Kale is a great source of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that your body needs to maintain good health. When you cook with foods that contain calcium, calcium is not lost in the cooking process. Continue reading “Spicy Kale and Rice”
Debilitating fatigue can have physical or mental sources, and both of them leave you feeling like you’re completely out of energy. And this sense of exhaustion will be true even if you haven’t expended any energy through the day!
One of the largest sources of mental fatigue comes from chronic stress and anxiety that are not well managed. This kind of fatigue can also accompany headache, irritability, dizziness or blurred vision, loss of appetite, short term memory problems, lack of focus, difficulty making decisions, and/or lack of motivation.
What To Do?
The most important first step is to identify the source of the stress and work to manage it. This may involve changing that source, creating routines that help keep stressors from “getting inside” where they can create the tension that can lead to fatigue.
Another useful technique shown to help reduce mental fatigue is yoga. This exercise is a perfect combination of physical stretching and mental relaxation. This study showed that even a “a 30 min programme of yogic stretch and breathing exercises … had a markedly invigorating effect on perceptions of both mental and physical energy and increased high positive mood.”
If you are a person who needs structure in your life, in order to follow through on your commitments, join a yoga class. They are now quite commonplace and span a continuum from meditative to being very physically demanding.
That said, if you are a person who can set your own routines in your own home, the routines and postures are easily found online, with plenty of instructions. Whichever one you choose, in the end you’ll be helping calm your mind, exercise your body, and energize your life in the process!
Polenta is served in various parts of the Mediterranean. Some great things about this recipe are that it does not take a lot of ingredients and the ingredients are very basic. They come together to form quite a spectacular dish! A great complement to something you throw on the grill..
- 9 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Bring chicken broth to boil in heavy large saucepan.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Gradually whisk in corn meal. Cook until cornmeal is very soft and mixture is thick and creamy, whisking occasionally, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese, onion powder and butter.
- Season polenta to taste with salt and pepper.
Here’s some irony for you. When you’re low on energy, you just don’t feel like being active. Maybe if you rest for a while, your energy will come back.
But it turns out that this is exactly the wrong answer. It seems like a body might need rest so it can recharge and give more energy, but just being active creates more energy within your muscles and your cardiovascular system.
In fact, a 2017 study showed that participants with work-related fatigue improved their energy levels after six weeks of exercise intervention. This went along with an improved effort at work, sleep quality, and cognitive functioning.
Why would this be?
- Your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient when you are active, so it transports oxygen more efficiently through the day. More oxygen, more energy.
- Research shows that sleep quality is improved when you are active. How active? Just 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity over the course of an entire week. Mood is elevated as well.
- Activity benefits your mental energy levels as well. This study showed that 24 weeks of moderate aerobic exercise improved cognitive function, concentration, and even short term memory.
- Any physical activity that elevates your heart rate can raise your energy level and give you more stamina. Aerobic exercise is the most obvious, but lower-intensity exercises like yoga have also shown benefits as well.
- An excellent exercise for a long term energy boost comes from resistance training. Any kind of resistance work, done consistently, can build background muscle tone. This is important because that muscle burns more calories than anything else except your brain. The effect is that it can raise your basal metabolic rate, leaving you with more energy through the day.
This recipe is an easy way to enjoy in veggies and a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken.
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
- 28 ounces drained bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoots
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups cooked chicken cut in large bite sized pieces
- 4 large celery stalks cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Ground pepper
- Cooked rice or noodles
- In a large skillet, heat oil and cook onions until slightly soft.
- Add celery, mushrooms and 1 1/2 cup chicken broth.
- Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Add water chestnuts, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots.
- In a small bowl, make a mixture of cornstarch, soy sauce and 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir until smooth.
- Add mixture to the large skillet, along with the cooked meat.
- Add freshly ground pepper and mix well.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve over rice or noodles
This is an easy one. Cut the sugar, and here’s why.
Eating foods high in simple sugars causes that glucose to be absorbed quickly into your digestive tract. In response, your body quickly produces a spike of insulin (which quickly ushers that blood sugar into your tissues).
In fact, this causes your body often to over-produce insulin, leaving NO sugar left in your body for energy later. This is why eating candies or cookies or coffees or indeed any high-glycemic index carbohydrates can leave you tired and hungry within 90 minutes of eating!
The nourishment you do consume just doesn’t stick around – trust me, the calories do, but the satisfaction from them does not.
Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil. In general, high-carbohydrate foods have the highest glycemic indexes. Proteins and fats have glycemic indexes that are close to zero.
There are boosters of energy, and there are busters of energy. Today we’re going over the boosters.
Specific nutrients can boost your energy level in the short term, but also in the long term. The best part about these boosters is that they also happen to be delicious!
Everyone knows that the caffeine in coffee and tea provides a short term boost in alertness. The downside of coffee’s upside is that your body can build up a tolerance over time. In other words, if you perk more cups per day, your body will perk up less and less to that same amount. The best coffee is the one without added sugars. Also, be careful in the afternoons, because it can contribute to insomnia. Sleep deprivation will deprive you of the energy boost you were looking for by taking the coffee in the first place!
Key Minerals: Magnesium and Iron
These two minerals are active in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body – like breaking down glucose for energy, and carrying oxygen to throughout the body! The nutrition research is clear: the absence of these two minerals leads to fatigue, and their addition can boost energy levels. A deficiency can lead to fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, shortness of breath, weakness, pale color, headaches, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, and more.
Another Source of Iron
It is good to introduce healthy dietary changes to include more iron-rich foods, but another easy, effective way to increase your iron levels is to use cast iron cookware.
Several studies have shown that iron can be released into foods that are cooked in iron cookware. One found that the iron content of foods cooked in iron pots/pans increase by 16.2 percent compared to those cooked in other types of pots. Another huge benefit is that they are inexpensive and with very simple care will last a lifetime!
It may sound too good to be true, but cocoa can increase your energy levels in the long term through the specific kind of antioxidants most abundant in cocoa: catechins and epicatechins. These two do two very important things to increase your muscles’ ability to create more energy for you to use. They increase the amount of nutrients your muscles have to work with, and also increase the micromolecular organelles that produce the energy itself.
These two effects help give you more energy through the day. How much more? According to one study, cocoa epicatechins alone produce a 30% increase in fatigue resistance and a 30% increase in new blood supply. However, the increase in energy that you get from combining cocoa epicatechins with exercise amounts to a boost of 50%! In layman’s terms, that’s a huge increase in your ability to complete your exercises and to go through a normal day with increased energy.
How long will it take for these changes to occur? It took 2 weeks for experimental animals to see a 30% increase in fatigue resistance. In a separate study, it took 4 weeks to see increased capillaries and mitochondria. And subjects with type 2 diabetes who were administered 100 milligrams of epicatechins per day for 3 months showed a significant increase in mitochondria. In fact, before taking the epicatechins, their energy-producing mitochondria had all but withered away. It was only with the addition of the high-cocoa chocolate that their mitochondria were restored.