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3 Simple Diet Changes to Boost Your Energy

3 Simple Diet Changes to Boost Your Energy

I bet that  more than once, you’ve wished you had more energy: going about your day-to-day life feeling like a drone without being able to get anything done. Somehow, what you have in your head (if anything at all, thanks to the lack of energy) just doesn’t seem to materialize. Even interesting things become boring somehow, all due to your low energy levels. Does it always have to be this way? Are we destined to be thrown into these energetic dry spells without warning? I say no, and you have the power to do something about it yourself.

Roller coaster

If you’ve experienced this lethargy, you’re most likely suffering from low energy because you are riding the blood sugar roller coaster: when your blood sugar rises too quickly, your body produces a lot of insulin to cope with the sudden rise. Your body will then store the sugar, which means it is out of reach (at least temporarily), so now you suddenly have low blood sugar instead and feel the need to stock up on more, and the roller coaster is accelerating. This is known as sugar craving.

What you want to do is make sure that you have even levels of blood sugar throughout the day—that way your body can use the blood sugar most efficiently and your system can control everything more smoothly. With a few changes in your diet, you can introduce food that help with controlling the blood sugar levels to give you an energy boost overall.

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Superfood?

Every now and then, we hear the talk of a new “superfood”—usually some new berry that no-one has ever heard of, or an exotic fruit you know you will pay way too much for. Usually the hype dies out after a short period of time and is replaced by something new. Although I am not very keen on the term “superfood,” some things almost warrant that label. The funny thing is that there are some ingredients that have been in most homes for a very long time that fall into that category.

A word of caution though: after reading this don’t go overboard with massive dietary changes. Everything in moderation is the ticket, and it’s best to consider how you can (if you can, considering allergies and so on) add a little of this to your diet and reap the benefits without doing big lifestyle changes.

So here is what I’d like you to consider:

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1. Cinnamon
Cinnamon not only tastes excellent, it also has an effect on your blood sugar level. When the food you eat contains cinnamon, your blood sugar level rises slower than without it. You still have to make sure not to eat too much sugar, but cinnamon can be your friend in keeping your blood sugar in check.

My favorite use of cinnamon is on my cottage cheese at breakfast; cinnamon on oatmeal is another great example. In addition, I’d like you to consider trying cinnamon in your dinner recipes—it’s really great with chicken and chili powder.

2. Almonds
Nuts in general are underrated in my opinion, but it often seems that people either eat way too much of them (and often salted) or not all. If you’re allergic to nuts, it’s totally understandable that you’ll avoid them, of course. Almonds are especially interesting as they are easy to find without added flavor or salt,  and they contain healthy levels of good monounsaturated fatty acids and high levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E can be tricky to get through a normal diet, so almonds are a very sensible choice here. At the same time, the fatty acids will help prevent sugar from raising your blood sugar levels too quickly, which is  another tasty way of getting off the blood sugar roller coaster.

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I usually eat almonds for breakfast, and there they provide my healthy fatty acid intake. Normally I eat 3-6 almonds, so we’re not talking about handful after handful. Being a nut lover, I really have to be careful not to overdo it.  Try chopped nuts in a side salad, or mix them in with your favorite fruit or oatmeal.

3. Cauliflower
I bet you didn’t see that one coming! Cauliflower is a great substitute if you are looking to reduce your consumption of rice, pasta, or potatoes: you can eat it fresh, steamed, boiled,  or as a nice mashed potato substitute when blended with a good vegetable stock. Eating cauliflower will allow you to feel full and satisfied with very few calories, and it will provide you with plenty of  fiber: a winning combination.

Cauliflower is my number-one lunch and dinner potato substitute, though the key to making it interesting is to use spices sensibly—It doesn’t have to taste as dull as most people think it does.

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Conclusion
What I propose in this post may take a little bit of time to produce noticeable results in how  you feel, but give it time: this is about simple changes that can have a big impact on your health in the long run. If you’re looking for faster results, you can try some of the great hacks found here. All in all, these three changes are not what you would find on the cover of a magazine, but in my opinion, they are far better: they’re easily implemented, with no magic involved.

So, what do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Featured photo credit:  yoga woman on green park via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on July 2, 2020

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

How can you get relief from neck pain?

There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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  • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
  • How old are your mattress and pillow?
  • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

Remedies for Neck Pain

Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

1. Everyday Activities

One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

4. Stress and Stress Management

Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

5. Accident or Injury

If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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  • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
  • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
  • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
  • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

 

Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

1. Gua Sha

This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

2. Swimming

You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

3. Chiropractic Massage

Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

  • Cervical Manual Traction
  • Flexion-Distraction
  • Cervical Mobilization
  • Ultrasound
  • Cervical Drop Technique
  • Trigger Point Therapy

There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

The Bottom Line

If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

Reference

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