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10 Foods To Super Boost Your Energy Every Morning

10 Foods To Super Boost Your Energy Every Morning

Are you the up and at ’em type in the mornings?

Or does getting up in the morning drag on longer than the last two Hobbit movies (come at me LOTR fans you know it’s true).

Reaching for a cup of coffee might be your routine but pairing that with a donut or some form of pastry might not be the ideal way to get yourself going first thing as well as keep that energy going.

Here are 10 of the best foods in the morning that will get your moving quicker than Toronto mayor Rob Ford at last call..

1. Water

Wait, water isn’t a food? True but it is the most important macro nutrient. We need water, we are water. Over 2/3rds of our body is made up of water and it is crucial for the balance of body fluids. Among other things these fluids are required for:

  • digestion
  • absorption
  • circulation
  • transport of nutrients
  • balance of body temperature

After 6-8 hours without any it’s a good idea to drink some water to help the cleansing and detoxifying process being in your body. Before you have breakfast or your tea or coffee start with a large glass or two when you wake up. Don’t chug it but sip slowly.

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2. Lemons

While you’re at it with the water you might want to try and squeeze some fresh lemon into it. Lemons help with cleansing the liver and aids in digestion. Lemons are also a great source of:

  • vitamin C
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • potassium

Try squeezing half a lemon into your water each morning for a mineral boost and an antioxidant charge.

3. Ginger

You are already getting some cleansing water with lemon into you for energy, cleansing and detoxifying first thing in the morning, how about throwing one more thing in there. Everyone knows about the anti-nasuea effect of ginger but it can also help to:

  • ease muscle pain
  • improve circulation
  • eliminate inflammation
  • can help with reducing migraine pain
  • acts as an antihistamine and decongestant
  • boosts the immune system

People have been using ginger for a good 4000+ years so a lot of research has been done over time. Grate a thumb sized peeled chunk of ginger and squeeze the juice from it into your lemon water for a zesty, nourishing morning beverage.

4. Blueberries

Possibly the king of fruits the small berry provides great amounts of fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients  play a key role in preventing disease and keeping the body running normally. They are a perfect thing to start the day off because:

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  • high levels of vitamin C
  • cancer fighting properties
  • improve heart health
  • boost brain function and cognitive health

5. Chia Seeds

Yep the product from this commercial is making a comeback..

Actually however chia seeds have been used by Aztec and Mayans for millenia. They contain high amounts of Omega-3 as well as soluble fiber. The can balance blood sugar and are a complete protein allowing for more sustainable energy. Along with that they contain minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. This tiny seed packs a lot of nutrition and health benefit punch.

6. Bananas

The portable and consistent banana is still a top choice for energy and a classic breakfast food. Also thanks to Gwen Stefani we will never have to worry about misspelling them again..

Bananas are technically giant herbs rather than trees and have been quite hybridized over the centuries. An original banana you might not even recognize due to its smaller size, color and vast amount of seeds that made it almost inedible. Bananas as we know them still are one of the best energy and nutrition sources around. Among their many benefits include:

  • high in antioxidants
  • can provide relief from heartburn and acid reflux
  • high in potassium
  • can act as a pre-biotic to grow healthy bacteria
  • lowers blood pressure
  • contain the mood boosting amino acid tryptophan

7. Almonds

Another powerhouse food almonds are packed with:

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  • protein
  • vitamin E
  • copper
  • magnesium
  • fiber

Besides providing energy one of their big draws is ability to lower cholesterol as well as reducing the risks of cancer and heart disease. Interestingly a 3/4 cup of almonds has as much calcium as an 8oz cup of either low-fat, skim or whole milk. They are great raw, as almond butter or almond milk. Some people like to soak almonds over night or for up to 12 hours to help aid in the digestion of them.

8. Eggs

Eggs still are known to get a bad rap. If you can get some farm fresh, free range, non hormone treated chicken eggs you have a great morning food for energy. If you have seen a free range, organic egg yolk you have definitely observed the real difference in color than that of it’s store bought counterpart. Eggs are packed with:

  • an almost perfect source of protein
  • vitamin B2
  • vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A, D and E
  • Calcium & iron (found in the yolks)

There has always been the worry of the cholesterol content in eggs but more studies are pointing to the fact they don’t necessarily cause higher serum cholesterol in the body.

9. Oatmeal

Another long standing classic at breakfast and for pretty good reason. It has high levels of soluble fiber, protein, can lower cholesterol and can help control blood pressure.

I would say it is by far the best choice of all grains but if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity you still might want to be careful. Some people can still have some issues and a lot of oats are known to have traces of wheat in them as they are usually packaged in the same facilities. Look for organic completely gluten free oats to be on the safe side.

10. A Combination Of A Few Of These

Since you put up with the bad jokes here’s a way to combine some of these things together for a perfect energy boosting meal in the morning. You can make this the night before to be ready in the morning.

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  • in a bowl mash 1 banana then add in 4 tbsp chia seeds. whisk in 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract and a pinch or two of cinnamon.
  • place in fridge overnight to thicken
  • in the morning add in more chia seeds to thicken or more almond milk to thin if desired
  • add a topping of blueberries and raw almonds or ideally almonds you have soaked overnight.

So there is a perfect way to start the day a power packed, nutritionally dense and energy promoting meal.

Now I’m off to deal with this hate mail from Peter Jackson..

 

Featured photo credit: Steve Jurvetson via flic.kr

More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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