The human body is a wonder, and so clever in giving us information about how it is working. The body gives us symptoms to tell us if it is happy, getting enough of one thing, getting too much of another and what we need to pay more attention to. This is valuable feedback and it is important to understand your body to help it to thrive.
Hands up, if you suffer from the 3pm energy slump, sugar craving or a “hangry” episode? This is commonly seen with many of my female clients and mostly due to blood glucose level havoc. If you do not have enough meals or snacks at the start of the day, or your breakfast and lunch is not well-balanced with your macronutrients (protein, nourishing fats and wholegrains), you will get sugar cravings in the afternoon.
A morning snack high in refined sugars (e.g. muffin, fruit juice, sweet biscuit) will play havoc with your blood glucose levels and signal a sugar craving later. To further complicate the scenario, the body’s chronic stress hormone, cortisol will break down the body’s stores of glucose, which then signals for it to be replenished afterwards. To help you combat the 3pm sugar craving, include nourishing whole and real foods such as eggs, avocado, salmon, tuna, chicken, wholegrains, nuts and natural Greek yoghurt during the day.
Another common symptom that people experience is abdominal bloating. Many people suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and report symptoms of bloating on a daily basis. The most likely cause of abdominal bloating is stress and diet, with the main food culprits being garlic, onion, leeks, legumes, dried fruit, fruit juices, inulin and wheat.
Slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing, restorative yoga and managing stress and busy-ness will help your digestive system to work better. Another common cause of bloating in people is a sluggish digestive system and constipation. This can be helped by increasing your soluble fibre (fruits, vegetables, oats and legumes) and fluid intake.
In the fast paced world that we live, many people are running on a low energy tank. This may be attributed to our busy lives, high stress and poor sleep. However food can also have a role in poor energy levels. The quality of our food choices, the body’s level of hydration, the regularity of our meals and nutrient deficiencies can all have an impact on one’s energy levels.
If people are not eating adequate wholegrains in their diet, the B group vitamins may be lacking which are essential for energy production.
One in three Australian women suffer from iron deficiency, resulting in tiredness, lethargy and a weakened immune system. A simple blood test can determine if your iron levels are normal. Selenium is a micronutrient needed for optimal thyroid function that regulates energy levels. This is an easy solution – just two brazil nuts each day will meet your selenium requirements.
Take the time to listen to your body’s symptoms, respect it and make the changes to help your body to thrive.