The best way to keep your energy levels high is to follow a healthy, balanced diet. Many people today genuinely struggle to find the energy to do their jobs, or to make it home at the end of the day without falling asleep at the wheel. As for being productive on weekends or evenings? Forget about it.
Chronic fatigue and low energy levels can be devastating, and coffee only goes so far in fighting back against this condition. As it turns out, though, your diet plays a major role in how energised you are during the day.
Here are five ways you can tweak your nutritional habits to boost your energy levels going forward.
KEEP YOUR DAY’S EATING WITHIN AN 8-HOUR WINDOW
You might have noticed that everyone’s going on about intermittent fasting these days. The hype has come from research showing that intermittent fasting can be an effective eating approach for weight loss.
Other benefits to intermittent fasting pointed out by Dr Jason Fung, author of The Complete Guide to Fasting, include that fasting can help normalise insulin sensitivity and even reverse type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is one factor in what’s called “metabolic syndrome”, a cluster of conditions linked to diabetes, and closely associated with chronic fatigue.
Try seeing if this approach works for you by keeping your daily eating to an 8-hour window and see if you might notice your energy levels improving.
STOP EATING BY THE EARLY EVENING
Dr Rhonda Patrick has attracted attention for arguing the benefits of having an early supper. With that advice, she’s drawing on the work of Dr Satchidananda Panda, a researcher who has found that meal timing plays a significant role in regulating the circadian rhythm.
Try finishing your last meal by early evening rather than snacking until bedtime. This might help you improve your sleep at night, in addition to making you feel more energised during the day.
EAT PLENTY OF WHOLE CARBS DURING THE DAY
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy used by our bodies. Their reputation has shifted over time, with arguments being made as to whether or not they are good for you. However, recent evidence has suggested that a diet rich in unrefined, whole carbs, contributes to improved health and energy levels.
The brain, for example, is known to require glucose and — under normal circumstances — uses around 20% of all the glucose in the body. Try to get a decent portion of whole carbs with each meal, including things like brown rice.
EAT PLENTY OF FRUIT (BUT AVOID REFINED SUGARS)
Fruit is known for its many health benefits. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, and it contains simple sugars that can help to give you a boost during the day. Importantly, though, those sugars are balanced by fibre, which prevents a sudden spike and crash.
Other research has also found that eating more fruit and vegetables boosts well-being, life satisfaction, and happiness. Just avoid refined sugars, as they’ve been linked with low energy levels, depression, and other health problems. Keep a few apples or pears at your desk and snack as needed during the day.
GO HEAVY ON THE SALAD AND CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
Your body needs a good range of vitamins and minerals in order to perform optimally, and for your energy levels to remain high. When it comes to nutrient-dense food, it doesn’t get much better than leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
Try to have at least a couple of helpings of salad a day, and add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for extra flavour and energy.