Nutrition plays a key role in our energy levels. These are 3 Principles that have helped my clients the most when it comes to nutrition and my scope of practice.
Remember, I am not a medical professional and you should always consult your medical provider before changing your supplement routines and nutrition intake.
- Whole Food Intake
- Water Intake
- Supplement when needed
1) Whole Foods
Whole foods play a key role in our energy levels; mainly because they help nourish our bodies more with phytochemicals and antioxidants which helps us prevent any disease from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is basically an inflammatory response in the body. Check out this book called “Deep Nutrition” Here are some benefits of eating whole foods according to the HCF:
- lower rates of heart disease
- Decreased risk of Cancer
- Less chance of Diabetes
There are more benefits and they include increased energy levels and increased bowel movements (from the fiber).
In a study done by Dr. Kats and Dr. Meller their findings suggest that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention”. The study analyzed multiple different diets and the fundamental common ingredients is increased whole foods for the health benefits.
What are whole foods?
Whole foods aren’t just fruits and vegetables, they also include whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Basically, the more you incorporate these foods the better off your energy and health is. Be sure to consult with your medical provider and listen to your body on what it is telling you.
Not all whole foods are best for us and it is important to be aware of what our bodies tell us during those times. For example, when I eat certain peppers, pasta, and beans then my tummy doesn’t agree with me and I feel like crap. The main foods that do make me feel like crap are more processed foods and oils like wings, fries, red meat, and if I have too many eggs. This may not be you and that’s okay. Everyone’s body is different and that is why it is important to see what works best for you.
In summary, eat more whole foods, a little less meat, and less processed/packaged foods in order to have maximal energy levels and health. Disease saps the energy from us and we want to prevent it. You do not have to eliminate junk food or meat, everything in moderation and listen to your body. I am one to enjoy food and I want you to enjoy it too.
2) Water Intake
When we are dehydrated we end up being low on energy, lethargic, and have a foggy brain. Our brains are primarily made of water and so is our bodies. If we aren’t getting enough water then we can’t nourish our body correctly.
Yes, other fluids can help us stay hydrated but water is a necessary and vital fluid. It can be found in food but for our purposes water is going to be something we drink.
According to WebMD, we should drink about half our body weight in water. What I learned in my Fitness Nutrition specialization a few years ago was females should drink 2.7 liters of water and males 3.7 liters. I find the drink half your body weight in water is better as it is based on your unique body structure.
The more we sweat, exercise, and excrete liquids the more fluids we need. It depends on your unique conditions. An elite athlete is going to need more water than a sedentary 9-5 worker who doesn’t exercise much.
I like to use a more intuitive approach with my clients by recommending they drink half their body weight in water, but mainly see if they are thirsty, their pee is dark yellow, or they have a dry mouth as these are indicators for needing more water and they may be dehydrated at that point. I like to drink at least 16 ounces of water per hour and I slow it down towards bed. When in doubt, listen to your body.
3)Supplement when Needed
There is a reason why a Supplement is called a supplement. It is used for when we can’t get enough nutrients from the foods we eat. Before you take supplement consult your healthcare professional (Primary Physician, Dietician, etc.) and make sure you are eating enough whole foods that can give you those nutrients first as those are the preferred sources for our body with bioavailability.
If you do take a supplement, understand why you are using that supplement. For example, I use Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3 because those are recommended for those who don’t eat as much meat. Typically, a lot of people are also deficient in those nutrients. When in doubt, get some blood tests done to see what your unique physiology needs because we are all different.
I see a lot of people in the gym take pre-workout, creatine, and protein supplements. Pre-workout typically has over the recommended caffeine intake and creatine has mixed reviews. Protein supplements usually aren’t needed by those who eat meat and can be easily fixed by eating more protein through actual foods. When it comes to vegans and vegetarians who get their protein from plants, they usually supplement protein more but some don’t need to as they get enough from the plants.
Long story short, do your research, understand why you are taking your supplements, and see if you actually need them.
When you start increasing more plant-based whole foods, less processed foods, increase your water intake, and supplement when needed, then you will notice a dramatic change in your energy. Nutrition isn’t the only fix as stress plays a huge role but nutrition is a great start on getting into the 6 Pillars of Vitality. When you start to eat better your sleep improves and you can decrease your biological stress from inflammatory foods.