Powerful Energy Boosters: Daily Tips with Staying Power
Oct 31, 2012 12:13PM
● By Kathleen Barnes
Many Americans occasionally complain of having a lack of energy, and for some it’s a daily experience. Low energy levels can arise from a number of underlying factors, but poor diet and ongoing stress are the most likely culprits.
A consistently healthy diet can be the missing key ingredient to maintaining high energy in the long term, along with avoiding short-term energy dips. A diet featuring antioxidant-rich vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, low-fat proteins and healthy fats will not only keep energy levels high, it’s also essential to long-term health, according to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“If you think of getting energy from a cup of coffee or a candy bar, understand that it’s just a quick boost that doesn’t last long,” advises Gerbstadt, author of The Doctor’s Detox Diet. “The kind of energy you get from complex carbs and whole grains will stay with you.”
Adding a little protein, like a piece of low-fat cheese or a dollop of peanut butter on a whole grain cracker, will keep energy steady for even longer, starting with breakfast.
Taking small breaks from the workday can help increase energy and refocus attention on the tasks at hand. Getting away from the computer screen to weed the garden for 10 minutes or taking a quick turn around the block can quickly reverse an energy slump.
Gerbstadt further notes that a midafternoon energy drop may be due to a blood sugar dip. The carb/protein plan also works well at these times, or a cup of green tea might just hit the spot. “Green tea does deliver some caffeine, but it has literally hundreds of antioxidants, like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that boost metabolism and stoke the metabolic fires,” she says.
Plus, because most people have less-than-perfect diets, certain supplements can help raise energy levels and enhance overall health. Gerbstadt recommends vitamin D for those that don’t spend much time in the sun, to enhance immune function; fish oil for non-fish eaters for heart and brain health; and all B-vitamins to support everyone’s natural energy production.
“Stress is one of the biggest energy zappers of physical, emotional and spiritual energy,” says Jon Gordon, of Jacksonville, Florida, author of The Energy Bus and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, hospitals and schools on the subject of staying positive.
Exercise, a widely acknowledged energy booster, does double duty in moderating stress, according to the experts. Gordon’s prime recommendation for vanquishing it is a combination of exercise and emotional balancing: “You can’t be under stress and thankful at the same time,” he says. “So take a ‘thank-you’ walk every day and get the benefits of the physical exercise, as well as shifting emotions to a more positive state.”
Dr. Judith Orloff, author of Positive Energy, adds, “Walking meditations are joyous exercises in mindfulness, putting one foot in front of the other and being in the now; set your critical mind aside to be replenished by the energy of the air, greenery and nature.
“I also practice this short meditation throughout the day to calm myself and become more energized and clear,” she says. “For just three minutes, I close my eyes, focus on my breath and then envision a positive image, such as the night sky reflected in a body of water. These mini-tune-ups get you back to yourself, so you are centered and clear to continue your day.”
Kathleen Barnes is the author of numerous natural health books, including The Super Simple HCG Diet. Learn more at KathleenBarnes.com.