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Nutrition

Boost Energy and Reduce Stress...Naturally!

No energy? Feeling stressed?  Did you know there are several things you can do to boost your energy levels and reduce the stress in your life naturally? 

Proper diet and nutrition is the key, but increased physical activity is strongly recommended as well.  Certain herbs and supplements have also been proven to be beneficial in attacking these issues, but they should only be taken in combination with a well-balanced diet.

Improper dieting is the primary cause of low energy levels, but this can be easily remedied.  All that’s required is learning how to correctly balance your daily caloric intake with high-energy foods, herbs, and nutritional supplements.  If you’re constantly struggling with low energy levels and extreme fatigue, increased consumption of the products listed below can definitely help to naturally alleviate these problems.

Recommended High Energy Drinks

Milk really DOES do a body good!  Milk is not only high in calcium, but whey protein as well.  Whey protein has been proven to severely decrease anxiety and frustration, which will lead to a dramatic increase in one's energy level. 

Water is potentially the most important of all the drinks you can choose because it plays an essential role in virtually all bodily functions, including the conversion of food into energy.  If you don’t find regular water consumption to be very appealing, try adding a little lemon, lime, or other citrus juice to better suit your taste.  

Now a bit about these popular energy drinks that so many people tend to rely on for energy.  Stay away from them!  Many of these drinks cause the jitters, anxiety, and are loaded with way too much caffeine and other ingredients that cause stress on the body. 

Recommended High Energy Foods

Almonds are very tasty…and are high in manganese and copper!   These two minerals are key components of an enzyme that assists in regulating energy flow by preventing free radicals from getting inside the energy-producing area of cells known as “mitochondria”.  Some people think they need to stay away from nuts to live a healthy lifestyle but this is simply not true!  So go ahead….grab a handful of tasty almonds and enjoy!

Black beans and other legumes are made up of complex carbohydrates that help the body by keeping blood sugar levels where they ought to be.  This provides for a slow-burning energy source that helps you feel more alert and awake for an extended period of time.  Black beans also have high iron content…a key component of hemoglobin.  The primary function of hemoglobin is the transporting of carbon dioxide and oxygen throughout the body, helping the body function properly and efficiently.

Cantaloupe is an extremely good source of energy due to its combination of B3, B6, dietary fiber, and folate.  The B vitamins included in this tasty treat help the body process sugar and carbohydrates, and the fiber gradually distributes the sugars throughout your body, as needed. 

Kiwi is a small fruit with a powerful punch!  Kiwis contain a high level of Vitamin C, an important source of energy.  Research has shown that people who lack the proper amount of Vitamin C in their diet tend to feel more run down and sluggish.  Other foods that are high in Vitamin C are apples, broccoli, oranges, and green and red peppers.  What a flavorful way to increase your energy!

Eating lean beef or chicken will add some much-needed protein to every meal.  Lean meats are essential for proper organ functioning and the maintaining of high energy levels.  Lean protein is specifically important because it contains tyrosine, an amino acid that helps improve mental focus and functioning.  Other foods that are also highly recommended because of their amounts of tyrosine are eggs, sardines, shellfish, and turkey.

Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, which helps to slow down carbohydrate absorption and regulates blood sugar levels.  The carbohydrates that are found in oatmeal also help trigger the release of serotonin.  Serotonin acts both as a chemical messenger that transmits nerve signals between nerve cells and causes blood vessels to narrow. Serotonin in the brain actually helps to improve your mood, so make sure to get enough when looking to reduce stress.

Any food that is similar to salmon or walnuts are fantastic energy boosters and stress relievers because they’re high in Omega-3 fatty acids.  These Omega-3’s are so important for both cognitive and behavioral functions, so you want to make sure to get enough in your daily diet.  Omega-3’s are beneficial because of the ability that it has to increase mental awareness, focus, and functioning ability.

Whole grain foods are fantastic for the brain because they consistently send steady streams of glucose to the brain in order for it to function properly.  Research indicates that eating whole grain breads and cereals for breakfast stabilizes blood sugar for up to ten hours!  This ultimately leads to increased levels of alertness, memory retention, and concentration throughout the day. What a great way to help boost your energy levels and reduce any stress that may affect your day!

Recommended High Energy Supplements

Goji berries are quickly becoming the nutritional supplement of choice in the United States after having been successfully used for thousands of years in China, India, and Tibet.  They’re not only high in antioxidants and an excellent source of energy, but Goji berries may also be used to improve one's circulation and eyesight.  I have recently discovered this great supplement and I love it!  After just a few days of taking them, I was amazed to see how great my body felt.  I don’t go through the day without them, now.

A good, whole-food multi-vitamin should be taken on a daily basis, regardless of age, to help replace any minerals and vitamins that may be lacking in your diet. Our body will not function correctly if we do not give it the nutrients it needs.  By taking a high-quality multivitamin, you’ll be providing your body with the nutrition it needs while helping to increase energy levels.  In doing so, you’ll also create a strong body that is able to handle any stress that comes your way.

Nutrition bars are an excellent complement to your diet, especially for those times when you need to eat something on the go.  I always carry a healthy energy bar with me that includes many of the foods listed above on those occasions when I need a snack or a pick-me-up.  They’re very affordable and oh so good!

Exercise for Energy and Stress Reduction

Instilling a regular exercise routine into your daily activities has been scientifically proven to increase energy levels while also significantly reducing stress.  This is due primarily to the increasing of your body's metabolic rate and serotonin levels.  Exercising correctly requires focusing on form and technique, both of which increases your levels of mental awareness and functioning.

A doctor should always be consulted before starting any training program regardless of your current age, experience, or health.  Always start out gradually, focus on the fundamentals (proper form and technique), and learn to train according to your specific body type.  

Always keep an accurate record of your weight and measurements (starting and weekly), but do not allow this to become an obsession.  You should only view this as a general reference point because the results that you desire will be obtained if you maintain high levels of dedication, focus, and hard work.

Only follow an exercise regimen that is properly suited for your skill level, or else you will leave yourself open to the possibility of burnout, exhaustion, and/or injury.

Foods that Can Help Reduce Stress

 In addition to the foods that were previously mentioned, you may also want to try eating more of the following:

·           Additional green vegetables like lettuce and kale that contain high levels of different vitamins

·           Blueberries, which have high levels of Vitamin C and fiber

·           Brown rice, which contains high levels of B vitamins and fiber

·           Dried apricots, which contain lots of fiber, magnesium, and Vitamin C,

·           Soy, which contains high levels B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and protein

·           Sweet potatoes which contain beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamins

What Else Can Be Done to Reduce Stress?

In addition to eating better and exercising regularly, you might also consider allowing yourself more time to complete a task.  Other proven stress reducers include deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, listening to music, meditation and other relaxation techniques, reducing your daily caffeine intake, and yoga.  While this list of options is not all-inclusive, it is an excellent place to start reducing your stress level. 

By learning how to properly combine them with proper diet and exercise, you can eventually start boosting your energy and reducing stress naturally.

 

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