Foods to help boost energy and reduce stress
Whether working at home, managing a busy household or studying hard, the greater demands on your mind and body can make it difficult to keep your energy up and help your body fight fatigue.
Your diet will have a huge effect on how you feel so here Dr Katherine Hodgkinson highlights the best nutrients and foods and easy lifestyle tips for boosting your energy and reducing stress.
Best nutrients for boosting energy and reducing stress
An unhealthy diet and stress can lower levels of key nutrients which further contribute to fatigue, so make sure you’re getting the following nutrients and foods to help boost your energy:
Vitamin C - citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, berries
Selenium - seeds, such as flaxseeds, and Brazil nuts
Magnesium - avocados, nuts, kidney beans, seeds, wholegrains
B Vitamins - leafy greens including spinach and kale, wholegrains, nuts and fortified cereals
Vitamin D - most Vitamin D is sourced from natural sunlight, but food sources include mushrooms, egg yolks and oily fish
Iron - spinach, legumes such as kidney beans, broccoli
Zinc - pumpkin seeds, oats, and lentils
Chromium - broccoli, potatoes, green beans, wholegrains
If you're not getting these essential nutrients in your diet to support your body, you should consider supplementing with vitamins or a Daily Multi-Vitamin to help you be at your at your peak every day. You won't be alone - more than 2/3rds of adults take vitamins and half take a Daily Multi.
Eat a balanced diet
Ensure it contains these foods to help keep your blood sugars stable and give you sustained energy:
- Healthy carbohydrates: veggies, wholegrains, whole fruits, beans and lentils and nuts.
- Healthy protein: lentils, chickpeas and nuts (or grass-fed meat or wild fish if you are not plant-based).
- Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocados and oily fish. Healthy fats also help the body to absorb certain vitamins.
Eat regularly and don’t skip meals
Blood sugar levels can drop if you are going too long between meals which can cause a slump in energy and increase stress.
Just 2% dehydration can affect energy levels and sleep, so keeping well hydrated is vital (and we don’t mean alcohol!)
Press pause on caffeine and alcohol
Although both can initially create a feeling of alertness, a drop in energy often follows as a result of dehydration, and low blood sugar after consuming alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can result in poor sleep quality, anxiety, low mood and feelings of stress.
Cut down on unhealthy food
It’s obvious but processed foods such as unhealthy snacks and ready meals are often low in fibre and high in sugar, causing significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels which results in low energy. Unhealthy foods can contribute to poor sleep, affect your mood and lead to feelings of stress.
Your lifestyle can make a huge difference to how you feel. It may feel like it's stating the obvious but...
- Keep active and sleep: Essential for energy levels, so make sure you are doing regular exercise and getting enough zzzzz time!
- Get outside: not only is time-out important, you will also help to boost your Vitamin D levels from natural light, helping boost your energy.
- Relax!: factoring in regular me-time from a busy life is important to help reduce stress and give you some breathing space.
By Dr. Katherine Hodgkinson, Hampshire Health & Hormones
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