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Boosting energy through the winter months

By nutritional therapist Honor Geraghty, graduate of CNM

There are times when all of us feel the need for an extra boost of energy, maybe more so during the winter months. The shorter days can make it more difficult to exercise, and people are more likely to choose stodgy type foods - these combined can contribute to dips in energy levels and lower moods. The answer is not to turn to stimulants (such as tea/coffee/sugar), these will only give you a temporary lift followed swiftly by a sudden crash.

For a better mood and to increase energy, I suggest the following to my clients:

Choose the foods that help to keep your blood sugar levels steady and trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as complex carbs (wholegrains, brown rice, oats). These are the body’s preferred source of fuel, plus they raise levels of the feel-good chemical, serotonin.

Raw nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and brazils) play their role in converting sugar into energy as well as containing nutrients that act as a natural mood booster.

Don’t forget your oily fish, leafy greens, high-fibre foods and adequate hydration to help keep your body and mind balanced all day long.

Though most of us eat more than enough for our energy needs, we do not always eat in the most efficient way for generating energy. Irregular or un-balanced eating patterns make it difficult to tap our energy resources when we need them. For this reason it is vital to consume breakfast within the first hour of waking and eat small and often (every two to three hours).

Keeping physically active is important as it makes energy self-generating. Find something you enjoy doing; group activities are a great way to meet up and socialise during the winter months. Start now, regain that zest for life and be prepared to tackle the winter months full of energy and vitality.

• CNM trains students for careers in natural therapies. Visit www.naturopathy.ie or call 01 2353084.

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