How to restore your energy

Digestion is key.

In our modern-day world, it’s all too common to hear people talking about a lack of energy. JESSICA SEPEL analyses the role of digestion in our energy, and outlines some holistic ways to get your body back on track.

 ou probably already know that much of your health comes down to digestion. When your digestion is poor, it has a domino effect on the rest of your body. Your digestive system takes the food you have eaten and metabolises it to give you energy. The small intestine gets to work funnelling those nutrients into the bloodstream so your body can use them as fuel. You know how you feel human again after eating a meal when you’re starving? That’s the principle at work. The problem is many of us aren’t digesting our food well enough for our bodies to extract those nutrients for energy.

Processed foods and refined carbs have become staples in our modern-day diets. They’re making our digestive systems sluggish and leaving us with that ‘heavy’ feeling in our stomachs. Refined foods, sugar and alcohol all do their best to eat away at the good bacteria in the gut, leaving us with an imbalance. And as we know, our gut bacteria has a huge impact on energy.
The aim is to eat foods that produce good bacteria, keeping the gut happy and healthy. That’s why I recommend adding lots of greens to your diet, ensuring you get enough fibre, and popping a probiotic every day (with the guidance of a healthcare practitioner). Doing this will give your gut a hit of good bacteria, and help to bring it back into balance.

ENERGY AND THE ADRENALS
We live in a fast-paced, stressful world, so it’s not surprising that many of us are low in energy. But when we’re tired for a long period of time, the damage goes further than just making us feel sleepy or cranky. Our adrenal gland function can be compromised, sending us into what is known as ‘adrenal fatigue’, which is a deep, deep fatigue. Common signs of adrenal fatigue are feeling like you need to sleep all the time, waking up tired, craving salty and sugary foods, decreased appetite and overeating, just to name a few.
There are some simple habits you can adopt to nourish your adrenal glands and keep them functioning properly. Firstly, limit your caffeine intake to one per day – preferably before 10am and never after 3pm. Commit to regular breathing practices. Get eight hours of sleep and try to be in bed by 10pm. Reduce or cut your sugar intake. Ask your nutritionist or naturopath to prescribe some delicious adrenal tonics – they do wonders!

ENERGY AND THE THYROID
When your thyroid function slows down, you’ll feel deeply tired – as if someone has turned off the light switch. If you’re dealing with low energy and suspect your thyroid may be to blame, ask your doctor to test your thyroid levels and especially your T3 levels.

OTHER FACTORS THAT AFFECT YOUR ENERGY
There are many other lifestyle factors that can affect your energy levels. Tailoring your exercise habits to suit your lifestyle is important. My advice is to exercise for energy, not until exhaustion. In my opinion, less is more. As always, you need to tune into your body to find out what works for you. If high-intensity interval training energises you, go for that! If you finish yoga feeling on top of the world, do a few classes a week. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. You’ll have fewer stress hormones pumping through your body and more energy.
Your emotions may also play a part in your energy. If you’re feeling fatigued, reflect on who you’re surrounding yourself with. To be healthy and happy, it’s really important to spend time with people who lift you higher, not drain the living daylights out of you.

Nutrition may be a factor, too. Eat a wholesome, balanced diet with good iron levels to give you all the energy you need to live a healthy, healed life.
In addition, a healthy liver is vital to maintain blood-sugar levels, metabolise carbs, fats and proteins, store vitamins and minerals, regulate hormones and eliminate toxins. When the liver is clogged up thanks to things like alcohol, caffeine, sugar, pollution or medications, it can’t do its job properly.

And that toxic build-up can make you feel awful. Fatigue is a common symptom of an overworked liver. For high energy levels, your liver needs to be working optimally.

Last but not least, are you getting enough sleep? Prioritise quality sleep for better energy levels. We all know how refreshed we feel after a good night’s sleep, and that should be the norm.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.