- Maximize your energy by starting your day with a boost in serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter often referred to as the happiness hormone. It also reduces your appetite and gives your consistent long-term energy! In simple terms, serotonin is what some anti-depressants do to improve your mood.
So, how can you raise serotonin naturally? The easiest way is to start your day with a lean protein breakfast with no sugar. This also helps your body burn fat. Throughout the night your body has been repairing and building. Giving your body nutrient-dense protein first thing in the morning will give you steady energy throughout the morning.
Try: A veggie omelette (one egg, two egg whites) served up with whole grain sprouted bread and all natural almond butter.
- Vitamin B12 supplementation increases your energy and happiness factor
B-12 has a key role in the function of the brain, nervous system and the formation of the blood. A doctor can check your current levels and supplementation may be necessary. If you feel lethargic, moody, are having difficulty concentrating or remembering things, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, you could be suffering from a lack of B12. You can get a boost of B12 in great quantities from seafood, poultry, pork, and dairy products.
Try: Adding plain no fruit added 0% fat Greek yogurt to one of your daily meals. Stay away from yogurt with added fruit, which contains added sugar. If you want to have a fruit yogurt, add in a scoop of fresh berries.
- Potassium is an essential nutrient
Potassium triggers the heart to pump blood through the body and is also critical for muscle contraction, kidney filtration and nerve conduction.
Try: Beans, dark leafy greens (spinach), sweet potatoes, potatoes (baked, not fried), bananas, avocados, lima beans, kiwi, dried fruit, mushrooms, peas or plain no fruit added 0% fat Greek yogurt.
- Getting restful sleep is essential for daily energy
For some, the stresses of life make getting good sleep difficult. A snack or magnesium and zinc supplement before bed might help.
If you’d like a more natural alternative, try 12 raw, unsalted almonds before bed. Magnesium relaxes the muscles and is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses, regulation of body temperature, detoxification, energy production and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Women of all ages benefit immensely from the intake of magnesium. Besides keeping osteoporosis at bay, magnesium’s health benefits include relief from symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Additional crucial health benefits of magnesium include protein synthesis, relief from bronchospasm (constricted airways) in the lungs and improvement of parathyroid function. It boosts the bio-availability of vitamin B6 and cholesterol, improves muscle functioning and prevents osteoporosis, insomnia, constipation, heart attacks, hypertension, constipation, migraines, kidney stones and gallstones.
Try: Raw unsalted nuts almonds, whole grains, wheat germ, fish and green leafy vegetables.
- Water is your lifeline
Water cleanses you, hydrates you and keeps your mind focused. Exercise depletes your body’s water supply along with minerals and electrolytes.
Drinking a minimum of eight glasses a day is a bit more than the average, but it is essential for your body. It may be difficult at first, but set a goal to drink a glass upon rising and before you go to bed at the very least. Before drinking that soda, think about substituting a glass of water.
While many athletes believe sports drinks are a great solution for replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes when exercising, many of these products contain almost two thirds as much sugar as a soda. Those high sugars levels combined with sodium, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial flavours actually defeat the rehydration process.
Try: A cup of warm water with honey and a squeeze of lemon or lime, or a mug of homemade vegetable broth. In the warmer months try a fungria. Mix a pitcher of water with an assortment of fresh fruit, stir, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
5 challenges for the next 30 days:
- Energy throughout the day with a serotonin surge – Lean protein and veggies at every meal to keep energy levels even and you feeling happy.
- Energy and Stamina – To increase energy levels, check your B12 levels and supplement if necessary.
- Heart Health – Potassium daily from natural sources to keep your heart strong and blood pressure low.
- Sleep sound – If the need is there, supplement with magnesium and zinc at bedtime.
- Hydration – Drink approximately eight glasses of water a day. Remember to have one eight-oz glass of water in the morning and one at night. Do not consume sugary drinks, colas, energy/sport drinks or any beverage high in sugar and caffeine. Reduce you caffeine intake to a maximum of two coffees per day or switch to a naturally decaffeinated product.
In our fast-paced, one-miracle-pill-solves-all world, we often neglect to see the ramifications of nearsighted approaches. The solution to getting healthy, strong and energized are not without effort, but they are simple and without costly healthcare fixes.
Please check back next week when I will expand on the need for micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
“Achieve Peak Performance Through Optimum Nutrition!” – Ian Harris
Ian can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow his nutrition tips on Facebook or visit www.ianharris.ca