In our fast paced society, everyone is looking for more energy. People need energy and need it fast and need it frequently.
As our stress levels increase we look for quick and easy ways to combat fatigue.
There are many ways out there to combat fatigue. There are energy drinks. There are energy pills and supplements. But what is safe to take short term, and safe to take long term?
The Food and Drug Administration this month released a report that linked 13 deaths to the new energy drink, 5 Hour Energy. A young girl with a heart condition died after ingesting 2 monster energy drinks in a 24 hour period. Her death was ruled caffeine toxicity complicated by an underlying heart condition.
Caffeine and sugar, in the long run, decrease your energy levels because they cause your energy levels to spike for a little while (20 minutes to 2 hours) and then crash and have low energy for the next 2 to 4 hours. This low energy period is when you’ll feel tired and lethargic and go out searching for something else to pick you back up. It becomes a big, energy sucking cycle of eating something sugary or caffeinated, spiking your energy levels, then having your energy levels drop and then eating or drinking something to spike back up the dwindling energy levels.
Foods with artificial sweeteners will have the same effect as sugar in your body. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners will cause the blood sugar and energy levels to spike, and then drop shortly thereafter.
So what can you do for extra energy that is easy on your body and will not cause any short or long term detrimental effects?
The best thing by fart to increase energy levels is to exercise. Even though you may start out tired, you will be surprised how much energy you will get from exercising. It may take a few weeks to a month of consistent exercise before you will start feeling more energy. But if you stick with it, you will get past the point of feeling fatigued from exercise. Exercise can be so energizing that it is not recommended to exercise before bedtime because exercise will increase your energy levels and make it harder to fall asleep.
Exercise increases your metabolism and will raise your energy levels all day. If you exercise in the morning you will be more awake and alert when you go to work. You will be more productive and be more energetic throughout the day. If you exercise during lunch or after work, exercise will provide a boost or a pick-me-up when your energy levels would normally be lagging.
Drinking water is an easy way to increase your energy levels. Water is a catalyst for almost all of the processes in the body. This means that your body will function more efficiently and run more smoothly the more water that you drink. Your body won’t have to work so hard to power processes if you drink more water.
Don’t fall for the marketing ploy of sports drinks. You don’t need any extra additives to water. The only time you should use a sports drink is if you are exercising for over an hour. Otherwise it is just added sugar and calories.
A great way to spruce up water is to add lemons, limes or oranges for taste. Also drinking true tea is a great way take extra water in. Tea is flavored, zero calorie, and is packed with anti-oxidants, which means that it is anti-inflammatory. True tea is not herbal tea or yerba matte. Not saying that herbal teas don’t have anything to offer, they do. But right now I am referring to true tea (black, brown, green, white).
Breakfast is key to having good energy levels throughout the day. Breakfast is the cornerstone to good nutrition. If you don’t eat breakfast, it will send your body into a starvation state. If you skip breakfast it could be 10 to 12 hours between eating dinner and when you eat lunch. This will cause your body to slow down. Your body will store whatever it takes in to get ready for what it thinks is the upcoming famine. Not eating breakfast makes you 70% more susceptible to becoming obese.
If you eat a good breakfast, it will keep you feeling good and energized by your keeping your energy levels consistent for hours to come. But you have to eat a good breakfast, not a sugary super sweet breakfast. Start out with some protein, a good complex carbohydrate, and some fruit. I like to mix plain yogurt with peanut butter, then add in blueberries and granola. This keeps me feeling energized and full for hours. It is lunchtime before I am ready to eat anything else.
The fruits provide anti-oxidants and vitamins which decreases inflammation. The fruit also provides fiber which helps to keep me regular. After eating this breakfast I will usually have to go to the bathroom by mid morning.
The protein in the yogurt and peanut butter will help to keep me feeling fuller longer. Protein takes a long period to breakdown, so it will provide a long lasting energy source. Protein also provides the body with the nutrients to adequately repair and build muscles and tissues.
The complex carbohydrates in the granola provide me with a long lasting source of energy. Carbs are the body’s primary fuel for energy. Simple carbs, like white bread, white pasta, and sugary cereals, will give the body a quick boost of energy. But the body will digest it very quickly and burn through it very quickly.
Simple carbs have the same effect on the body that sugar does. Simple carbs will cause the blood sugar to spike for about 2o minutes to 2 hours and then crash for 2 to 4 hours afterwards.
Complex carbs will take the body longer to digest, and therefore will not spike the blood sugar because it is not being digested all at once. Complex carbs will provide hours of consistent energy.
I have seen many people who wake up and only have black coffee for breakfast. Then they might have something small for lunch. Then by dinner time they are ravenous. They will overeat and end up eating more than they would have if they ate 3 separate meals. If you skip lunch, you will subconsciously compensate for the missed calories by overeating at the next meal. Someone who does this will think that it is okay to eat more for dinner since they skipped lunch, but they will end up overeating at dinner and consuming more calories than they would have if they had just eaten lunch.
Recent research has shown that your body has a set point for calorie consumption and weight. If you miss a meal during the day, or miss a few meals, that day or even the next day, your body will subconsciously prompt you to make up for lack of calories from the previous meal or the previous day.
For this reason snacking is important. If you let yourself get too hungry between meals, then you will be more prone to overeat when you get a chance to eat your next meal. Snacking between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner will also help to keep your energy levels and metabolism consistent throughout the day which will prevent the peaks and valleys in energy.
For a good snack try to combine complex carbs with some protein and/ or fat for lasting and consistent energy. Protein, fat and complex carbs all will slow down the absorption and breakdown of sugars in your body which will provide consistent energy levels.
These are some the ways that you can easily and safely increase your energy levels. Don’t fall for all of the marketing ploys out there for all of the energy drinks, sports drinks, supplements or anything else that claims to increase energy levels. Remember, if it sounds too good to be
true, then it probably is. All of these products will increase your energy levels, but only for a short period. And they will leave you feeling more tired overall than if you hadn’t taken the energy booster. And you never know what the long term effects will be from these products.
Increase your energy levels, metabolism, concentration and mood the natural way, the proven way, and the Pain Free Way-through exercise and eating right.