Low energy is one of the more common concerns I see in practice. It ranges from being low-grade but chronic, all the way to debilitating and being unable to properly function or even get out of bed.
What is common across the board is people experiencing a drop in energy in the afternoon. This could be driving you to get that extra coffee, pop, muffin or sugar fix to get a quick boost.
However, if you tackle the underlying cause of what is making you feel low in the afternoon to begin with, not only will you restore your energy levels, but you avoid that junk that is driving this cycle to begin with.
What is the underlying cause you may ask? HYPOGLYCEMIA.
Hypoglycemia is the medical term for a drop in blood sugar levels. If severe, symptoms can include shakiness, nervousness, sweating, chills, clammy hands, confusion, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea and can even lead to fainting.
The main cause for hypoglycemia in the afternoon is actually having too many carbs for lunch. The more carbs you have, the more your blood sugar levels will spike, causing insulin to spike, and that will all be followed by a big drop.
Blood sugar levels are like a rollercoaster. The steeper the hill up and faster the ride will be back down. Having a lot of carbs for lunch, will send you crashing in the afternoon. Therefore, to really get down to the bottom of this issue and prevent it, you want to opt for a low-carb lunch.
Avoid foods such as pasta, sandwich, rice, potatoes and desserts such as cookies or donuts. Instead opt for vegetables with a side of protein and fat. For example, have a salad with nuts or seeds, fish or chicken, avocado and lots and lots of olive oil. Have a soup with meatballs or chicken (but no noodles); add broccoli and cauliflower instead. Have egg or tuna salad with cherry tomatoes and chopped cucumbers and celery. Vegetable stir-fry (without noodles or rice) but with added protein such as tofu, shrimp or beef, cooked with lots of coconut oil and sesame seeds is another great option.
Most people know about the importance of adding a protein source, but not many know about how adding healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, eggs as an example can help your energy levels. Fats make you feel fuller and don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, therefore you will actually go longer until the next meal and you won’t have any cravings and those ups and downs that carbs are notoriously known for.
Give this a try, change up your lunch (and ideally avoid the carbs for breakfast too) and within a week or two you should start seeing a noticeable shift in your energy levels. You will no longer be needing that coffee and muffin in your afternoon break, and instead you will find yourself clear-minded, efficient and on top of your game.