From work to family, life is full of ‘micropressures’ that make it hard to switch off. Nutritional therapist Rosie Millen guides us through how to tackle burnout, starting with the best foods for boosting your energy…
The first pillar of recovering from burnout is your diet. There are so many myths about healthy eating, so here I give you a tour of the dos and don’ts of foods when it comes to boosting energy and recovering from burnout.
We all want energy. And the most simple change we can make to increase our energy is with our diet. So how do we eat for energy? The number one way to achieve sustainable energy levels throughout the day is to balance your blood sugar levels.
Every time you eat, the sugars from the foods you have eaten are released into your bloodstream in the form of glucose. This triggers the pancreas to release insulin to transfer the glucose out of your blood and into the cells of your body where it is used for energy.
Your body can only deal with one to two teaspoons of glucose in the blood at any one time. However, the more sugary foods you eat, the higher your blood sugar levels will rise. The problem with rapidly rising sugar levels is that they will come down at an equal speed.
The initial energy rush will be followed by an energy slump. This is when you start to experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, sweating, palpitations and irritability.
Here’s a rundown of energy-giving vs energy-sapping foods to keep in mind. I’m not saying the foods to avoid are the devil – I just want you to feel more energised as quickly as possible.
FOODS THAT SAP ENERGY
Cut out sweets, fizzy drinks etc.
Drinking alcohol wreaks havoc with blood sugar levels, robs vitamins and minerals from the body and causes inflammation.
Cakes, biscuits, doughnuts – all the things you love!
Following the initial buzz you might get from coffee, your energy levels will feel totally zapped.
These are usually packed with sugar AND caffeine and will make you crash and feel horrid.
These have been stripped of nutrient content and most likely have had artificial flavourings and chemicals added to them.
FOODS FOR BOOSTING ENERGY
Found in foods such as red meat, fish, chicken, eggs and protein smoothies, proteins provide you with essential amino acids – ‘essential’ because your body can’t make them.
Found in avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds, healthy fats provide you with essential fatty acids.
These release their sugars into the bloodstream much more slowly than refined carbs, because they contain fibre. I call them smart carbs. Smart carbs include beans, quinoa, lentils and chickpeas.