Features

Energy Crisis

By Ken Babal, CN
Published July, 2009

Is there anybody who couldn’t use more energy? Not the false energy from stimulants, but the calm, consistent energy that lasts all day and gradually gives way to a deep, restful sleep. High energy makes it possible to accomplish great things on the kit and off. It also contributes to a positive mood and a strong immune system.

Fatigue is one of the most common health complaints. Of course, it’s only natural to feel fatigued on occasion. But if fatigue persists, and illness has been ruled out, the solution probably lies in your diet and eating habits. Are you eating right, managing stress, exercising, and getting eight hours of sleep regularly?

The body’s preferred fuel is carbohydrate-rich plant foods — vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The starches and sugars in these foods are converted into glucose, which powers muscles and the brain. Refined flour products and highly sugared foods don’t serve this purpose very well because they lack the fiber and nutrients necessary to metabolize them properly. Instead of being digested gradually, they are dumped into the bloodstream rapidly, causing a spike in blood sugar. This sudden rise prompts a surge of insulin to lower the blood sugar, often resulting in a dramatic drop that can’t be ignored. Since blood sugar is the brain’s primary fuel, we might experience brain fog or a craving for more sweets or stimulants, creating a vicious cycle.

Many people mistakenly believe that caffeinated beverages provide energy to the body. Although they contribute calories, the buzz we feel comes from caffeine’s effect on the adrenal glands, which pump out adrenaline and other stress hormones. In effect, caffeine forces your glands to work harder so you use up your reserve of energy faster than you normally would. With continued or excessive use, caffeine just makes you nervous and more tired due to exhausted adrenals. Instead of caffeine, try natural tonic herbs like ginseng and eleuthero. You won’t feel a jolt, but you’ll have more stamina and a better sense of well-being.

It’s a tragedy that many of us are functioning at a sub-optimum energy level. Too many people barely make it through the day, not realizing how good they were meant to feel. By paying more attention to your body’s particular needs, you can go from fatigued to feeling fantastic!

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