Are you reading these words through heavy eyelids, lamenting another day wasted running on empty? Is the smell of freshly brewed coffee like cat nip to your tired mind? Do you feel like fatigue is holding you back?
You’re not alone. A recent study found that the average Brit spends seven and a half years of their life feeling tired, with adults in this country saying they feel drained and low on energy for twenty hours each week. Shocking, right? But the truly surprising thing here, we think, is that more often than not, this fatigue is fixed with simple changes to our diets, sleep patterns and daily routines. With that in mind, here are 5 natural ways to boost energy levels, IDEAL for those who constantly find themselves flagging.
EAT MORE STARCHY CARBS
We hear that carbs are evil and should be avoided so often that we’re in danger of developing a complex about a delicious bowl of homemade pasta or our mum’s roasties. Great news, then, that recent scientific wisdom suggests that starchy carbohydrates – pasta, potatoes, bread, rice and cereal…all the good stuff, then – is actually hugely beneficial in sustaining energy levels. This is because they’re broken down into glucose, which acts as the body’s primary giver of energy.
Of course, carbohydrates should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet rich in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, pulses, legumes, and protein; a diet of only potatoes isn’t going to do you any favours. Which is a shame.
Where possible, opt for the wholegrain carbohydrate version and keep your potato skins on, too; that’s where the good stuff resides. But, the next time you feel guilty about the carbs in your diet, don’t!
DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST
Despite it being well repeated that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, nearly half of people in the UK say that they ‘rarely have time to eat a proper breakfast’. No wonder we’re so tired! Breakfast tees us up with the energy we need to tackle the day, and keeps us going until lunch, too.
Indeed, when we wake up, our blood sugar tends to be low, and your body needs that sugar for energy. What’s more, those who don’t eat a regular breakfast are more likely to snack on unhealthy items in the mid-morning, or overdo their lunch, leaving them sluggish and lacking energy later in the day. For the ideal energy boosting brekkie, make sure you include some of those whole grain starchy carbohydrates we mentioned earlier, and try to incorporate some protein, too (yoghurt or eggs are perfect).
ENJOY AN IRON RICH DIET
To keep energy levels high throughout the day, you’ll also want to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet. In fact, a study declared to be ‘well designed’ and ‘reasonably accurate’, found that iron pills ‘cut tiredness in women in half’, even if they’re not anaemic. Indeed, iron (both dietary and supplementary) has long been used been used to fight fatigue.
Iron-rich foods include potatoes (is there anything they can’t do?!), almonds and cashew nuts, dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, and liver. Oh, and dark chocolate, too! Now, there’s a delicious set of ingredients we’re more than happy to eat more of.
IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP HYGIENE
Getting sufficient restorative sleep is one of the most bedrocks of good health. During sleep, the body repairs and restores itself in countless ways — a process that can’t be duplicated by any other means. We’re not going to insult your intelligence by waxing lyrical about the link between a good night’s sleep and higher energy levels. Instead, we’ll redirect you to our super useful tips on optimising your bedtime routine. You can thank us tomorrow morning!
EXERCISE MORE, NOT LESS
Though slipping on your running shoes and clocking up 5 km is the last thing you want to do when you’re running low on energy, it’s also one of the best things you can do for yourself. That’s because regular exercise releases endorphins, which in turn raise your energy levels. What’s more, good aerobic and cardiovascular health achieved through running, cycling, swimming and the rest, leads to an increased stamina over time which helps you be the most resilient, energetic and agile version of yourself possible, able to tackle whatever life throws at you.