops) two hours before bedtime.
Water, water, water! It makes up 60% of us and plays an important role in our bodily functions. Aside from improving energy levels it can also improve your skin and digestion. It’s especially important first thing in the morning. Think about it, you’ve been asleep for the last 8 hours (hopefully) and you haven’t drunk anything in that time. The reccomded daily intake is 1-2 litres per day.
As soon as I wake up drink a pint of water with a half a lemon. This kick starts the metabolism and rehydrates you.
I don’t particularly enjoy most types of exercise but I know how important it is for my health. I also used to think that all exercise involved healthy weight lifting or losing half my body weight in sweat. In fact, exercise can be pretty much anything to want it to be as long as you are moving and getting the blood flowing. Just 30 mins a day of light exercise can improve energy level and mood.
Walk or cycle to work (or part of it, if it’s too far) and go out on your lunch break. If you work from home take 30-60 mins out for a walk, jog or cycle. (this one has been so important for me)
4. Eat Iron rich foods.
You know the old saying, “you are what you eat”. Well our diet has a massive impact on how we function and our energy levels. Iron is an important make-up of our red blood cells, which help to distribute oxygen to our muscles and tissues. Iron rich food include nut, seeds and dark leafy greens.
It can be difficult to get the right amount of food in the quantities with need. However, smoothies are a great way to up your iron intake and increase energy. Blend a large handful of spinach, a scoop of avocado, half a kiwi and two handfuls of pineapple with 100ml of coconut water.
5. Eat Breakfast
Another saying goes “breakfast Is the most important meal of the day” (I’ll stop the sayings now). But the thing about sayings is that they are often based on truth. Aside from helping you start the day with more energy, studies have shown eating breakfast can lower cholesterol and help with weight control.
My partner doesn’t like to eat breakfast and I think this is the same for some people. Again, this is where smoothies can help. Blend 1 banana, 2 tablespoon of good quality peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of oats, 1 tablespoon of hemp or soy protein and 2-4 squirts of honey with 200 ml of almond milk.
6. Take time to unwind
I don’t know about you but I can fall in the trap of rushing around, obsessing about work and thinking about the future, instead of being in the present. This can lead to stress and zap my energy levels. Stress is not only associated with fatigue, but also can contribute to ageing, weakening of immune system and high blood pressure.
This is the one I struggle with the most, but when I put it into practice, for me it actually works. When you get up in the morning, don’t pick up your smart phone, but instead sit somewhere quiet and just focus on your breathing for 2-5 minutes (longer if you can and have time). Do the same at the end of the day.
7. Eat slow release carbs.
Not all carbs are created equally! Carbs can be found in all types of food, from bread and pasta to potatoes and porridge oats. However, some types of carbs can spike your blood sugar levels leading to bursts of energy and periods of an energy slump. The carbs you should be eating for sustained energy can be found in food such as sweet potatoes, porridge oats and fruit and veg.
Going back to breakfast, some people find it difficult to eat first thing. But if you can here’s a great recipe to boost energy. If you struggle to eat solids in the morning go back to the tip in no. 5 and have the power-protein. Or you could make some peanut butter and banana porridge with seeds (think flax/chia/linseed). Perfect for a natural energy boost!
Some of you may know these ways to improve your energy levels, but if you are anything like me its remembering to put them into practice. Because I am writing this article I have made a conscious decision to practice what I preach. So, I slept 8 hours last night; I woke up and did not pick up me phone and sat in silence for a few minutes; I had my usual pint of water; for breakfast I had a power-protein; in the next few hours I will be going to the gym and tonight I will try and unwind by staying off social media. This is not to say I’m the perfect model and always adhere to these practices, but at the end of the day it’s the little things we do which can make all the difference.
If you have any tips that helps you to increase your energy level, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment and I will update the 7 tips.