August 15, 2023

Boost Your Energy Naturally

A holistic guide to natural energy boosting

Do you also rely on caffeine to get through your day? Maybe sugary snacks, too? Well, that shouldn’t really be the solution. Here are healthy plant-based food options that are designed to help you skyrocket your energy levels! :)

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Visit activeplantbased for professional help and plant-based nutrition training.

Food is fuel

When you consume foods or drinks high in refined sugar, your blood sugar levels spike rapidly, leading to a stream of energy. However, this energy stream is typically short-lived and can be followed by a typical sugar crash, leaving you feeling fatigued and craving more sugar.

Plant-based food holds tremendous potential in enhancing your daily energy levels. If I may say: I speak from years of experience.

A proper combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats can prevent rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, providing more stable and sustained energy throughout the day.

  • Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre. The soluble fibre in oats forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, which slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and prolongs the release of energy. Overnight oats are super-easy to prep and a good idea if you like to have breakfast.
  • Dates are high in natural sugars, particularly glucose and fructose, which provide a quick energy boost. They serve as a good pre-workout snack. 1–2 dates a day is a nice add-on to your diet if you have a sweet tooth.
  • Bananas are rich in carbohydrates, particularly natural sugars like glucose and fructose. They also contain fibre and essential nutrients like potassium, which support heart health and help regulate blood pressure.
  • Chia seeds are high in fibre, healthy fats, and protein! When mixed with liquid, chia seeds form a gel-like substance, just like oats, which acts the same way, providing a gradual and sustained energy release.
  • Fruit like pineapple, mangoes, apples, papayas, pears etc.

Some more options to incorporate into your savoury meals include:

  • Nuts & seeds like walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are nutrient powerhouses containing vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
  • Legumes like beans, chickpeas and lentils. Especially paired with rice, they supply your body with a complete protein profile.

Be careful with…

fruit juices, though. Drinking a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, for example, doesn’t have the same effect as eating an orange, as you’re missing the fibres that keep you satiated. Just imagine how many oranges you’d need to eat to consume a litre of orange juice.

So, unlike whole fruits, which contain fibre and other nutrients that slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, juice lacks fibre and often contains a higher sugar concentration. As a result, the body processes the sugar in juice more quickly, leading to a sudden surge of energy, followed by a sudden drop, also known as a sugar crash.

Staying hydrated

Additionally, staying hydrated and getting regular exercise can also contribute to better overall energy levels and health. How?

Well, water in your body is responsible for an array of functions, like

  • proper brain & cell function
  • blood circulation
  • temperature regulation
  • and most importantly, for keeping your energy levels up, nutrient transport

Dehydration can lead to feelings of lethargy, tiredness, and low energy levels, and as a result, your body’s ability to produce energy efficiently decreases.

Knowing that the average human body consists of about 60% water, you can guess why staying hydrated helps everything run smoothly, including having the proper energy to get on with your day.

Also, for headaches & menstruation pain: Drink lots of water.

Know when to eat

There is no one fits all advice here. You will need to experiment for some time to find out what works best for you. Consider eating at different times throughout your day and adjusting your portion sizes and nutrient density until you find what works best for you and your lifestyle. That can look like

  • having a few larger meals
  • having more frequent smaller meals
  • intermittent fasting
  • your own eating pattern

I personally eat 2 big meals a day with raw veggies & fruits in-between. Lunch is at 13:00 and dinner at 19:00. Before lunch, I only have coffee without sugar or “mylk”.

Align with your circadian rhythm

The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) situated in the brain is your body’s biological clock responsible for generating circadian rhythms. These rhythms play a role in regulating various bodily functions, such as your sleep and eating patterns.

Being physically active regularly helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and your sleeping patterns, in particular. It also helps with the release of hormones such as melatonin and regulate others like cortisol (responsible for stress), which plays a crucial role in falling asleep. [1]

Physical tiredness, temperature regulation, hormonal balance and reduction of anxiety and stress, which are thankfully results of exercise, make it easier for your body to transition into the deeper stages of sleep.

Don’t sleep too much

Naturally, each person requires a different amount of sleep to be able to rest and then function properly.

Keep in mind that more hours of sleep does not necessarily mean you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. You might have felt very tired even after a 10–12 hour sleep.

I can’t give single-sided advice for sleep since it’s such an individual thing. What I can tell you, though, is that you do not need to force yourself to go back to sleep just because you’ve opened your eyes and it’s the early hours. In my opinion, it’s best to get up when you naturally open your eyes and feel rested.

There are days when your body will crave a couple of extra hours of sleep. It’s in your hand how to balance that. A regular bedtime is more important than a waking up time.

Thank you for reading and supporting our love for vegan nutrition.

If you want to know more about our nutrition programs, visit activeplantbased.

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