Who doesn't wish for more energy at least a few dozen times a day? Of course, you know that a good night's sleep, regular exercise, and effective stress management can give you a much-needed boost. But to further figure out why you're slumping, you need to pinpoint the energy-sucks in your diet. (Hint: Those low-carb meals aren't doing you any favors.) "Our bodies rely on the energy and nutrients we get from food, so what you eat -- and how and when you eat it -- can either drain you or sustain you," says Jennifer Sacheck, PhD, associate professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. These fuss-free nutrition tweaks will give you more oomph every day.
1. You Go Long Stretches Without Eating
Food Fix: Snack early, snack often.
Every time you go more than two hours or so without eating, your blood sugar drops -- and that's bad news for your energy. Here's why: Food supplies the body with glucose, a type of sugar carried in the bloodstream. Our cells use glucose to make the body's prime energy transporter, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Your brain needs it. Your muscles need it. Every cell in your body needs it. But when blood sugar drops, your cells don't have the raw materials to make ATP. And then? Everything starts to slow down. You get tired, hungry, irritable and unfocused. Grab a bite every two to four hours to keep blood sugar steady. Nosh on something within an hour of waking -- that's when blood sugar is lowest.
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