Natural Energy to Ward off Fatigue
Feeling tired and sleepy in the middle of the day is a common experience people would like to avoid, especially when they have to finish some tasks before the day ends. But as we get older, fatigue seems to become a daily challenge, which we often try conquer by taking coffee, energy drinks, or sugary snacks. And then we realize that these solutions do not seem to work effectively, and we end up gaining weight and feeling more tired.
Here are some tips health experts recommend to boost your energy naturally and ward off fatigue.
Eat Breakfast. Missing the most important meal of the day can make you run out of energy when you need it most. But eating unhealthy foods such as doughnuts or processed foods can do you more harm than good. Studies show that eating a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate breakfast is associated with high levels of alertness during the day. To increase your intake of fiber and carbs for breakfast, choose foods such as high-fiber cereal or whole-wheat toast. Most Americans consume only 10 – 15 grams of fiber per day, but experts advise that it is best to aim for a total of 25 – 30 grams of fiber daily.
Reduce your Load. Fatigue is often due to overwork, which can encompass professional work, family obligations, and social activities. Set priorities and streamline the list of your “must-do” activities. If necessary, ask for assistance for tasks which can be delegated.
Manage Stress. Stress can consume large amounts of energy. To control stress, learn about time management, talk with a supportive friend or family member, join a support group, or consult a psychotherapist. Practice relaxation therapies such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi, which can help restore your physical as well as mental health.
Exercise Regularly. Exercise boosts energy levels and increases vigor. It improves heart, lung and muscle function and increases your self-confidence as well. In addition, exercising regularly helps you lose excess weight and helps you sleep better at night.
Drink lots of Water. Dehydration can zap your energy and reduce your physical performance. It causes fatigue and decreases alertness and concentration. So instead of taking energy drinks, soda or sweetened drinks to boost your energy, drink lots of fresh water, especially during and after workouts.
Take Short Breaks. Studies show that taking frequent, short breaks to stand up and walk around a little can boost energy levels immediately and enable you to accomplish more than does multitasking. Researchers found that taking mini-breaks fights fatigue and results in increased productivity. Aside from getting off your seat to take short walks, another way to spend a short break time is to do some meditation in a quiet corner, just to relax with your eyes closed, take deep breaths and calm down.
Take Small, Frequent Meals. Instead of taking three large meals in a day, try eating small meals or snacks every few hours to give more energy supply to your body and brain. However, choose low-glycemic index foods such as whole grains, nuts, high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils. These foods make feel full longer but do not contain sugars that are easily absorbed and make you feel tired easily. Healthy snacks that can help boost your energy during the day include bananas, apples, dried fruits and nuts, whole grain crackers, non-fat yogurt with granola, and energy bars made from whole grain and high protein, but with less than 15 grams of sugar.
Take Moderate Amounts of Coffee. Drinking two to three cups of coffee per day can help increase one’s alertness, but be sure to avoid taking them after 2 p.m., or else you might end up having sleep problems. Studies show that coffee and tea contain not only caffeine, but antioxidants that can boost health as well.
Quit Smoking. Smoking not only threatens your health, it also causes insomnia and siphons your energy. Nicotine is a stimulant, which increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure, and stimulates brain activity that makes it harder for you to fall asleep. A few hours after you fall asleep, its addictive power may awaken you with powerful cravings.
Do Not Oversleep. Oversleeping can also make you feel tired during the day. Determine how much sleep you need to reduce the time you are in bed not actually sleeping. This will make it easier for you to fall asleep and promote a more restful sleep. If you need to take a power nap during the day, set an alarm to wake you up after 15 to 20 minutes. If you sleep longer than that, you may feel more tired.
Take a Health Supplement. To be healthy and alert, experts recommend eating healthy, balanced meals that include a variety of nutrients from fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, and whole grains. Sometimes, this is difficult to achieve daily, especially when we lack the time to buy and prepare healthy foods. One way to supplement our diet is to take multivitamins and minerals, herbal products and fiber supplements. Ask your doctor for advice regarding the use of health supplements, especially if you are taking other medications that may interact with their effects.
See a Doctor. If these simple measures do not improve your lack of energy, consult a doctor. Sometimes, chronic fatigue may be a symptom of an underlying health problem that must be diagnosed and treated properly. There is a wide range of medical reasons why one may feel tired easily, and these may include sleep apnea, anemia, heart problems, thyroid problems, and many more.
This information should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your health care providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.
WebMD. Fatigue Fighters: 6 Quick Ways to Boost Energy. http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-health-benefits-11/fatigue-fighters-six-quick-ways-boost-energy
WebMD. 9 Ways to Get Your Energy Back. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/get-energy-back
Harvard Health Publications. 9 Ways to Boost Your Energy. http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_060706.htm#art1
Health,com. 5 Energy-Boosting Snacks. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20502284,00.html