Winter is here, and so is the cold and flu season. It can be difficult to have the same energy level during the dark season, especially when you have a job and a family to take care of on top of it. Here are some simple tips that will help you boost your energy levels!
Antioxidant rich foods
If you have many balls in the air and don’t have the energy to do it all, it’s very important to eat antioxidant rich foods. Antioxidants work to get rid of the damaging free radicals in the body. They are vital to strengthen and protect the immune system and they guard against diseases and illnesses. Antioxidants will help keep your brain active and boost your energy levels.
To stay fit and healthy during the cold and flu season, it’s especially important to get enough of antioxidants through your diet. Here are some examples of foods that will boost your energy!
- Berries – Eat lost of berries! Acai berries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, raspberries, and strawberries are all rich in antioxidants and nutrients that will boost your energy.
- Bell peppers – Bell peppers is a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, B6 and dietary fibers. The red bell pepper has more antioxidant compounds than the green, yellow and orange bell pepper, according to Dept. of Food Science. To retain as much as possible of the antioxidant activities of luteolin, and the vitamins A and C, eat the bell pepper raw. One cup of raw, red bell peppers supplies around 290% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C and 105% of the RDA for vitamin A. If you want to cook bell pepper, use lower heat for a very short period of time, according to a study from Turkey.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is a nutritive food rich in natural antioxidants, including phenolics compounds and vitamins. It is also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A (mostly as beta-carotene), vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin K, iron, calcium, and fiber. Instead of boiling the broccoli, microwave it to retain more of the antioxidants.
- Citrus fruits – Lemons, limes, grape fruit, and oranges are all very rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin B. Citrus fruits have generally the highest antioxidant activity of all fruits.
- Dark chocolate – It contains the antioxidant activity of flavonoids that are very important for your health. The flavonoids called procyanidins & epicatechins, found in dark chocolate, decreases LDL (bad cholesterol oxidation), lowers high blood pressure, reduces the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow in arteries and the heart. Make sure to eat chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa.
- Nuts – Nuts are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, heart-healthy omega 3- fatty acids, and fiber. They will help you feel full and suppress your appetite. Eat them raw or dry roasted, and avoid nuts that are roasted in oil or packaged. Almonds are the lowest calorie nut, but walnuts have the highest amount of antioxidants among the nuts.
- Red wine & purple grape juice – Red wine contains a lot of antioxidants and studies show that a four-ounce glass of wine per day can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Although non-alcohol wine (purple grape juice) does not significantly lower LDL cholesterol, purple grape juice does reduce blood clotting and has the same antioxidant profile as red wine!
- Spinach – Spinach is one of the richest sources of antioxidants and are filled with carotenoids that have anti- aging and anti-cancer properties. This vegetable is also rich in vitamin K, calcium and magnesium and is therefore great for bone health. Furthermore, spinach contains vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, folate, and iron – all important for your health and wellness.
Adaptogens – for mental and physical performance
The term adaptogen are met only by a few plants due to the strict requirements. An adaptogen has special qualities that positively effects the performance and comes with no harmful side effects.
Adaptogens help the body to cope during stressful periods. Research has shown that adaptogens can improve both mental and physical performance. Moreover, the effect comes quickly. After only 1-2 hours after you take adaptogen supplements, you will feel more energetic and boost your energy levels.
Adaptogens are said to:
- improve the immune system
- provide increased energy
- provide faster recovery
- improve concentration and focus
- reduce anxiety
- improve sleep
- increase well-being
The most well-known adaptogens are:
- Rhodiola rosea – Used for mental stress. Rhodiola rosea is said to enhance mental performance, concentration, and focus. This adaptogen has the best clinical documentation.
- Schisandra – Schisandra is said to be effective against stress symptoms and physical fatigue.
- Siberian ginseng – Used primarily for its ability to protect the physical body against stress, fatigue and infections. It is also said to be good for recovery after physical activity.
- Asian ginseng / Korean ginseng/ Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng) – It is said to lower blood glucose and to have beneficial effects on the immune system. Asian ginseng is a ”Yang” tonic and is warm in nature.
- American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) – American ginseng is said to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and is also said to have anti-cancer properties. American ginseng is a ”Yin” tonic and is cool in nature. According to TCM, it helps balancing out heat and dryness in stomach and lungs. American ginseng is therefore suited for people who have lots of energy (or ”fire energy”), are aggressive, have ruddy complexion etc.
Strengthen your immune system
Nothing makes you more tired than having a cold and flu during winter time. By strengthening your immune system you keep yourself healthy and energetic all year round. Here’s how you boost your enery:
- Probiotics – Make sure to get probiotics. These healthy bacteria are very important for optimal gastrointestinal and overall health, since over 80% of the immune system is located in your digestive system.
- Garlic – This vegetable is packed with antioxidants, so add some extra garlic cloves to your daily diet to boost your immune system.
- Antioxidants and Vitamin C – Eat lost of berries, and colorful fruits and vegetables. Make sure to include at least 5 colors in your diet every day to increase the number of antioxidants you consume.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system, and if you live north of the line of San Francisco-Philadelphia in the U.S, or Athens in Europe, or Beijing in Asia, you probably don’t get enough vitamin D from the sunlight during the winter season. Also, people with dark skin, elderly people, and people who are overweight tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. Make sure to get outside for at least 15 minutes, and eat foods that are rich in vitamin D such as dairy products, egg yolks, and oily fish.
- Exercise – Stress weakens the body and physical exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. Go for daily walks and do some simple exercise routines to boost your immune system. This will protect your body against simple infections such as colds and flu.
- Relax and get enough sleep – Stress and lack of sleep weakens the immune system. To reduce stress get control over your time, have regular breaks, have good eating habits, exercise, laugh often, be outdoors and go for daily walks, meditate for 15 minutes every day, and make sure to get enough sleep.