Vicky Pennington shares her tips on looking after your energy levels.
While insomnia can leave you
feeling drained in the day, it certainly isn't the only cause. Colds, seasonal
affective disorder, and stress all play their part, too. But, using a little
common sense and eating more healthily, it is possible to sustain your energy
"It's important for people not to
let their diet slide into comfort eating over winter and forgetting about
nutrition" says Boots nutritionist Vicky Pennington. “In summer, it seems
to be easier to do the right thing, partly because there are so many fruits and
vegetables available, and also because our bodies are more on display. But once
the cold weather starts, we wrap up and start craving treats.
"But it's easy to get back into
good habits" she says. “Sort out the basics: stop smoking, reduce alcohol
intake, and drop the chocolate-bar habit. Consuming such a high concentration
of sugar causes an unnatural rise in your blood sugar levels, followed by a
plummet both in blood sugar and, consequently, energy.
“Swap the processed
carbohydrates such as white bread or pastry for whole grains - in breads and
cereals - which digest more slowly and keep our blood sugar levels steady. It's
important not to skip meals either; small, frequent meals are better to keep
our energy balanced.
And don't forget to stay hydrated, says
Vicky. “Feeling fatigued is one of the early signs of dehydration. In summer,
it's easier to keep track of thirst - and icy water is refreshing to drink. But
in winter, that cold glass of squash isn't as appealing; and often we don't
notice that our bodies are becoming dehydrated. You should still be taking in
six to eight glasses a day, although that can include tea and coffee."
The odd boost from caffeine is nothing
to feel bad about, she adds: “It can give a temporary lift to the metabolism or
mental focus. no more than four or five cups a day though."
Lastly, Vicky suggests taking exercise
to boost energy levels. “It's tempting to stay indoors, in the warm, but do go
out and have a walk to stimulate your endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in
your brain," she says.
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