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Ten ways to boost your energy

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BY Rebecca Laske 16 September, 2008 – 08:56

Follow this ten-step energy-boosting programme for two weeks and see the difference it will make to your energy.

1. Learn to breathe

This may sound stupid but many people don’t breath properly. Take this test – take a deep breath in. Notice if your stomach goes in or out when you inhale. Your stomach should go out when you inhale and in when you exhale.

When you are not breathing properly you can reduce the amount of oxygen you take in by up to one/third and we need oxygen for energy.

Many types of meditation focus on the breath as a way of strengthening the  constitution and boosting energy. But try this simple breathing exercise.

Squat resting your buttocks on your heels. Straighten your back, put your hand on your hips and inhale deeply. Hold for a few seconds then exhale for as long as you can, contract your abdominal muscles and hold for five seconds. Then repeat.

In a study published in the May 2, 1998, issue of The Lancet, researchers working with cardiac patients at the University of Pavia, Italy, have established an optimum healthy breath rate of 6 breaths a minute. When you consider that the average resting breath rate is 12-14 times a minute, this represents a substantial reduction in breath rate. Patients who learned to slow down their breathing through special deep breathing exercises ended up with higher levels of blood oxygen and were able to perform better on exercise tests. According to the report, low blood oxygen, which is common in cardiac patients, “may impair skeletal muscle and metabolic function, and lead to muscle atrophy and exercise intolerance.” The authors of the study conclude that their findings support other research “that report beneficial effects of training respiratory muscles and decreasing respiratory work in (cardiac heart failure patients), or physical training in general.”

The Importance of Breathing Through Your Nose Except for emergencies, our breathing was designed to take place mainly through our nose. When we breathe through our nose, the hairs that line our nostrils filter out particles of dust and dirt that can be injurious to our lungs. If too many particles accumulate on the membranes of the nose, we automatically secret mucus to trap them or sneeze to expel them. The mucous membranes of our septum, which divides the nose into two cavities, further prepare the air for our lungs by warming and humidifying it.

There is another important reason for breathing through the nose. This has to do with maintaining the correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood. When we breathe through our mouth we usually inhale and exhale air quickly in large volumes. This often leads to a kind of hyperventilation (breathing excessively fast for the actual conditions in which we find ourselves). It is important to recognize that it is the amount of carbon dioxide in our blood that generally regulates our breathing. Research has shown that if we release carbon dioxide too quickly, the arteries and vessels carrying blood to our cells constrict and the oxygen in our blood is unable to reach the cells in sufficient quantity. This includes the carotid arteries which carry blood (and oxygen) to the brain. The lack of sufficient oxygen going to the cells of the brain can turn on our sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” response, and make us tense, anxious, irritable, and depressed. So remember, when possible, to breat

2. Detoxify

Cleansing the system through liquids is an effective way of flushing out  toxins to allow the body to function more efficiently and boost energy levels.

Cut out all stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol chocolate and fizzy drinks for at least two weeks. Instead drink lots of water, up to three pints a day, and drink cleansing teas such as camomile, mint and grapefruit.

You might also want to take a Milk Thistle supplement to aid the detoxification of the liver.

3. Curb your carbohydrates

Eating large amounts of stodgy carbohydrates such as bread, rice and pasta makes our digestive system have to work much harder.

Carbohydrates do give us energy by providing glucose, but they can also over-burden the digestive system if we eat too many.

Try cutting down by roughly 50% on things like bread, rice and pasta. Eat lean white meat or fish instead of red meat, accompanied by as many green vegetables as possible, with fruit for pudding.

For breakfast try and combine high protein such as yoghurt, eggs or fish with a small amount of carbohydrate and fibre such as oatmeal, wholemeal bread or fruit.

4. Reduce your sugar intake

Eating too much sugar zaps your energy because glucose is a highly toxic substance to have in the body. Too much glucose means that the body is always working hard to get rid of it out of the blood. Excess glucose is stored in fat cells and also causes water retention.

By cutting down on your sugar intake you will be taking a major burden off your metabolic system, which will give you more energy.

Cut out processed sugar foods such as biscuits, cakes and pastries and focus more fruit as a means of getting your sugar fix.

5. Increase your minerals

Nothing in the body can work without minerals and often the reason we lack energy is because we are not absorbing enough essential minerals from our food.

The main minerals we need everyday are calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium and zinc. You can find many of these minerals in nuts and seeds. Chromium, one of the most important minerals, is found mostly in whole foods, nuts and seeds as well as asparagus and mushrooms.

Many minerals are also found in green vegetables, for example spinach is rich in iron and magnesium is in cabbage and broccoli. But it is actually quite hard to get the correct amount of minerals every day so you may want to consider taking a daily mineral supplement that contains the essential minerals.

6. Eat less more often

Large meals tend to leave you feeling tired afterwards as the body is working hard to digest all that food. During your energising program try eating five small meals or snacks a day instead of three large meals.

This way you will preserve more energy as well as reducing periods of energy dips during the day. We naturally have energy dips when our food energy has worn off. These dips tend to occur at about 11am and 3pm. So by shortening the time between meals you are more likely to avoid these dips and feel better energised throughout the whole day.

7. Help your bowels

Sluggish bowels are a major cause of energy loss. To help your bowel function more efficiently, increase your intake of fibre, but remember not to do this through too many carbohydrates. Get your fibre from fruit, lentils, beans, seeds and lightly boiled or steamed vegetables.

Also try taking an acidophilus supplement, which will restore the level of good flora (friendly bacteria) into your gut, which may have been depleted due to a number of reasons such as food intolerance, excess alcohol, antibiotics, a stomach bug or a intestinal fungal infection.

– Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, either cooked or raw, and more whole grain cereals and breads. Dried fruit such as apricots, prunes, and figs are especially high in fiber.

– Drink plenty of liquids (1 to 2 quarts daily), unless you have heart, blood vessel, or kidney problems. But be aware that some people become constipated from drinking large amounts of milk.

– Some doctors recommend adding small amounts of unprocessed bran (miller’s bran) to baked goods, cereals, and fruit. Some people suffer from bloating and gas for several weeks after adding bran to their diets. Make diet changes slowly, to allow the digestive system to adapt. Remember, if your diet is well-balanced and contains a variety of foods high in natural fiber, it may not be necessary to add bran to other foods.

My irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has cleared up next to 100% in only 3-4 months of drinking the Noni Juice. I have experienced increased energy and clarity of thought.

BarleyGreen is made from week-old barley “leaves”. It’s luminous green color testifies to it’s high chlorophyll content, and it’s loaded with other nutrients including trace minerals, enzymes, beta-carotene, and others. Many people add it to their morning protein drink for an extra lift; others report that it helps to regulate their bowel function, probably due to it’s fiber content and the presence of chlorophyll. Another reported use involves taking a packet of BarleyGreen with a packet of Alacer Emergen-C every 2 hours, when flying. It provides antioxidant support, helping to significantly decrease the symptoms of jet-lag.

 8. Reduce your stress

Being constantly full of tension can be exhausting. High levels of stress cause your adrenal gland to produce an excess of stress hormones, namely adrenaline. The production of these hormones improves oxygen and glucose to the muscles, which slows down digestion, repair and maintenance to the rest of the body, leaving you feeling tired out. Prolonged stress can cause chronic fatigue.

Practice lowering your stress levels using regular and simple relaxation techniques. Lie down and close your eyes. Starting at your toes first clench them as hard as you can and then relax. Work your way up your body clenching and relaxing different muscles, ending with pushing your tongue as hard as you can against the roof of your mouth and then relax it. It should take about 15 minutes.

Also some visualisation techniques can help too.

 9. Exercise

Exercising is the key to boosting energy levels. By exercising you speed up your metabolism so everything gets digested faster. You also burn more of your food¹s energy into muscle than fat, which means overall the body becomes stronger and less burdened.

Make sure you do some form of exercise that speeds up your heart beat for a good 20 minutes at least four times a week. At least two of these exercise sessions should be impact exercises such as jogging, skipping or dancing. Also try some of the energy building techniques such as Tai Chi, Aikido or Yoga.

Try exercising in the morning rather than at night as you will find it gives you more energy throughout the day as chemicals called endorphins are released which keep energy levels high for a prolonged period after exercise.

10. Protect your immune system

When your energy levels are low it means that your immune system is likely to be low too and so it is a prime time to get ill.

Protect yourself by taking a few crucial immune-boosting supplements such as echinacea, garlic and also vitamin C.

However the best immune booster is sleep, get plenty of it and stay away from late night parties for a few weeks to let your body recover.

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