Nutritionist in Residence: Support Your Energy Levels & Combat Fatigue
Written by our Spring Nutritionist in Residence | Georga Holt
Sustaining energy levels and combating fatigue is something that we all experience from time to time, for some it can be a daily experience. How we wake up, what we first eat for the day, the timing of our caffeine - all these things can impact how we sustain our energy levels throughout the day.
Exposing yourself to natural morning light is extremely beneficial for your body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is our body’s own 24 hour clock that is responsible for our alertness and sleepiness. Avoiding synthetic lighting first thing in the morning (phone/laptop) and opting for engagement with natural light is a great start to support your energy levels throughout the day. Natural light exposure first thing in the morning helps communicate to the body to produce the right hormones to support your natural waking energy cycle. This too is the same for night time, once it is dark outside, avoid as much synthetic light as possible and use blue blocking techniques if required.
Breakfast is the most important meal to set ourselves up for the day. Ensuring you are eating in the morning to sustain your energy to your next meal can do wonders for your energy levels. What you put in your bowl/plate is equally important for your energy levels. Grabbing a banana on the go won’t support your blood sugar levels, but a meal rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates will be. When we eat a meal predominantly made up of carbohydrates or sugar, such as a croissant or a fruit smoothie bowl, our blood sugar spikes drastically and then drops very soon after causing a slump in energy levels. When we eat a meal with equal amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat, the combination will steady our blood glucose levels to reduce any dramatic highs or lows.
Nutritionist Note: In your meal, aim to build it with 40-60% carbohydrates, 10-35% protein & 20-35% fat.
Rather than reaching or relying on caffeine, moving in the morning can be a natural energy booster to sustain longevity of energy throughout the day. Movement naturally increases serotonin and norepinephrine levels, which provide the body with alertness. Additionally, movement increases the heart rate, which therefore increases blood pressure supporting a sustainable increase in blood sugar levels to provide more energy to the body.
Supporting your nervous system
We have all heard by now how much stress can impact our health, so it’s no surprise that stress, especially long term can impact our energy levels. Stress signals to our body that we must enter survival mode, also known as ‘fight or flight.’ Our body produces excess cortisol in order to adapt to whatever stress we are faced with. In return, if we experience stress in a long term manner, it can result in the depletion of our body’s ability to produce hormones such as cortisol, which can result in fatigue. Additionally, stress/higher levels of cortisol have the ability to interrupt our sleep, deplete our body of magnesium and interfere with our body’s circadian rhythm.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but one that can sometimes be underestimated. Sleep is essential for our body to rest and reset for the next day. Without a good quality sleep, it has the potential to disrupt our hunger hormones, our stress hormones and our body’s natural circadian rhythm which can result in a disruption to our energy levels throughout the day.
How we spend our days can have a significant impact on how we feel (energy).
Nutritionist Note: Ensure you are setting your body up for a good day by making small changes/rituals.