Jessica Shand, a Naturopathic Nutrition Coach, gives us her top 5 tips on how to eat to naturally increase energy levels.

If you’re feeling sluggish, fatigued and like you can’t muster up the energy or motivation to get up and get going in the morning then its time to look at what you’re eating as lack of energy is strongly related to how you are fuelling your body. These tips will help you to increase energy levels the natural way.

1 – Increase your intake of antioxidants– focus on upping your intake of colourful vegetables on your plate at each mealtime. Aim to eat 30 different types of plants each week which might sound like a high number, but remember plants include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and herbs / spices too. It’s the variety of plants in your diet that will give you the daily hit of nutrients and vitamins needed to keep you functioning properly. I also recommend taking a good quality organic wholefood supplement such as ‘Eat your Greens’ by Potion London (  it contains spirulina, barley grass, wheat grass, spinach, kale and beetroot and is a good way to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, protein, dietary fibre and essential amino acids all needed to keep you naturally energised. 

2 – Eat your breakfast within an hour of waking up and don’t skip it! Make it your mission to sit down and nourish your body with a delicious well-balanced breakfast no later than an hour after waking up in the morning in order to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This will keep you energised until lunchtime and mean you are less likely to crave sugary energy-draining 

3 – Include a portion of protein and healthy fat in each of your meals in order to balance your blood sugar levels and get your day off to the perfect and energised start. Eggs, avocado and whole meal or seeded toast for example or a nutrient dense smoothie with oats, spinach, avocado and a handful of nuts and/or nut butter and your choice of milk will provide you with a balanced breakfast to keep you feeling satisfied and energised throughout the day.  

4 – Add a small portion of complex carbohydrates to your lunch/dinner i.e., wholemeal wrap, small portion of sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice, legumes, lentils etc. Wholegrains are especially important to add to your lunch to keep you fuller for blood sugar control to stop your body dipping and you feeling fatigued 

5 – Include iron-rich foods in your diet as low iron levels can cause you to feel low on energy and lethargic. Red blood cells play a critical role in transporting oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs throughout your body, a lack of oxygen can make you feel lethargic and weak. Low levels of iron in the blood can decrease your body’s ability to use energy efficiently during exercise or normal physical activities so it’s important you make sure you’re getting enough iron from your diet. There are two sources of iron: heme iron, found in animal protein and fish; and non-heme iron, which is primarily found in plants and foods that have been fortified with iron.

Plant-based foods including lentils, beans, fortified cereals, spinach, dried apricots, figs and dark chocolate (70% and over) and animal-based iron from seafood, lean red meat, liver and chicken. Try to remember to eat a portion of vitamin C such as dark green leafy vegetables, peppers and strawberries alongside your iron source as it will help your body absorb it more effectively. 

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