More often than ever before we hear women complain of feeling tired. Busy lifestyles seem to validate this ‘low-energy epidemic’. However, just because you are leading a busy life and your girlfriends feel this way too it doesn’t mean you should accept fatigue as a normal state.
The fact is that once you understand the nature of you’re your tiredness simple diet and lifestyle interventions can help a great deal to address it.
Sometimes there is a legitimate medical reason causing lack of energy. Therefore it is advisable to test for most common possible causes: hypothyroidism, anaemia, diabetes or coeliac disease.
Other possible causes of fatigue include:
· High consumption of alcohol, coffee, sugar
Consumption of these three substances should be limited as they have a very significant impact on the quality of our sleep; alcohol and coffee can cause dehydration; and sugar not only causes spikes and rapid slumps in insulin levels, exhausting our liver and pancreas, but it also is a big factor contributing to inflammation in our bodies.
· Chronic inflammation
Acute inflammation is a desired body response to an injury as it alarms us that something is wrong and it aids healing. On the other hand, a constant state of low grade inflammation can cause chronic fatigue syndrome. A good place to start with addressing inflammation is your gut. In simple terms, leaky gut allows for food traces to get through its walls and this sets of inflammatory response in the body. Healing your gut is effective with elimination diet where for a period of time you remove foods that irritate the intestines. Those with an autoimmune condition will benefit from completely removing gluten and cow diary from their diets.
· Insufficient intake of good quality water
To stay energetic one must ensure regular and sufficient hydration. The quality and the type of hydration are of a great importance. Water is the best source of hydration and we should choose filtered water and try not to drink water from plastic bottles. Be aware that plastic free from BPA may be just as harmful it’s just that not enough specific research has yet been ran on other components of plastic. A good idea is to store filtered water in a copper vessel overnight. Copper is known for aiding digestive system, regulating the thyroid glad, it is antibacterial, it stimulates your brain and helps to regulate cardiovascular health.
· Unstable / fluctuating blood sugar levels
Low blood sugar level makes us feeling tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. In this state our body releases stress hormones that will generate very powerful sugar cravings. Once we have a high sugar fix insulin kicks in sending glucose to liver and fat cells. Next, blood sugar drops to a low level and the whole cycle starts again. This can be very exhausting for our bodies which is why eating a diet that ensures a stable blood sugar levels throughout the day is of a great significance.
· Suboptimal intake of macro and micronutrients required for generating energy
You are what you eat and you are what you eat ate. Our diet must consist of an adequate amount of healthy fats, high quality protein and carbohydrate. Organic and locally produced is always the best choice. Preparing your meals choose the cooking process that preserves the most of its nutritional value i.e. steaming rather than boiling vegetables. Both magnesium and vitamins B play a huge role in managing our energy and supporting the nervous system. My preferred sources of magnesium include: organically grown leafy greens, broccoli, nuts and seeds, wild caught fatty fish, good quality organic meat and cacao. As for my favourite vitamin B sources: organic beef liver, organic: sweet potato, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cod and eggs.
If you decide to supplement with magnesium and vitamin B ensure you opt for the top quality brand. Supplements are not a regulated area and there are plenty of supplements in the market that are of a low quality and full of unnecessary additives. Do your research or ask for advice.
Nothing exhausts and negatively impacts our bodies as a prolonged stress does. Stress has a highly oxidative effect on our cells causing disease and aging. You may not always be able to eliminate stress from your life but you can learn to manage in better. Mindfulness practices i.e.: daily meditation as well as stopping few times a day to take some deep breaths make a huge difference. Getting out and spending some time in nature is great. Let’s not forget about the exercise. When stressed focus on low impact exercise, yoga or pilates will be best here. Try to avoid high impact intense cardio activities as these will only drive your, already high, cortisol levels, up and when performed in the evening they will affect your sleep.
· Inadequate or poor quality sleep
Not all sleep has been created equal. If you don’t have a good night sleep you end up snacking on sugary foods to get you through the day. Your mood will get affected and your performance will suffer. There is no better feeling than waking up rested and refreshed. To ensure the most restful sleep possible stay away from your digital devices for minimum one hour before going to bed, do not consume coffee, alcohol or sugar in the evening, air your bedroom and block all sources of light – keep the bedroom dark.
It is advisable to seek a specialist opinion when you experience a prolonged fatigue.
However, what is important to realise is that we really hold the key to our wellbeing. Even with a diagnosed medical condition you can make a big difference to how you feel by choosing a diet and lifestyle that serves you best.
And … if you cannot do it alone try working with a Health Coach for expertise and support.