5 things you can do to have more energy naturally by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

Show notes and summary:

Stop snacking

Do you feel more energized after Thanksgiving? No!  Food doesn’t provide immediate energy. In fact, eating often makes people sleepy, tired, and weighed down. If you’re tired, the last thing you need is more food. Be sure to eat adequate protein and healthy fats with each meal to stay satiated between meals. Limit or avoid refined and starchy carbohydrates. Load up on non-starchy carbohydrates. If you do have starchy carbohydrates, you can reduce the glycemic load and boost the gut health benefits by turning those starches into resistant starches! This works by cooking, then cooling starchy foods like potatoes or white rice. Once they’ve been fully cooled, you can reheat them before you consume them. The resistant starch will remain. This resistant starch doesn’t get digested by us but does feed the microbes in your gut.

Eat real food in a calm, relaxed state, slowly.

Help your digestion work properly. Digestion is a function of the parasympathetic nervous system. When we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system takes over and digestion shuts down. The last thing you need when you’re trying to have more energy is for your digestive system to not be working properly!

To help your digestion work properly, make sure you’re eating in a calm, relaxed state. This means sitting down at the table, away from distractions like television or work, and slowly savoring your food. Chew each bite thoroughly. This allows your body to properly break down the nutrients in the food so that you can actually absorb and use them. While preparing your food, your digestive system is already gearing up – smelling, seeing, touching, and thinking about your food triggers the release of enzymes and hormones associated with digestion. Before you take your first bite, take a moment to breathe. A few slow inhales and exhales can really help you to get into the right state for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.

Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, sugar, or other mood-altering substances. 

Caffeine, sugar, and other substances can give you a false sense of energy. It may make you feel more awake and alert at the moment, but these substances can lead to big crashes, later on, leaving you feeling more tired and depleted than before. These crashes can also cause increases in appetite, reduced inhibitions or willpower, and ultimately poorer food choices.

If you’re looking for a more sustainable source of energy, focus on eating real, whole foods. These foods will give you the nutrients you need to maintain energy levels throughout the day.

Don’t overeat or eat too frequently (as we discussed in the first point) or your energy will be zapped. Eating less often and choosing whole, real food can help manage your blood sugars as well. When your blood sugars are properly managed (not spiking and crashing), your body can more easily tap into stored fuels for energy between meals. However, when your blood sugars are elevated, insulin is released. Insulin blocks the body’s ability to use stored fuels and turns up the storage of fuels. This not only prevents you from being able to use fuels well at the moment (contributing to fatigue and low energy) but also contributes to weight gain and increased appetite.

Go for a walk or do some quick physical activity.

Get the blood pumping. This tip might seem counterintuitive – burn energy to generate energy? Yep! This is a powerful tip because movement and activity release stored fuel (glucose mostly, though some fatty acids and ketones can also be released). When these fuels are available, they can be used for energy. Just a little bit of activity can make a big difference in terms of your energy levels. Plus, physical activity has so many other benefits. It can help to improve your mood, reduce stress, and promote better sleep (which is important for managing energy levels!). Even just a few minutes can really boost your energy levels.
Go for a walk, turn on some music and dance, take a trip upstairs, or do some push-ups or squats. Any physical activity works!

Increase your electrolytes. 

No, not with Gatorade or other sports drinks – but with quality minerals, salt, or electrolyte products.  We lose electrolytes through all of our elimination pathways – sweat, urine, stool, breath, and even tears – anywhere water goes, minerals go too. Without adequate minerals, we can’t make energy. We also can’t properly hydrate without adequate electrolytes because they help to regulate fluid balance in the body.

One side note…you may not realize that when you cut carbohydrates, you also run a greater risk of mineral imbalances. Why? Because carbohydrates are hydrated carbon – hence the name. They cause you to retain a lot of water. When you cut the carb intake, you quickly lose that retained water. Minerals go with water, so you can easily become depleted. Does this mean you shouldn’t go low carb? No! It just means you need to be more diligent with adding minerals back in. When you lose electrolytes, you can feel fatigue, cramping, and other issues. This can be one major reason why people feel worse when they first go low carb or keto (the so-called keto flu) – they’re mineral depleted!

You can rebuild your mineral status with a mineral supplement, quality salt product, or even electrolyte products. There are many quality products out there – just make sure to read the labels. This is also important for anyone who is eating a whole food diet. Processed foods are loaded with sodium. Whole foods are much lower in natural minerals today due to poor farming practices and soil depletion. We intentionally need to add minerals to our food or our supplement regimen.

Here are two of my favorite ways to boost minerals:
  • Complete Mineral Complex supplement by Designs for Health (set up a free account here for this and hundreds of other top quality supplements)
  • Redmond’s Real Salt


There you have it – 5 ways you can have more energy naturally. These tips are all things you can do today to boost your energy quickly – and maintain lasting energy all day long. Did you find these tips helpful? Feel free to share this episode with others who can benefit!


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