Feeling over-tired, no energy? You might think that with so many of us still working from home, avoiding the early commutes and enjoying more free time, we’d be less tired. But after a year of lockdowns, the boredom of pandemic restrictions, not to mention all the extra anxiety over Covid, many of us are feeling sluggish.

A recent survey by Vitabiotics found 25% of adults, and a third of women, are ‘not feeling very energetic’, with many Brits turning to coffee, exercise and power naps for an energy boost.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tired female entrepreneur yawning in office.

Some experts believe a lack of energy is often directly related to our diet and lifestyle and the authors of two recently published books agree.

In I’m So Effing Tired, medical doctor and nutrition expert Dr Amy Shah says the key to feeling revitalised is tapping into a powerful energy trifecta (a situation where you achieve three things) relating to the relationship between the gut, immune system, and hormones.

Shah explains that by increasing your intake of fibre-rich, prebiotic vegetables, intermittent fasting, and using simple exercises to ease anxiety, within just two weeks, you’ll feel your energy surge. In three months, you’ll “feel like a whole new person”, Shah says.

Meanwhile in The Energy Paradox, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Steven Gundry says low energy is generally caused by chronic inflammation, an unbalanced gut, and dysfunctional energy production in our cells. And the way to tackle these problems? Simple dietary and lifestyle changes.

How to boost your energy levels

We checked in with both authors to talk tiredness and tapping back into our energy again…

1. Apart from insomnia, why might people feel tired all the time?

Shah says: “The common reason for feeling tired all the time is the disruption of our energy trifecta – the complex relationship between your gut, your immune system, and your hormones.” The way to tackle this disruption, she says, is by changing what and when you eat, and reducing anxiety.

Gundry says: “Surprisingly, the number one reason for being tired all the time is a leaky gut causing chronic inflammation that uses up most of our energy. The second reason is we’re ‘overfed and undernourished’. Our food no longer contains the  important vitamins and minerals it had 100 years ago, and it’s been processed to overwhelm the energy producing organelles, the mitochondria, in our cells, so energy production grinds to a halt, similar to a motorway during rush hour – too many cars, no movement.”

2. When should you see a doctor for tiredness?

Shah says: “It’s essential to see a doctor if your fatigue has persisted for two or more weeks. And if you have other symptoms, such as coughing up blood, a change in the way your guts are working, heavy periods or a lump somewhere it shouldn’t be. If despite making an effort to rest, reduce stress, choose a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids, you still feel tired, call your doctor for an appointment.”

Gundry says: “Sadly, most of my fatigued patients have seen a doctor and have been told there’s nothing wrong, because the tests they use aren’t generally useful to help discover the underlying reasons.” Gundry suggests people with fatigue should ask for tests to measure inflammation markers in their blood, and thyroid function.

3. What should you eat to improve energy levels?

 

Shah recommends eating at least six-11 servings of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day to boost your energy levels. Eat specific fruits like bananas, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc, and green leafy vegetables, butternut squash, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.

It’s also important, she says, to include complex carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index and high fibre, seeds, nuts, healthy fats like olive oil, fatty fish like salmon, good-quality protein like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, sardines and eggs. In addition, she suggests aiming to drink at least 3-3.5 litres of water a day: “If we don’t drink enough water, it can leave us feeling sluggish, fatigued and hungry.”

Gundry says: “Add more greens and tubers like yams to your diet, and supplement with ground flax seeds or psyllium husks to feed the good bacteria in your gut prebiotics. When you do so, they manufacture postbiotics, which literally turbocharge your energy production.”

4. What should you avoid eating?

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by WELLNESS by Dr. 🅰️my Shah👩🏾‍⚕️ (@fastingmd)

Shah recommends limiting alcohol intake, and drinking caffeine only sparingly. “Although caffeine can temporarily boost your energy levels, once the effect wears off, you’ll be left tired and in some cases irritated, with a headache,” she says.

She also suggests keeping soy and processed snacks to a minimum, not using processed vegetable oils for cooking, decreasing white foods like pasta and bread, and limiting or avoiding gluten, sugar and processed dairy. Shah points out: “Everyone reacts differently to specific foods, but some foods can cause you inflammation and disrupt your hormones – and inflammation is an energy-leech.”

Gundry says: “Eliminate whole grains, especially wheat, oats and corn from your diet. They are the number one cause of leaky gut, despite you being told they’re essential for good health.”

5. What lifestyle measures will increase your energy?

Shah says simple energy-increasing measures include going to bed and waking up at the same time daily, sleeping seven to nine hours most nights, getting 10-20 minutes of sunlight every day before 10am, limiting exposure to blue light from screens in the evening as much as possible, and exercising mindfully.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dr. Steven Gundry (@drstevengundry)

Gundry says: “The most important thing to do is slowly reduce your daily eating window – the time you start eating to the time you have your last food later in the day. Limit that time to six to eight hours per day slowly, with weekends off. This is the most powerful energy-improving lifestyle change you can make. I call it timed controlled eating, but some people know it as intermittent fasting.”

Plus, he recommends ‘exercise snacking’ – short bursts of movement, as little as walking up and down stairs for a minute, or doing deep knee bends while brushing your teeth twice a day.

6. What lifestyle factors should you avoid?

Shah says people shouldn’t sleep really late, stress over little things, be sedentary, eat big meals at night, or socialise with people who are energy-drainers.

And Gundry simply adds: “Try not to eat any food within three hours of bedtime.”

The Energy Paradox by Dr Steven Gundry is published by Harper Wave.

The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-and-Go Has Got Up and Gone (The Plant Paradox Book...
351 Reviews
The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-and-Go Has Got Up and Gone (The Plant Paradox Book...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gundry, Gundry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2021-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I’m So Effing Tired by Dr Amy Shah is published by Piatkus. 

I'm So Effing Tired: A proven plan to beat burnout, boost your energy and reclaim your life
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Shah MD, Dr. Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2021-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You may also be interested in…

Wise Living Magazine may receive a small commission to help support the running of this site from purchases made from links on this page, or some links may have been sponsored to be included in the article. Affiliate or sponsored links do not influence our editorial or articles published by Wise Living.

ADVERTISEMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.