4 ways to increase your energy

4 ways to increase your energy

Growing tired of always being tired? Consider yourself in good company.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night in order to be at their best. However, due to work constraints and hectic schedules, few people are able to achieve this ideal.

Though there are many strategies for getting more quality rest – such as establishing a routine, exercising regularly and setting up a "sleep sanctuary," such as keeping the TV off and conditions darkened – people often underestimate the influence their diet can have on their energy levels. In short, what you do and don't eat can have a big impact on your level of attentiveness at the office, on the road, or any other instance in which stamina is required.

Take a look at these nutritional tips for how to get more energy back into your life.

1. Focus on iron-rich foods. A key component to energy is oxygen and blood flow, and the body's cells aren't able to reach their destination without iron. Found chiefly in protein, iron carries oxygen throughout the body and when there's a deficiency, fatigue is what results, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Iron-rich foods include clams, cooked oysters, organ meats, fortified cereals, lentils, spinach and soybeans, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it may seem counterintuitive to not drink coffee, tea, soda or other sources that are typically high in caffeine. The only problem is that after a caffeine high, most people crash, leaving them feeling more tired than they did before. If you have to have caffeine, go for natural sources, found in drinks like black and green tea.

3. Exercise more. What may also seem contrary to logic is exercise. Physical activity requires energy, but based on many studies that have been done over the years, fatigue is effectively countered through regular exercise, particularly among sedentary individuals, according to University of Georgia researchers.

4. Eat more omega-3s. Fat is the most efficient form of energy that the body needs to survive. Some forms of fat are better than others, but none supercede omega-3 fatty acids. A key ingredient of fish oil supplements, they're also found in foods like nuts, flax, leafy vegetables and seafood. The body uses alpha-linoleic acid as a primary source for energy, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

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