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Nutrient - Energy and stress - A Winter energy boost

By Kelly Walker DipION Fd Sc VN

Winter is well on its way and the nights are drawing in fast. The darker evenings and cooler weather can make us feel like hibernating. However, despite the change in season, day-to-day activities continue and the winter months can be a bit of a struggle. Energy levels can be tough to maintain and it is easy to get tired and irritable. Often when we are tired it can be hard to concentrate and memory may also be affected.

Winter doesn’t have to be such a struggle and it should be possible to be fun-filled, vivacious and full of life!

A great way to kick start each day is with an energy-rich shake. Ensure that the energy is provided in a slow-release format, like complex carbohydrates, which are much better for ensuring stable energy levels. Foods such as quinoa, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are good sources of protein and aid in maintaining an even energy release. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is a rich source of many nutrients, such as the B vitamins, minerals and amino acids, and is an ideal superfood to include at breakfast time.

Energy levels can also be kept steady during the day by eating regularly and having a good intake of quality protein with each meal or snack. Protein-rich foods, such as oily fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, may assist with a sustained release of energy. Avoiding sugary or white, refined foods is important and never skip a meal or snack as this can create big dips in energy levels.

The B complex vitamins support energy production and resistance to stress. In addition, they are important for mental performance. Folic acid and B12, in particular, are needed for blood cell formation. Good quality red blood cells are needed to transport essential oxygen and nutrients around the body. Low numbers of red blood cells may add to tiredness.

Tyrosine is an amino acid that is used for making the brain’s natural neurotransmitters, dopamine and noradrenalin. These are significant, as they may assist with alertness and concentration, two things we definitely lack when tired! Tyrosine is also used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones, which are in control of our metabolic rate. A lower metabolic rate may give rise to fatigue. Foods that are naturally rich in tyrosine include chicken, turkey, almonds, soya and bananas.

Stress is becoming more and more prevalent and can affect many of us. It can be one of the most common reasons for low energy - and who isn’t stressed at this time of year with Christmas looming? Rhodiola and theanine are both useful in stressful times as they aid the body’s tolerance to various stressors.

Be prepared this winter to boost your energy levels and REST…

R – Replenish reserves of energy-essential nutrients.

E – Energise each morning with a shake for breakfast.

S – Sort out stress.

T – Take pleasure in all the extra activities you will have the energy for this winter! 


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