We all know the feeling of being lazy and having no energy to do anything. Whether it’s struggling to get out of bed, getting work done, meeting up with friends or loved ones, trying to go to the gym, taking a walk outside, getting off the couch… whatever the struggle may be, you become let down and unmotivated. For some individuals, being lethargic is a constant struggle.
The bottom line is, if you’re not nutritionally supporting your body, you will have inadequate energy levels. Our bodies need energy to put out energy. This doesn’t mean you should go grab an energy drink, or a high-sugary soft drink to raise those energy levels. No, we’re talking about the energy (nutrients) you must get from food. The body requires specific nutrients in order for us to thrive.
Lack Of Nutrients
The lack of important nutrients can really impact your energy levels. Perhaps, it’s time to evaluate your vitamin and mineral intake. Even if your feeling tired all of the time and think that your eating well, you might still be undernourished. The problem is that many of these vitamins and minerals aren’t produced naturally in the body, so you MUST get them through the food you eat.
How The Lack Of Nutrients Affect Your Energy Levels
Vitamins and minerals are micro-nutrients that play certain key roles in our bodies. They help our bodies to produce hormones, enzymes, and other substances that are essential to produce energy, reduce recovery time of injuries, help with cell maintenance, and keeps our immune system functioning. When we lack these nutrients, the energy production in our cells depletes and we become lethargic.
There are three important nutrients in particular that might be causing you to feel energy loss and fatigue.
Let’s talk about them:
Did you know that about 80% of Americans lack the efficient amount that our body needs of magnesium? Magnesium is concentrated in many food substances and is very important. Magnesium is an important component of chlorophyll which gives plants their green color.
You can find magnesium in green, leafy vegetables. The darker the green pigment is, the more concentrated magnesium becomes. Magnesium can also be found in nuts and meat (especially wild-caught mackerel fish). Even green bananas contain magnesium. Just stick them in your smoothies.
Magnesium is actually involved in over 300 metabolic reactions in your body. That’s huge! The biggest reaction is playing a role in your energy production. When we break down our foods, we require a magnesium-dependent chemical reaction which turns to energy. The molecule ATP is the transporter of energy in all of our cells. The ATP molecule must be attached to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically energetic.
In other words, your body needs magnesium for energy.
How To Get More Magnesium
Think about how many green leafy vegetables you eat, each and every day. Are you getting enough? What about your nut consumption? Walnuts, macadamias, cashews, pistachios, and pecans…these are all sources of magnesium.
If you suffer from alcoholism, gastrointestinal or renal disorders, or if you are elderly, you might be low in magnesium. Talk to your doctor about adequate supplementation in these cases.
The B vitamin family include, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6, B9 (Folate), and vitamin B12. You may find B vitamins in almost every food group such as leafy green veggies, fruits, nuts, dairy and meat.
Collectively, B vitamins are important for brain function and energy production. One or more of each B vitamin are in each of our cells generating energy. With a lack of these B vitamins, there can be consequences on the energy making process.
How To Get More B Vitamins
- Thiamine (B1)– grass-fed beef, omega-3 eggs, and nuts.
- Riboflavin (B2) – milk and dairy products, mushrooms, spinach, and meats.
- Niacin (B3)– asparagus, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, wild-caught salmon and tuna.
- Pantothenic acid (B5)– gets its name from the Greek word “pantos” which means everywhere. So, you can find vitamin B5 in almost anything, broccoli, avocados, egg yolk, liver, salmon, nuts, mushrooms, and green vegetables, for example.
- Vitamin B6– wild-caught fish, pasteurized poultry, organ meats, lentils, nuts, and dark leafy greens.
- Folate (B9)– fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin B12– animal products such as pasteurized poultry, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, and omega-3 eggs.
Overall, it is not too difficult to incorporate food products that are rich in vitamin B levels.
Our bodies are under constant threat, whether its from free radicals, bacteria, or viruses. You may of heard of the term “free radicals”, but what are they really? Well, free radicals are a natural secondary result from chemical reactions that are constantly occurring. These natural reactions include those that turn our food into energy. Even though it’s a natural occurrence, free radicals are capable of damaging our cells and causing disease. They can even permanently change our DNA! Crazy right?
The good news is that our body is a smart machine and can detect damaging free radicals. When we consume food, our body formulates warrior substances to fight off these free radicals which are known as antioxidants.
There’s an incredible amount of substances that act as antioxidants and some are vitamin E, Vitamin C, polyphenols, coenzyme Q10, and mineral selenium are specifically needed to help with the production of energy in our cells.
With that being said, you need to get plenty of polyphenols from your food. They help with fighting off your lack of energy and most importantly they help fight off cell-damaging free radicals.
How To Get More Polyphenols
You can find polyphenols nutrients in seasonal fruits such as berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries), and avocado. Yes, avocado is a fruit. You can also find veggies such as olives, spinach, broccoli, chicory, and red onions that are high in polyphenols. Red wine and green tea also contain polyphenols.
- Vitamin C – look for citrus fruits and berries as well as broccoli and kale.
- Vitamin E – sweet potatoes, olive oil, almonds, and avocadoes.
- Selenium– mushrooms, poultry, omega-3 eggs, Brazilian nuts, and oysters.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – grass-fed beef and organ meats (liver, kidney and heart), wild-caught sardines and wild-caught mackerel fish. (If you don’t consume meat you should consume broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower).
So, Boost Up Your Nutrients
When you’re feeling tired and fatigued, you’re probably not eating nutritiously. When this occurs, you will only become more tired and less eager to get up and get going. But, it’s understandable to feel lethargic at times. There are always factors constantly occurring in our busy lives. Contributing factors of day-to-day stress can contribute to low levels of energy as well and not eating a well-balanced diet.
The bottom line is… You Only Have ONE Body
Think of your body as a car and the food that you put into it is your fuel. Nourish your body no matter how you’re feeling, because a high nutrient diet is your fuel to keep you going.
Important note: If you are still feeling fatigue and it is a concern, visit your doctor because it could be a cause of your thyroid. Your thyroid controls your metabolism, which is how your body converts your food into energy.