exercise

How Functional Medicine Can Increase Your Energy

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     At some point or another we’ve all probably felt tired from sleep deprivation, from stressors, or from being overworked. These are some pretty simply explained causes for tiredness, but what about some of the more complex sources? If you’re suffering from a chronic condition or disease, there are several lifestyle changes that can make you feel more awake.

1.       Light Exercise

     If you’re feeling sluggish in the middle of the day, it can help to move around. Get up from your desk, walk around the office, stretch, and even work at a standing desk if possible. I know it sounds counterintuitive to exercise when you’re out of energy, but it can stimulate both your body and your mind. It boosts circulation and increases the release of hormones that make you feel more alert.

2.       Sleep Hygiene

      This sounds like an obvious one, but don’t underestimate the value of good healthy sleep. Most adults should be getting eight hours of sleep each night. Of course going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning help immensely. If I feel I can’t get to sleep I use natural supplements like melatonin and smooth valerian (which are available at my office). I find these tend to be less habit forming than prescription sleep medications. The most helpful tip I can probably give is to get rid of screens at least an hour before sleep. This includes TVs, phones, laptops, and tablets.

3.       Coffee – Drink or Avoid?

     I’m a proponent of coffee to naturally improve concentration and increase energy, but in general it’s a good not to make it a daily habit. I love a cup of coffee before a workout, usually with some healthy fat like coconut oil, MCT oil, or grass-fed butter to keep me satiated. But if you drink it every day you may tend to gradually increase intake and become dependent. This may lead to a host of other problems like adrenal fatigue. The way to maximize the benefits of coffee may be to make it an occasional solution.  

Improve Your Metabolism with Coffee

What was once thought of as a bad habit can actually have a lot of beneficial health effects. For starters, drinking a simple cup of caffeinated coffee can actually promote fat loss. Clinical research shows that coffee can increase your metabolic rate, improve exercise performance, improve satiety, and decrease food cravings. The reasoning behind this is caffeine promotes catecholamine release, which will help you exercise at a higher level. It also increases rates of lipolysis which will allow you to exercise for a longer period of time before exhaustion. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that can slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This is excellent for diabetics, pre-diabetics or those with metabolic syndrome

Before I exercise I like to have a cup of black coffee mixed with "Classic Cappuccino with Fiber" (Pictured above: The nutritionally designed product carried in our office).

Before I exercise I like to have a cup of black coffee mixed with "Classic Cappuccino with Fiber" (Pictured above: The nutritionally designed product carried in our office).

Each person has their own level of sensitivity to caffeine, so dosage varies. For effective fat loss and hunger suppression, its best to cycle caffeine on and off to increase the effects of fat loss. The longer you roast the coffee, the more chlorogenic acid you lose. I recommend medium roasts because they retain about fifty percent of the chlorogenic acid while the remaining portion forms quinic acid and caffeic acid, which can also promote fat loss. Clinical research shows that coffee consumption can also decrease  the rates of alcoholic liver disease, liver cancers, fatty livers,  heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer's.