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8 Healthy Ways to Boost Energy

Your food and beverage choices can have a big effect on your energy levels throughout the day, an expert says.

As our energy levels decrease because of our overstressed lifestyles, many people look for a quick fix to combat fatigue.

Energy drinks mask the symptoms of fatigue and dehydrate the body. The majority of energy drinks contain excess sugar, high levels of caffeine and other stimulants.

Relying on caffeine and energy drinks makes us feel worse in the long run by causing our system to crash.

Continued fatigue decreases the immune system, making us more susceptible to depression and illness.

So what to do? Exercise, sleep and reducing stress are important in fighting fatigue. But our eating habits also directly affect energy levels. And nutrition can affect energy levels throughout the day.

Here are some tips on healthy ways to boost your energy:

Drink water

The body needs water – multiple glasses a day.

Being hydrated is an easy and inexpensive way to increase energy levels. You don’t need vitamin water or sports drinks; they only add extra unneeded calories. Keep a fresh water source with you at all times and drink throughout the day. Add lemons, limes or oranges for taste variety.

Eat breakfast

This is the meal that sets the stage for the entire day. Studies show that breakfast helps keep you alert, starts your metabolism for the day and keeps you satisfied until lunch.

But a healthy breakfast is the key. Good options include whole-grain cereals, breads, fruit and lean protein instead of doughnuts, pastries and white breads. A hard-boiled egg sliced into a whole wheat pita, oatmeal with fruit, and whole-grain toast with natural peanut butter are all healthy choices.

Don’t forget protein

Not consuming enough protein during the day can be a primary reason for fatigue. Protein-based foods provide the body with fuel to repair and build tissues. Protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in the body, providing a longer-lasting energy source. You can find protein in poultry, fish, lean red meat, nuts, milk, yogurt, eggs, yogurt, cheese and tofu.

Keep your carbs smart

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. Pick whole grains like cereal, brown rice and whole wheat bread, and avoid sweets, which cause energy to plummet. Many processed carbohydrates contain little to no fiber. Always read the nutrition label.

Snacks are important

If you let yourself get too hungry between meals, your blood sugar falls, and you get lethargic. Keep your blood sugar and energy level steady during the day by consuming snacks. Choosing the right snacks prevent peaks and valleys in energy.

Combine complex carbs with a protein and/or fat for lasting energy. The protein and fat slow the breakdown of sugar into the blood, preventing fatigue. Snacks also can prevent overeating at mealtimes. A few examples of smart snack choices are yogurt with fruit, mixed nuts, veggies with hummus, pears with almond butter, whey protein shake or blueberries with a cheese stick. Plan ahead!

Omega-3 fatty acids

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, combat depression and improve mood and memory. Try to focus on omega-3 fats from food rather than supplements. Excellent sources include salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds, leafy greens and hemp seeds.

Magnesium

Almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts are rich in magnesium, a mineral important in converting carbohydrates into energy. Other good sources of magnesium include whole grains and dark green vegetables.

Don’t skimp on calories

Skimping on calories decreases your metabolism and causes you to feel lethargic. Keep your energy levels high and increase metabolism by meeting your caloric needs each day. Whole foods are preferred over supplements to obtain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals instead of one or two single nutrients. Consume a variety of foods for overall health but also to keep your energy levels high.

By Tiffany Barrett, Special to CNN      November 28, 2012
source: www.cnn.com
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Fun Fact Friday

  • Girls who have more ‘guy friends’ than ‘girl friends’ go through less depression and anxiety.
  • Napping actually improves stamina, boosts your creativity, boosts your sex life and reduces stress.
  • Blowing out candles on birthday cakes results in roughly 3000 bacteria capable of forming colonies on the cake.
  • Blood donors in Sweden are sent a text message every time their blood is used to save a life.
  • The most used drug worldwide is caffeine.
  • If two people are having a dispute, the angrier one is usually wrong. This is because anger clouds judgement.
  • When feeling depressed, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.

 

Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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7 Foods That Might Be Making You Anxious

A lifelong friend of mine suffered from debilitating anxiety for years. It was hard to watch her have panic attacks, knowing that people did not understand her behavior. Although anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the United States, only about one-third of affected individuals receive some form of treatment.

From a young age, I read books every chance I got. Taking a particular interest in the human brain, it was only natural that I would go on to study psychology and neuroscience at a university. Focusing on both mental health and nutrition, I quickly realized how one’s diet influenced brain health and overall well-being  — my attention shifted and this connection has been the focal point of my research ever since.

Anxiety and food — what’s the connection?

Anxiety disorders are complex and although various factors play a role, chemical imbalances within the brain cannot be ignored. It’s been found within a number of studies that a diet high in sugar and processed foods actually damages the brain, worsening symptoms of both depression and anxiety.

While focusing on mood, the neurotransmitter serotonin influences symptoms of poor mood and restlessness, as well as dopamine and GABA. Of course, serotonin imbalances are prominent in the brain, however, 95 percent of your body’s serotonin is produced within your gut. Meaning, poor nutrition not only affects digestion, but also mental health.

Unlike nutrient-rich whole foods, which offer a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and probiotics, the following foods may actually contribute to feelings of anxiety.

1. Sugar

It’s no secret that the standard Western diet is packed with sugar — in fact, it’s estimated that Americans eat an average of 22 teaspoons per day. Too much glucose in the blood is actually toxic and is a driving force behind a range of health conditions, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and yep — poor mental health.

Within one study, published in Life Sciences, a diet high in sugar was shown to increase symptoms of anxiety. Others have shown that a high-sugar diet directly influences dopamine, decreasing the activity of D2 receptors. With the being said, the large majority of research has focused on sugar withdrawal and its effect on anxiety-like behavior.

When rats were withdrawing from a liquid high-sugar diet, for instance, increased anxiety levels followed when placed in a maze. Within the amygdala of their brains, CRH also increased — a hormone and neurotransmitter that is related to stress responses. This has led to not only further anxiety research, but has provided key clues regarding food addiction as well.

2. Hydrogenated oils and fried foods

Fried, fatty foods and trans fats have been linked to a range of health issues, including rising cases of heart disease and colon cancer. Not only are foods fried in hydrogenated oil, but these trans fats are also found in baked goods, margarine and many other processed foods. Researchers suggest that a diet high in hydrogenated oils may lead to neuromotor and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Within one study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, it was found that rats who were fed trans fats for a prolonged period of time exhibited increased feelings of fear and anxiety. In comparison to rats fed a standard diet, those who consumed hydrogenated vegetable fat displayed a reduction in exploratory and locomotor activities.

french-fries

3. Caffeinated drinks

Although you may first consider coffee, which actually offers a range of key health benefits, caffeine is a stimulant and when consumed in high enough doses, you may increase stress-related symptoms of anxiety. In terms of their overall effect on your health, beverages such as soda and energy drinks are highly damaging.

Not only do they expose you to high levels of sugar, but when consuming too much caffeine, you can increase cortisol levels while influencing neurotransmitter balance. Within one study, published in Depression and Anxiety, energy drink consumption was significantly correlated with increased anxiety in young male adults.

4. Deli meats

A clear connection has been made between deli meats, hot dogs and worsening health. The majority of research has focused on cancer, since processed meat is considered to be a potent multiorgan carcinogen. Packed with sodium, preservatives and nitrates, these questionable meats have been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety — they may also trigger headaches in some individuals.

5. Fat-free options

Companies have marketed their products as “fat-free” so that consumers believe that they’re making healthier choices. Just like carbs, fat has falsely gotten a bad rep. Remember, it’s the type of fat that you need to be concerned about. Although society has become obsessed with a low-fat diet, rates of obesity, diabetes and mental health issues continue to soar.

Considering approximately 60 percent of your brain is made up of fat, you need to consume healthy sources within your diet, including the omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA. A lack of beneficial fats has been shown to cause mood impairment, while an increase in unhealthy fats leads to inflammation of the brain. The next time you pick up a fat-free option, look at the ingredients and in particular, focus on its sugar content.

Article:  1 ‘DIRTY’ Elixir Drops Blood Sugar by 6% (results)

6. Artificial sweeteners

Although sugar has been linked to a variety of diseases time and time again, foods that contain artificial sweeteners are just as damaging — if not worse. Containing phenylalanine, a known neurotoxin, artificial sweeteners have been shown to deplete serotonin levels, triggering symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, paranoia and panic attacks.

Diet soda is a classic example, as consumers often think it’s a healthier choice because these options contain zero sugar, fat or calories. Studies have shown that an increased consumption of diet soda, which contains aspartame, leads to issues with emotional ability, particularly mood swings and anxiety.

7. Alcohol

There’s nothing wrong with a glass of red wine with dinner every once in awhile, in fact, it’s been shown to support positive heart health due to its resveratrol content. With that being said, regular drinkers often experience lower levels of serotonin, leading to symptoms of anxiety.

In order to alleviate their symptoms, they often drink more, leading to a rather vicious cycle. Although alcohol influences key neurotransmitters, the withdrawal of alcohol can be more problematic. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for hours after drinking, increasing one’s risk of dependence.

At the end of the day, the worst possible thing you can do about your symptoms of anxiety would be to do nothing at all. By eliminating the foods above, you will instantly boost your health, both physical and mental. In addition to a more nutritious diet, focus on beneficial herbs, try yoga, meditation or Reiki, keep a journal, exercise and get enough sleep. You no longer have to live with anxiety. Take action — starting with your grocery list.

By Krista Hillis      August 20, 2016
 


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8 Reasons You Have No Energy

By Brianna Steinhilber  3/10/2015

Stuck in a midday slump? Change these habits right now for an instant energy boost.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t hit snooze or experience the midafternoon slump every once in a while, but if you constantly feel like you’re dragging it may be time to take a closer look at your routine. If you don’t have a related health condition and are getting enough shuteye each night, you may be to blame for the constant fatigue. Here are 8 energy-zapping habits that you can change today.


1. You’re eating too much sugar. While the candy jar is an obvious culprit, refined carbohydrates like white bread and rice, chips, and cereal are a major source of sugar, too. This type of simple sugar is digested quickly by the body, leading to a dip in blood sugar levels that leaves you feeling fatigued. Be sure to replace refined carbs with whole grain varieties for a lasting energy boost.


2. You aren’t exercising enough. It may seem counterintuitive that exerting energy will actually increase it, but adding a workout to your daily routine will give you a short-term energy boost. Plus, regular exercise improves sleep quality, which will ultimately leave you feeling more well rested.

3.  You’re skipping breakfast. “Skipping breakfast can definitely contribute to low energy in the morning,” says Johannah Sakimura, MS and Everyday Health blogger. “It’s important to give your body good fuel to start the day after an extended period of fasting.” Without this fuel, your body is running on empty – leaving you famished by lunchtime and more likely to make unhealthy choices that will cause that midafternoon dip in blood sugar. “Try to combine healthy carbohydrates, like fruit, veggies, and whole grains, with a protein source, such as eggs, nuts, or dairy. The carbs give you an initial boost, and the protein helps sustain you until your next meal,” says Sakimura.

lack of energy

4. You’re sitting too much. Not only is sitting for prolonged periods of time harmful to your health (just one hour of sitting affects your heart!), but it’s a major energy zapper as well. Standing up and moving for even a few minutes helps get your blood circulating through your body and increases the oxygen in your blood, ultimately sending more oxygen to your brain which increases alertness. If you work a desk job, try this move more plan to keep your blood pumping.

5. You’re drinking too much caffeine. Whether it’s a can of soda or constant refills of your coffee mug, many of the beverages we reach for when we feel tired are packed with caffeine – a stimulant that will give you a quick jolt, but can also leave you crashing soon after if you ingest too much. Plus, if you’re drinking caffeinated beverages into the afternoon, they may start to have an effect on your sleep quality. If you’re a coffee drinker, switch to water late-morning and replace soda with seltzer for a bubbly afternoon pick-me-up without the crash.

6. You’re dehydrated. We all know the importance of drinking enough water – and even mild dehydration can have adverse effects on your energy level, mood, and concentration. Aim for at least one glass of water per hour while sitting at your desk, and be sure to fill your bottle up even more if you’re doing strenuous activity or are outdoors in high temperatures.


7. You have poor posture. A study found that slouched walking decreased energy levels while exacerbating symptoms of depression. The good news: Simply altering body posture to a more upright position instantly boosted mood and energy, while enabling participants to more easily come up with positive thoughts. So sit up straight! Set reminders on your phone or calendar throughout the day to remind yourself to check in with your posture and straighten up.

8. You’re not snacking smart. If you’re running to the vending machine for a quick afternoon snack, your selection – most likely high in simple carbs and sugar – will take your energy levels in the wrong direction. Instead choose a snack that has a combo of protein and complex carbs for an energy boost that will last throughout the afternoon. Think trail mix, veggies and hummus, or peanut butter on whole wheat toast.


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Eat This To Concentrate Better

Brain Foods That Help You Concentrate

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 11, 2013

Ginseng, Fish, Berries, or Caffeine?

Listen to the buzz about foods and dietary supplements, and you’ll believe they can do everything from sharpen focus to enhance memory, attention span, and brain function.

But do they really work? There’s no denying that as we age, our body ages right along with us. The good news is that you can improve your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add “smart” foods and drinks to your diet.

Caffeine Can Make You More Alert

There’s no magic bullet to boost IQ or make you smarter — but certain substances, like caffeine, can energize you and help you concentrate. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up buzz, though the effects are short-term. And more is often less: Overdo it on caffeine and it can make you jittery and uncomfortable.

Sugar Can Enhance Alertness

Sugar is your brain’s preferred fuel source — not table sugar, but glucose, which your body processes from the sugars and carbs you eat. That’s why a glass of something sweet to drink can offer a short-term boost to memory, thinking, and mental ability.

Have too much, though, and memory can be impaired — along with the rest of you. Go easy on the sugar so it can enhance memory without packing on the pounds.

Eat Breakfast to Fuel Your Brain

Tempted to skip breakfast? Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Students who eat it tend to perform better than those who don’t. Foods at the top of researchers’ brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Just don’t overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Fish Really is Brain Food

A protein source linked to a great brain boost is fish — rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are key for brain health. These healthy fats have amazing brain power: A diet with higher levels of them has been linked to lower dementia and stroke risks and slower mental decline; plus, they may play a vital role in enhancing memory, especially as we get older.

For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.

Add a Daily Dose of Nuts and Chocolate

Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is linked to less cognitive decline as you age. Dark chocolate also has other powerful antioxidant properties, and it contains natural stimulants like caffeine, which can enhance focus.

Enjoy up to an ounce a day of nuts and dark chocolate to get all the benefits you need without excess calories, fat, or sugar.

Walnuts

Add Avocados and Whole Grains

Every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain. A diet high in whole grains and fruits like avocados can cut the risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol. This reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells.

Whole grains, like popcorn and whole wheat, also contribute dietary fiber and vitamin E. Though avocados have fat, it’s the good-for-you, monounsaturated fat that helps with healthy blood flow.

Blueberries Are Super Nutritious

Research in animals shows that blueberries may help protect the brain from the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies also show that diets rich in blueberries improved both the learning and muscle function of aging rats, making them mentally equal to much younger rats.

Benefits of a Healthy Diet

It may sound trite but it’s true: If your diet lacks essential nutrients, it can hurt your ability to concentrate. Eating too much or too little can also interfere with your focus. A heavy meal may make you feel tired, while too few calories can result in distracting hunger pangs.

Benefit your brain: Strive for a well-balanced diet full of a wide variety of healthy foods.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements?

Store shelves groan with supplements claiming to boost health. Although many of the reports on the brain-boosting power of supplements like vitamins B, C, E, beta-carotene, and magnesium are promising, a supplement is only useful to people whose diets are lacking in that specific nutrient.

Researchers are cautiously optimistic about ginseng, ginkgo, and vitamin, mineral, and herb combinations and their impact on the brain.

Check with your doctor.

Get Ready for a Big Day

Want to power up your ability to concentrate? Start with a meal of 100% fruit juice, a whole-grain bagel with salmon, and a cup of coffee. In addition to eating a well-balanced meal, experts also offer this advice:

  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Exercise to help sharpen thinking.
  • Meditate to clear thinking and relax.

REFERENCES:
Morris, M. Archives of Neurology, Oct. 10, 2005 online edition; vol 62. News release, American Medical Association.
Noralyn L. Wilson, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
Gordon Winocur, PhD, senior scientist for the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto.
Paul E. Gold, professor of psychology and psychiatry, neuroscience program, University of Illinois.
Steven Pratt, MD, author, Superfoods RX: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life.
Rampersaud, G. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, May 2005; vol 105(5): pp 743-760.
Mathematica Policy Research: “Universal-Free School Breakfast Program Evaluation Design Project – Review of Literature on Breakfast and Learning.”
Michaud, C. Journal of Adolescent Health, January 1991; vol 12(1): pp 53-57.
Ann Kulze, MD, author, Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality.
University of California Berkeley Guide to Dietary Supplements.


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Dreaming of Better Sleep: 7 Natural Fixes for Insomnia

Dr. Michael Murray   February 4, 2015

When sleep seems an impossible dream, it’s tempting to reach for the pill bottle–and an instant fix. But sleeping drugs are not the answer to insomnia. In fact, they can be the stuff of nightmares. But here’s some good news: Some key dietary changes and supplements can give you the rest you’re dreaming of.

WHAT IS INSOMNIA?

If you have difficulty achieving or maintaining normal sleep, you have insomnia. Trouble falling asleep at bedtime is referred to as sleep-onset insomnia. If your trouble is with waking frequently or very early, you have sleep-maintenance insomnia. Insomnia usually has a psychological cause–depression, anxiety, or tension. But it can also be triggered by various foods, drinks, and medications. Numerous compounds in our diets (most notably caffeine)–as well as more than 300 drugs–can stand in the way of a good night’s sleep.

DIETARY FIXES

The first step in improving slumber is to look for–and eliminate–triggers. Here are some dietary tips for promoting healthy sleep.

CUT OUT CAFFEINE.

Stimulants are a no-no for people with insomnia. Eliminate coffee, as well as less obvious caffeine sources such as soft drinks, chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream, hot cocoa, and tea. Even small amounts of caffeine (as in decaf coffee or chocolate) may be enough to trigger insomnia in some people. But caffeine isn’t the only culprit. Some food colorings can act as stimulants. Food sensitivities and allergies can also cause insomnia. And while they’re not technically stimulants, sugar and refined carbohydrates can interfere with sleep. Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and eating irregularly can cause a reaction in the body that triggers the “fight or flight” part of the nervous system, causing the mind to be alert– and therefore wakeful.

ELIMINATE ALCOHOL. 

Even though it’s a depressant, alcohol can interfere with healthy sleep. It causes adrenaline to be released and disrupts the production of serotonin (an important brain chemical that initiates sleep).

sleep

AVOID LOW BLOOD SUGAR.

A rapid drop in blood sugar during the night is an important cause of sleep-maintenance insomnia because it causes the release of hormones that regulate glucose levels, such as adrenaline, glucagon, cortisol, and growth hormone. These compounds stimulate the brain. They are a natural signal that it is time to eat. Eating to control blood sugar levels throughout the day is the first step in stabilizing the blood sugar levels throughout the night. A good bedtime snack that can keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the night is a small bowl of oatmeal. Or try the Thanksgiving meal trick: tryptophan. Foods high in this amino acid, such as turkey, milk, cottage cheese, chicken, eggs, and nuts (especially almonds), may help promote sleep. In the brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin and melatonin, natural sleep-inducing compounds.

NATURAL HELPERS

There is a long list of natural sleep aids. Check with your doctor before adding supplements or making significant changes to your regimen. The four that I like the best (either alone or in combination) are:

1. MELATONIN is an important hormone secreted by the pineal gland, a small gland in the center of the brain. Melatonin is one of the best aids for sleep. Melatonin supplementation has been found helpful in inducing and maintaining sleep in both children and adults. It appears that the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent when a person’s melatonin levels are low. So it’s not like sleeping pills or even 5-HTP–it will only produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low. A dosage of 3 mg at bedtime is more than enough. I prefer under-the-tongue (sublingual) tablets.

2. 5-HYDROXYTRYPTOPHAN (5-HTP) is converted in the brain to serotonin–an important initiator of sleep. 5-HTP has also been reported to decrease the time required to get to sleep and to reduce awakenings. Boost 5-HTP’s effects by taking it near bedtime at the recommended dosage of 50 to 100 mg.

3. L-THEANINE, a relaxing amino acid found in green tea, is available as a supplement. L-theanine induces a sense of calm in people with anxiety. At typical dosages (100-200 mg) L-theanine does not act as a sedative, but it does significantly improve sleep quality. That makes it a good supporter of melatonin and 5-HTP. At higher single dosages (400 mg) L-theanine does act as a sedative. I like L-theanine the best for children.

4. GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID (GABA) is a natural calming and antiepileptic agent in the brain. In fact, it is one of the brain’s most important regulators of proper function. It appears that many people with anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and other brain disorders do not manufacture sufficient levels of GABA. PharmaGABA is a special form of GABA naturally manufactured with the help of a probiotic (Lactobacillus hilgardii) that has been shown to improve sleep quality.

There are a lot of reasons to try to get a good night sleep without resorting to prescription sleeping pills. These pills are habit forming, have significant side effects, and are associated with increasing the risk of dementia and earlier death.



For more information, go to Doctormurray.com and download my free book on Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia – What the Drug Companies won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know.


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Need A Natural Energy Boost? Here Are 7 Food Strategies

Kara, selected from TreeHugger     July 19, 2014

Food is fuel for our bodies, and our bodies reflect what we put into them. By learning how to eat in ways that boost energy and combat fatigue, you can do a lot to optimize your mental and physical performance throughout the day.

1. Make sure you’re getting enough iron

Iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States. An estimated 10 percent of women between 20 and 40 are iron-deficient. Iron is a crucial nutrient that boosts energy, combats fatigue, and enhances physical and mental endurance. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen through people’s bodies, and without sufficient oxygen, your body will become fatigued. Women need more iron because of monthly menstruation, and small children need a lot because their bodies are growing so quickly.

Focus on making iron-rich foods a part of every meal. Kale, spinach, lentils, beans, sesame seeds, prune juice, edamame, whole grains, red meat, and molasses are good food sources of iron. Here is a longer list from the Dietitians of Canada.

2. Cut the caffeine

Many of us turn to coffee as a way to boost energy instantly but, as a stimulant, it creates an artificial sense of energy that will eventually crash, leaving you feeling more tired than ever. While I’m a big fan of my morning latte and have no intentions of giving it up, it’s a good idea not to go too crazy with the coffee addiction. Restrict your daily intake to 1 or 2 cups a day, or cut it out completely.

3. Drink plenty of water

Keeping hydrated is absolutely necessary for optimal physical performance. Try starting the day off by drinking a tall glass of water to replenish the fluids lost during the night. A glass of water does wonders to wake you up during the early afternoon slump. Avoid sugary juice and soda, as well as caffeine-laden coffee and energy drinks, and make water your go-to beverage throughout the day.

4. Don’t forget the fat

Healthy fats can provide energy. Fat helps to absorb the antioxidants in other foods that you’re eating, which in turn are important for maintaining healthy cells. Fat also makes you feel full for longer, which means you don’t have to eat as much to feel satisfied at the table. I realize this goes against the U.S. and Canadian Food Guides’ recommendations for low-fat, high-carb diets, but there is mounting empirical evidence that that kind of diet is not so good for us after all and is a leading cause for high levels of Type 2 diabetes. Seek out healthy fats, which can be found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocadoes, raw nuts and seeds, and fatty fish.

5. Eat whole grains

Whole grains slow down the digestive process and burn more slowly than refined or processed foods, providing energy over a longer period of time. You’ll also get more nutrients since the individual foods will not have lost any ‘original parts’ in the act of the processing. Choose whole grains such as steel-cut oats, millet, barley, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, and buckwheat.

6. Balance your food intake

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” By properly balancing your daily food intake, you will ensure optimal energy throughout the day. A hearty, energizing breakfast that includes low-glycemic carbs and healthy fats gives you the fuel to start the day. As your metabolism slows before bedtime, it’s important to eat less. Be sure to eat healthy snacks throughout the day to maintain energy, such as raw nuts, seeds, and fruit.

7. Buy fresh and local

The fresher produce is, the more nutrients it has. By buying locally, you’ll minimize the amount of time wasted between harvest and consumption, and optimize the nutritional value for your body. The produce is fresher and usually has not been subjected to irradiation (getting zapped by radiation to kill germs), wax coatings, or prolonged refrigeration.

By Rick Ligthelm, TreeHugger