We have all had times when we feel like we are physically and emotionally pulled. The good news is that there are many ways to regenerate healthily in order to cope with your daily chores.
“There are a number of ways we can increase our energy levels, including focusing on the right combination of foods and the timing of meals and snacks,” said Elizabeth DeRobertis, registered nutritionist, director of the Nutrition Center at Scarsdale Medical Group. Hospital on the White Plains.
To feel good about yourself, it is also important to avoid energy saboteurs. For example, lack of sleep and increased stress can steal energy, according to Yasi Ansari, registered nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
1. Eat every 3 to 4 hours
“People feel more energetic when they eat about every three hours during the day,” said DeRobertis, who also developed the GPS Weight Loss Program, an online self-determined weight loss program. According to DeRobertis, there can be an energy dip if you go too long without food, for example if you tend to skip breakfast or lunch.
“I’ve generally recommended that the average person eat every three to four hours,” added Ansari. “That’s what you typically see when hunger begins to show up.”
How often you should eat naturally varies from person to person.
“It’s important to listen to your own feelings of hunger and fullness in order to find the right way to distribute your food,” DeRobertis said.
If you are very active you may get hungry more often. “Someone who does more physical activity or is constantly on the move may need to eat more frequently, for example every two to three hours,” said Ansari.
2. Combine protein with meals
Consuming a healthy source of protein with meals keeps people up longer because it takes our bodies longer to break down proteins, DeRobertis said.
“I often ask my patients if they feel full and have more energy after a higher-carb breakfast or a higher-protein breakfast,” she said. “The higher-carb breakfast is often something like cereal or a bagel, and the higher-protein breakfast often contains eggs. Most of the time they say that they feel better after breakfast than after the higher-carb breakfast because (the eggs) last longer and they feel more stable. ”
The addition of protein also adds different flavors and textures to the energy boost. “Think of an apple with peanut butter or yogurt with fresh berries,” said Melissa Majumdar, a registered Atlanta-based nutritionist and certified specialist in obesity and weight management.
3. Eat high-fiber carbohydrates
“High-fiber foods like fruits and whole grains provide energy from carbohydrates, which are the fastest source of energy for your body. The fiber slows the flow of energy like a dam, instead of simple carbohydrates that flood the body with sugar,” said Majumdar, who also is metabolic and bariatric coordinator at Emory University Hospital Midtown. “In other words, high-carb, high-fiber foods provide long-lasting energy.”
Eating too many refined carbohydrates in one session with no fiber or protein to slow blood sugar spikes can contribute to reactive hypoglycemia, in which our blood sugar skyrockets and crashes, and this can cause a loss of energy, according to DeRobertis.
Oatmeal with berries and an ounce of nuts or a whole grain English muffin with 2 tablespoons of almond butter are good examples of high-fiber carbohydrates, Ansari said.
4. Choose nutritious snacks
Another way to get more energy throughout the day is to choose nutrient-rich foods instead of those with empty calories. “If we had two snacks to choose from and they both had the same number of calories, but one had more protein and more fiber, there is a good chance that (the high-protein and high-fiber snack) would give us more energy and last longer than the snack, that isn’t that nutritious, “DeRobertis said.
Think of a 100-calorie serving of pretzels versus a 100-calorie serving of nuts, Greek yogurt, or fruit. “The nuts, fruits and yogurt each have so much more to offer in terms of nutrient density that they give you more energy than low-calorie snacks like pretzels or chips or cookies,” she said.
5. Stay hydrated
“Insufficient fluids can cause the heart to work harder to support blood flow, and this can lead to fatigue,” said Ansari. Inadequate hydration can also affect metabolism and the supply of nutrients throughout the body, and this can prevent us from feeling good and energetic, she said.
“If we’re even a little dehydrated, it can lower our energy levels,” added DeRobertis. To see if you are well hydrated, check the color of your urine. You should have to urinate every few hours during the day, and the urine should be clear in color, according to DeRobertis.
6. Get enough sleep
Sufficient sleep and a good quality of sleep are crucial for the energy level, according to experts. Interestingly, there are some studies that show that inadequate sleep can increase insulin resistance. While the mechanism requires more research, the outcome of too little sleep can affect glucose metabolism and decrease energy throughout the day, causing us to eat more to help maintain energy levels, according to Ansari. While adequate sleep is typically considered to be seven to nine hours for the average person, competitive athletes, including teenage athletes participating in heavy training, and those who are very active, Ansari says they might need an additional two hours of sleep to aid recovery .
7. Avoid caffeine for energy
Caffeine can help increase mental performance in the short term and create a burst of energy, but it can decrease energy afterwards. “Aim for a moderate amount of 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is the equivalent of about two cups of brewed coffee,” said Ansari.
“There is nothing wrong with starting the day with some caffeine as ‘get me up,’ but if you find yourself relying on multiple cups of coffee spread throughout the day to keep your energy levels up, you should take a look at how you divide up your food intake and fluid balance, “added DeRobertis.
8. Increase your exercise
According to DeRobertis, more exercise can actually increase your energy levels. The increase in energy occurs for several reasons: On the one hand, you produce more feel-good hormones, so-called endorphins; You also increase the pumping volume of your heart, which strengthens the circulation. “Your cells become more sensitive to your insulin, so your blood sugar becomes more stable,” said DeRobertis.
9. Less stressful
Too much stress can steal your energy. It can also contribute to poor quality sleep, which can make you tired, irritable, and exacerbate stress. Aiming for at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night can help lower cortisol and stress levels. Finding a hobby that you enjoy and listening to music can also help reduce stress levels. There are many other ways to relieve stress – the key is figuring out which strategy works best for you.
10. Get involved in self-care
Energy comes from two sources: physical energy and emotional or psychological energy. Before you move on to the afternoon cookie, determine if you need a physical or emotional boost.
“If you’ve just finished a tough meeting or ground the kids, the food isn’t going to provide the boost of energy you need, but the self-care might be,” Majumdar said.
“Choosing an activity that will reset negative energy can help meet those energy needs. Think about a short walk in the fresh air, some deep breathing exercises, or a quick dance session.”