Pratt: Fatigue fighters: Natural ways to increase your energy

To cope with the highs and lows of energy many people reach for coffee, sugary foods and drinks or other stimulants.

Even though Blue Monday is behind us, many people experience fatigue and stress year-round.

To cope with the highs and lows of energy, you may reach for coffee, sugary foods and drinks or other stimulants.

Although these will give you a temporary boost in energy, overall they deplete your body of vital nutrients and will lead to long-term fatigue.

To boost your energy naturally there are a variety of choices.

Simply increasing your water intake to two to three litres per day can have a profound effect on your energy.

This is because your body requires water for so many metabolic functions, and when you are dehydrated your body goes into conservation mode for water instead of full metabolic function.

Also from a dietary perspective, eating regular small meals (especially breakfast!) throughout the day can keep your energy up.

This works because you are always putting fuel in the tank, which keeps your blood sugars stable and energy high.

However, the type of food you eat can also have effects on your energy.

Proteins (nuts, seeds, eggs, lean meats, cheese, beans) and complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) will keep your energy up longer and higher than refined carbohydrates, fatty foods and sugars.

Aside from your diet, you can also increase your energy through exercise.

Regular daily exercise is best, but also taking a 10-minute walk away from your daily routine can help increase your energy throughout the day.

If you find that you are having energy lows during work, consider lightening your work load (if possible) to decrease stress that can negatively impact your energy, take small breaks throughout the day versus one long break, or switch up your daily routine to avoid an energy rut.

Sleep can also be an important part as to why your energy is low.

Not sleeping enough, not getting good quality sleep or irregular sleep cycles can all affect your energy levels.

Ideally between six to nine hours of sleep for an adult, and nine to 12 hours for children, will help your body with fatigue.

Also, try to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (even on weekends) to help set your bodies natural rhythm to prevent fatigue.

If you have tried some of these techniques in the past, or feel like your fatigue is something that requires more treatment, consult a physician to test your blood to rule out any physiological reasons for fatigue.

If you have been tested and still have not found an answer to why you experience fatigue, naturopathic medicine may be able to help.

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