Nutrition and Hydration for Energy
By: Amanda Capasso | November 25, 2021 | Nutrition
Fatigue and low energy are some of the most common concerns I see in practice. Male and female patients of all ages come in feeling like no matter what they do they just can’t seem to keep up with the demands of their daily lives. The foods you eat and the liquids you consume can either increase or decrease the amount of energy you have throughout the day. To optimize energy throughout the day, the first thing we want to do is switch out simple carbohydrates for more complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are things like oatmeal, root vegetables, beans, whole grains etc. and they differ from simple carbohydrates in their glycemic index/load (how fast/how much they cause your blood sugar to rise). Complex carbohydrates get into your bloodstream much slower providing a steady stream of energy without causing a large spike in blood sugar and then crash.
The other two macronutrients our bodies require are fats and proteins. Our brains are made up of over 50% fat, making dietary fats vital for our brains to function properly2. Unsaturated fats are healthiest for our hearts and brains and include foods like avocados, walnuts, olive oil, salmon and chia seeds which should be consumed daily. Protein provides the building blocks of muscles and tissues and slows down how quickly sugar gets into the bloodstream. Knowing how much protein you’re getting in a day can be tricky and tedious but with the right resources, you will begin to be able to eyeball how much protein you are getting in a day.
Finally, when assessing diet and energy I always look at water intake. Even mild dehydration has been linked to decreased cognitive functioning3 and while there is no exact amount of water that is right for everyone, if you are drinking less than 1 L a day it’s probably not enough. Coffee and soda do not count towards your water intake and the caffeine levels in them can further dehydrate you. Foods that are high in water content and herbal teas are great ways for water “dislikers” to increase their water intake and stay hydrated.
If you want to know if these dietary changes are right for you or more information on how to change your diet book your naturopathic appointment for an individualized dietary approach.
1) Pharr J. Carbohydrate consumption and fatigue: A review. Nevada journal of public health. 2010. Vol 7(1).
2) Chang CY, Chen JY. Essential fatty acids and the human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2009 Dec;18(4):231-41.
3) Popkin B., D’ Anci K., Rosenberg I. Water, hydration and health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug; 68(8); 439-458.