Here are some tips from Community Health Stores naturopath Serena Donaldson on how to bounce into spring with restored energy levels for a fresh start to the new season.
Spring is a season of new beginnings, from the wonders of nature to the nurture of our own health and well-being. As we emerge from the cooler and shorter days of winter, our bodies often need a little help to recover from the challenges of our coldest season and to reset our baseline to a healthier level. With lighter days and lifted moods, spring is a great time to replenish our depleted energy levels, ready to embrace the warmer days ahead.
Building energy with iron
Iron is a common deficiency in women, due to blood loss during the menstrual cycle. The simplest way to increase iron is through dietary sources of haem iron, which is from meats like beef and lamb, and non-haem iron, which is plant-based and found in foods like legumes and leafy greens. Haem iron is more bioavailable and a little easier to absorb than non-haem iron. It’s worth remembering too that while foods rich in vitamin C aid the absorption of iron, calcium-rich foods can interfere with its absorption.
If iron supplements are recommended, the best formulation is a bisglycinate, which is well-tolerated and avoids some of the digestive complaints often associated with iron supplements.
It’s always best to check with your GP and have a blood test prior to taking iron supplements, as taking too much iron can have similar symptoms to having low iron levels.
Fresh is best
Eating in season means your body is getting nutrients from quality, locally-grown produce, which is also often more economical than purchasing imported fruit and vegetables. Avocados, peas, asparagus, courgettes and artichokes are just some of the produce we’ll start to see appearing in spring, so make the most of salads and dishes that champion these foods. It’s also beneficial to take a probiotic to assist with general health and well-being, with the added bonus of helping to reduce springtime allergies and hay fever too.
Getting rid of unwanted toxins in the body is a sure way to enhance your energy levels. A liver which is under stress can affect our overall health, leading to feeling sluggish, fatigue, bloating after meals, poor digestion, allergies, skin irritations, hormone imbalances and other unwanted symptoms. Alcohol is not the only thing that puts a strain on the liver; there are many aspects of life which can influence its health as it attempts to flush out toxins, including environmental pollution, excess sugar, processed foods, medications, and chemicals from household cleaners and beauty products.
The best way to look after your liver is to drink plenty of water. Fresh lemon juice in water will gently detox the liver, as will eating dark, leafy greens at each meal, along with raw carrot and beetroot. Drinking liver support herbal teas can also help with detoxing, as they can include herbs such as dandelion and milk thistle, which help the detoxification process and promote healthy liver cell renewal.
Water, water, everywhere
Keeping hydrated is key to optimal energy levels, along with helping your body and its organs to function properly and efficiently. Symptoms of dehydration include tiredness, thirst, dry mouth, brain fog, headaches, sore muscles and dry skin. You may also notice your urine is darker, rather than a pale yellow.
Plain water is the best remedy for dehydration, but if you’re in need of a change, try a fruit tea, iced peppermint tea, or water with a squeeze of fresh lemon, which also helps with digestion and liver detoxification. Keep in mind that caffeinated drinks such as regular tea and coffee dehydrate your body by about 1-2 cups of water, so for every cup of tea or coffee, have a glass of plain water. Make drinking water an easy habit by carrying a water bottle with you and setting a reminder on your phone to have a drink at regular intervals.
Magnesium is a mineral involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, influencing everything from stress to sleep, digestion to muscle relaxation, and blood sugar levels to mood. All of these aspects have an impact on energy levels.
Our bodies cannot synthesise magnesium, so in order for us to prevent a deficiency it needs to be consumed on a daily basis. Good sources of magnesium include almonds, dark leafy greens and good-quality dark chocolate. Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms, including a powder, tablet, capsule, tissue salt and a topical oil or cream. One of the most well-absorbed, and least likely to give diarrhoea, is the bisglycinate form, with the citrate or amino acid chelate forms also well-tolerated.
Speak with your local CHS expert to find out the best options to improve your energy levels as you step into spring.