July 3, 2017 | The Retiree
How to boost your energy levels naturally this winter
Energy levels can fluctuate at the best of times, even before considering the colder months and the toll they take on us. As we age it becomes increasingly important to make smart health and lifestyle choices to maintain both our wellbeing and energy levels, particularly when the winter months come around. Here are a few things to look out for to keep you fighting fit during winter!
What can hinder?
- A loss of z’s
We are all familiar with the effects of a night or two without sleep! Sleep allows us to recharge, reset, renew and rejuvenate for the next day. Everyone should aim for 6-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Hands off the phone! Blue light can interrupt our natural circadian rhythm, so be sure to put the phone away at least 30 minutes before bed.
- A lot of stress
Prolonged stress has numerous deleterious effects on the body, causing deficiencies in magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc. Stress can also impact hormones and increase inflammation. All of these factors can lead to lowered energy levels.
- A lack of nutrients
Different nutrients and vitamins are required for energy production, or more specifically for the conversion of food to ATP (the form of energy our cells use). For this, we require the B vitamins, Ubiquinol (CoQ10) and ribose. Green leafy vegetables are great sources of these!
What can help?
- Starting the day right
Begin the day with a breakfast full of satiating protein and good fats, which provide energy released slowly and consistently. Steer away from sweet breakfasts that lead to a sugar-related slump later in the day.
- Plus the rest of your diet
Eating a healthy whole foods diet, including colourful vegetables, a palm-sized portion of protein and good fats in each meal, will fuel your body with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need.
Limit packaged food full of sugar, preservatives and flavourings – your body will thank you for it.
- Enjoying caffeine intelligently – keep with 1 or 2 coffees a day and don’t have them after 2pm.
- Water, water, water! Aim for 2L a day to prevent feelings of thirst – a sign of dehydration.
Managing your stress
Some stress is inevitable in our lives, however you can stop it from zapping all your energy. A few stress-busting options include:
- Taking some time out for you with mindfulness, meditation or massage (even if it’s only 5 minutes).
- Withania, siberian ginseng and rhodiola are all adaptogenic herbs. They help to balance the body and its reaction to stress.
- Get moving! Try gentle exercise such as yoga, Pilates and tai chi as rigorous exercise may increase stress within the body.
Support your adrenal health
The adrenal glands produce hormones that help the body regulate energy production, amongst many other processes.
When your adrenals are working harder in times of physical activity, mental or emotional stress or when you’re battling an illness, they burn through more magnesium and vitamin C than usual. In these times of extra demand, you may need and benefit from taking more of these nutrients.