Feel better with more Energy
I turn 37 this month. Don't get me wrong, I am not rueing it; in fact I love my birthday and look forward to it. But in the past month it was pointed out to me that I say I am tired all the time. So we did some research and I decided to do something about it! These are my top 7 ways to feel better and get through your day without dragging.
7. Take a Vitamin B complex— This supplement is touted to help with a large variety of things, among them energy, mood, skin, immune function, RBC production, and memory. That is because there are 8 vitamins packed into this supplement. Skip the "fortified cereals" and instead eat these things: almonds, spinach/kale, yogurt, eggs, chic/turkey, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, and beets. If you are going take a supplement, make sure it is a complex. You can listen in here to learn about each individually (as well as why there are only 8 but the numbers go up to B12). This is the one I am currently taking, you can buy it here or via the link at the end. If you listen to our podcast, I chose this one for purity and efficacy from Labdoor, which does independent testing of supplements!
6. Eat fatty fish 3x a week or supplement with Omega-3's— I am sure you have heard of Fish Oil, it was the new super supplement a few years ago and for good reason. Omega 3's are essential fatty acids (meaning we have to eat them, our body doesn't make them) sometimes referred to as PUFAs (poly unsaturated fatty acids) that do everything from help cholesterol to keep joints lubricated and reduce muscle soreness. What I didn't know is that there are tons of studies on depression and Omega 3's spanning about 3 decades! The 3 PUFAs you need to know about are EPA & DHA (or the "marine" Omega's) and ALA (flaxseed, chia, walnuts, leafy veggies). ALA is associated with enhanced ability to metabolize food into energy. EPA/DHA are associated w/brain and immune function, cardio vascular health, and physical performance. EPA is more important under the age of 65, so look for one with a high EPA if you're younger. Also, make sure you get it from a trusted, sustainable source whether vegetable or cold water fatty fish. This one is my fav, which you can buy here, or go for the cleanest one here at a higher price, of course.
5. Sleep— It sounds so simple and obvious, right?! Of course getting enough sleep affects our mood and feeling tired, duh. Now raise your hand if you consistently get 8-9 hours of sleep a night. No? Not so much? Yeah, same here. First thing you can do is set a time to go to bed, a time to get up, and abide by that on a daily basis. Now put that phone away 1 hour before bed. Read, take a bath, journal, meditate. Learn to wind down without technology. Studies show that not only does the blue phone lights keep us up, it affects our quality (REM) sleep throughout the night. Lack of sleep not only affects diet but also obviously tiredness. It also causes increased stress hormones such as cortisol which increase cravings and decrease quality diet, this cycle affects both mood and sleep continuously. I do not recommend taking a sleep aid such as melatonin on a regular basis, if it is a once in a blue moon, maybe, but overall it does not contribute to healthy sleep in younger people (think under 70-75). I prefer a magnesium supplement such as this. Life hack- set an alarm on your phone to go to bed just the way you would to wake up, make it just as important!
4. Include Curcumin in your diet— This powerful anti inflammatory that comes from Tumeric has a ton of studies out there, I was surprised at the amount of cancer research that has used it! It can help with mood in the face of chronic stress (and who doesn't have that) as well as cardio vascular and cognitive health. It was found to not only help focus and memory but also study participants reported much less fatigue. No study had an adverse side effect listed. While you can simply add more curry into your diet, it might be easier to supplement your diet. However, Curcumin has a low bioavailability when taken orally so look for a liposomal, nanocurcumin, PLGA-curcumin version or one that has piperine in it. On the label look for: Theracurmin, Longvida, or BioPerine; these are all patented formulas that are used in supplements. Until LabDoor does testing on these supplements I take this one.
3. Have some caffeine— If you know me and have ever tired to have a full blown conversation with me before my first cup of coffee you will have a great picture of why this is on my list. I love coffee. I love the smell, I love the ritual, I love everything about it. I love good coffee but I will drink the shit out of some cheap, nurse's station, crappy coffee. A systematic review found that there is no adverse effect from drinking up to 400mg of caffeine a day. Caffeine is a stimulant therefore it will help increase arousal, concentration, and mood. However, be careful as depending on your age and individual sensitivity, many studies show it can affect sleep. I recommend drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages before noon. If you have an afternoon slump get up, go for a brisk 5 min walk, do some stairs or jumping jacks, perhaps an inversion or two, and have a small snack with protein.
2. Exercise 5 times a week. This means something that raises your heart rate. It can be a power walk, jogging, interval training, spinning, whatever you enjoy that gets you breathing a little harder. While it does not have to be intense, it should last at least 20 minutes. Exercise releases endorphins that help increase mood and also help reduce feeling tired. Studies show exercise has even been show to benefit people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Why exercising reduces fatigue isn't exactly clear but findings suggest exercise acts directly on the central nervous system to increase energy and reduce fatigue. It can be hard to go exercise when you are tired which is why having a group of people who expect to see you is key. Establish routine, make plans to see people to exercise, and go even when you feel tired. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.
This brings us to our number one thing you can do to help improve your mood and give you more energy!
1. Daily stress reduction— Yup, more important than exercise, sleep, and even caffeine (don't tell Beaux I admit to that last one). Stress reduction can take many forms: journaling, yoga, meditation. If you listened to our podcast you heard me explain why stress ruins your body. (If not, you can listen here to episode 13.) Stress Reduction techniques function as a way to self soothe and appear to modulate stress response systems which decreases physiological arousal, or in human terms: allows us to control our bodies and relax better. Connecting your brain and your body via the breath is fundamental to meditation and most yoga practices. This simple skill can help you reduce stress and can be as easy as starting with a guided 5 min meditation. There are a ton of apps out there for your smartphone! Or you can journal when you first get up in the morning, take 5 min to stretch and breathe before bed. Meditation increases DHEA (helps keep you young), lowers blood pressure, lowers cortisol (stress hormone that can wreck havoc on your body), boosts melatonin (better sleep!), and helps keep your energy level constant during periods of stress. I used to attend a 45 min meditation once a week, and have my own practice at home. If you have ever wondered why meditation is called a "meditation practice" then sit with your own brain for 5 min and try to clear your mind. It is impossible! Ergo it is always practice- you practice patience and kindness towards yourself and continually detach from thoughts and emotions and bring your attention and awareness back to your breath, letting everything else go. I struggle with doing this some days, it can be hard for me to sit still when I feel my depression weighing heavy on me. But it is a small thing that makes a huge difference in my life and I have to let go of excuses and make myself the priority.
If you are looking for a little more energy and a mood boost, I hope this post helped. I do not receive compensation for mentioning any of the products listed, I like to do research and think these are the best products currently but if you find a better one please let me know! I am excited to share some of these tips with you since they make a difference in my life—I hope they do in yours as well!
If you are interested in purchasing any of the supplements through amazon click on the product:
PubMed: Curcumin reverses depressive behavior, Efficacy of Curcumin in Depression, Anti Inflammatory Polyphenolic Compounds, Antidepressant response to Omega 3 Supplementation, Omega 3 and white matter changes, EPA over DHA, Omega 3s and Skeletal Muscle, Effect of Magnesium on Sleep, Curcumin Regulatory Effects, High Bioavailable Curcumin, Influence of Piperine on Curcumin, Review of Caffeine Consumption, Exercise Therapy, Changes in beta-endorphin levels in response to aerobic and anaerobic exercise, Quality of life and Yoga practice, Plasma melatonin levels following Meditation, Liposomal Delivery, Effect of Omega 3s to Strength Exercise,