“I’m so tired of being tired.” It’s one of the most common things people say to me when we start talking about their health and diet. The truth is that fatigue is a symptom common to lots of different imbalances and ailments (anemia, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancers, etc.). It can also be the result of stress or anxiety, not enough exercise, or factors beyond your control like kids waking you up at night or a snoring partner.
The good news is that there are things you can do to start feeling energized again, and what you’re eating can be a big part of the puzzle. Here we’re going to look at three things you can start doing right away to help get your energy back.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Get your minerals to help relax and stay asleep
Make sure you’re getting enough minerals, in particular, magnesium and calcium. Magnesium and calcium work together to calm the body and help relax muscles. Calcium helps you fall asleep and magnesium helps you stay asleep so deficiency in either of these minerals can have an impact.
Magnesium-rich foods include spinach, bananas, nuts, seeds, and fish. Calcium rich roods include dark leafy greens, almonds, salmon, and sesame seeds. Making your own bone broth is also a nutrient-dense way of making sure you get calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals found in bone, and these tips may also help you sleep better.
Melatonin helps induce sleep
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone. Cherries are one of the richest food sources of melatonin. If you can’t buy fresh cherries, try tart cherry juice about an hour before bed.
Melatonin is made from the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is made from the amino acid tryptophan. Boost tryptophan and you increase serotonin and then melatonin. Foods high in tryptophan include eggs, spirulina, spinach, shellfish, fish, turkey, avocados, walnuts, dates, papayas and bananas.
2. Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
Many people are spending their day riding the blood sugar roller coaster, which takes an enormous toll on your system and leaves you drained of energy. Stabilizing your blood sugar throughout the day will go a long way in helping you boost your energy, so it may help you to try these:
- Try to build a daily diet made up primarily of low-sugar foods (foods low on the Glycemic Index) such as green vegetables, meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and low-sugar fruits such as apples, pears and berries.
- Cinnamon has also been found to help stabilize blood sugar. Sprinkle it on everything!
- Chromium is a mineral that helps balance blood sugar and also kill your cravings for carbohydrates. Chromium is only found in small amounts in most foods but some good sources include Brewer’s yeast, broccoli, cinnamon, ginger and cumin.
3. Balance Your Hormones
Support Your Adrenals by Reducing Stress
The adrenal glands sit right on top of your kidneys and are responsible for many functions, one of the biggest of which is managing stress. Restoring your adrenal function is a lot about lifestyle (sleep, reducing stress, etc.) but diet can also play a role. In addition to managing stress, the adrenals work to help stabilize unbalanced blood sugar. Don’t make them work any harder than they need to! Follow the suggestions above to balance your blood sugar through your diet, and support your adrenals with:
- B-complex vitamins: The B-complex vitamins offer great support for adrenals. Foods rich in B-vitamins include liver, grass-fed meat, wild seafood, seeds, mushrooms.
- Essential fatty acids, specifically the Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids are also important to nourish the adrenals. Try fish oil, flax seeds and chia seeds.
Could Your Thyroid be Dragging You Down?
Underactive thyroid or “hypothyroid” is an issue that is very common among people who are busy, stressed and overtired. Hypothyroid is usually not an issue with the thyroid gland itself; it’s the result of an underlying condition – often adrenal fatigue as discussed above. If you suspect underactive thyroid, follow the steps above to support adrenal glands first. In addition to those, keep in mind that:
- Iodine and selenium are important nutrients to support the thyroid gland. Iodine is richest in sea vegetables (nori, dulse, wakame) and sea salt. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, seafood, fish and sunflower seeds.
- Omega 3 fatty acids are also important for all aspects of hormonal health. Try fish oil, flax seeds and chia seeds.
- Also, try to avoid goitrogenic (thyroid inhibiting) foods such as kale, broccoli, cabbage in their raw form.
Being tired all the time is no way to live. Chronic fatigue and low energy are your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. The reasons won’t be the same for everyone, but it’s worth taking the time and doing your research to try to determine where your own body needs a little more love.
When you crack the code and your energy comes flooding back you’re going to be so glad that you did!