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"Rev those engines!" - Tips to boost your energy levels, naturally.
By Christian Schoepke.

“I need more energy throughout the day” depicts a sensation that many of us are facing almost daily.  With the demands of our lives rising and the expectations at work, home, and in our relationships on the increase as well, many people turn to a quick fix to help them cope.  Unfortunately, most individuals make the mistake to confuse “energy” with “alertness.”  While caffeinated beverages and the popular energy drink may boost your ability to get things done, they do very little in actually filling up that energy reservoir of yours.  In other words, they solely enable you to access your depleting resources faster.

So, how do you create more energy in your life?
Well, that actually starts before the need arises.  And very similar to everything that you want to do well, it requires practice, or, a simulation of pushing your energy boundaries.  In order to function at the level of heightened demands, your have to have your toolbox in order, or simply:  your body.  Your physical limitations are what really determine how effective you are in handling activities that drain your power resources.  If your body quits, so will your mind.  However, if you “think” you cannot go on, the momentum of your body will very often carry you over the threshold of what was previously thought of as out of reach.

If you want to create the “e-motional” ability (your mind) to excel beyond the norm, then you have to set yourself in “motion.”  Your body and mind are intrinsically connected, and while it may feel senseless at times to push yourself to work out when your mind wants to do another thing, the latter does feed off the first.

People who have fatigue will often feel better if they eat much less sugar and fewer starchy carbohydrates like potatoes and bread, and eat more protein and healthy fats like fish oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seeds, and soy. Drinking plenty of water may help, and a B complex supplement may help to boost energy.

Foods to Avoid when Looking for Energy

  • Cookies, baked goods, candy bars, sodas and fruit drinks
    These foods, loaded with simple sugars, cause a quick energy boost and, because of rising insulin levels, just as quick a decline, often leaving you more drained than before.
  • Caffeine
    Although it is an effective short-term solution for some, it can also have a negative rebound effect. If you do have a caffeine habit, work on slowly eliminating it from your diet, so that you can be in touch with your more natural energy.

Foods That Contribute to Drowsiness

  • Carbohydrates
    Carbohydrates can alter the level of serotonin in your brain and bring on feelings of calm and relaxation. That can make them a good before-bedtime snack, but less good in the middle of the day.

One lunch trick to help you overcome the temptation to nap is to eat pure protein. Protein is broken down into its amino-acid building blocks during digestion. One amino acid, tyrosine, increases the production of the chemicals that are also released when you are under acute mental or physical stress and are well known for their ability to increase levels of alertness and energy levels.
Here are some other suggestions that may help you boost your energy levels.  Always be sure to check with a nutritionist and your doctor to ensure you are embarquing on the right diet and exercise regiment.

Get Enough Iron
Many people lack energy because they lack iron in their diet.  As a female, if you are still in your reproductive years and menstruate regularly, you lose iron each month. Unless it is replaced in your diet or with supplements, you will suffer some of the unpleasant symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia -- chronic fatigue being one of them. If you don't already take an iron supplement, you should.

Get a Boost from Herbs
Although not scientifically proven, some herbs popularly touted as having energy-enhancing effects are ginseng and ginkgo biloba. Perhaps a tea made from one of these would help.

Go Natural!
Eating only whole, natural, minimally processed foods is important not only for overall health but also to maximize energy levels. Be sure you are eating a balanced diet, meeting all your needs from each of the levels of the food pyramid.

It often works to do your exercising at lunchtime to help boost your metabolism and keep your engines running on high for the afternoon. If you can switch your schedule so that you can exercise at noontime, that may help.

Consider Embracing the Urge to Nap
The desire for an afternoon nap can be the result of natural biorhythm patterns, and often it is best to just give in to it if you can.  Take a quick 15- or 20-minute nap - instead of spending an hour or two fighting it - and then move on, refreshed, and ready to go. Naps are becoming more and more popular, and some workplaces have even established a napping room, recognizing those natural patterns and knowing that workers can work more effectively if allowed to have a brief nap.

A Proper diet certainly contributes to a good energy level, but you may also want to approach the problem by looking at all areas of your life. The causes of fatigue can be physiological (such as thyroid hormone levels), emotional (too much stress), and lifestyle-related (hours of quality sleep at night).  So, along with making some dietary and exercise-related adjustments, be sure to check those out, too.





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