Eat Yourself Better with Dale Pinnock
Our regular columnist Dale Pinnock is a bestselling author and TV presenter, with a degree and postgraduate diploma in nutrition. His quest is to impart the very best information, based on current evidence, to help support our health. Here, Dale reveals how we can boost our energy in time for summer.
The first and simplest tip is making a simple swap. Swap your daily carbohydrate staples for multigrain or wholegrain versions. So swap white rice for brown, white bread for multigrain, white pasta for wholewheat, etc. These wholegrain versions deliver a double whammy. Firstly they are majorly more fibre-dense, so take longer to digest, meaning they release their energy far more slowly. This keeps blood sugar stable for much longer, meaning we don’t experience energy peaks and troughs, but instead have more stable and even energy levels. The second bonus these wholegrain varieties have is that they are rich in B vitamins, which are vital for turning food into energy. Get your B vitamin levels up and you will feel the difference!
The magic of magnesium
Magnesium is one of the single most deficient nutrients in the UK, yet also one of the most important. It is involved in over 1,000 enzymatic reactions and is an absolutely vital component of cellular energy production, along with B vitamins and Q10. The other added bonus of magnesium, particularly in the evenings, is that it can help us to get a better quality of sleep. This is because it increases the expression of a neurotransmitter called GABBA. This is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm us down and relax us. Without good, restful, restorative sleep, we don’t stand a chance of feeling energised and ready to take on the day.
Nutrient density is a vital thing for so many aspects of our health. Unfortunately, we are in the ‘ping and ding’ generation, and many of us have become over-reliant on processed food. While these types of foods may offer proteins, fats and carbohydrates, they are notably lacking in the micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, trace elements and phytochemicals.
These micronutrients are biochemical facilitators. They either make things happen in the body, or make things that make things happen. They are vital for every conceivable cellular process, and even a slight lack of these vital nutrients will leave us feeling like we need to drag ourselves through the day. Every meal should be an opportunity to eat something fresh and minimally processed. Whether that means berries on your porridge, a good dense salad for lunch, or an assortment of vegetables with your evening meal. Just get it in. In any way you can.
This is a recommendation that comes up for good health time and time again, and rightfully so. Just a slight amount of dehydration can lead to a massive drop in energy levels, and filling up on tea or coffee will just worsen the situation. However, there really ISN’T a set rule as to exactly how much water you should drink (i.e. two litres a day). Your body will tell you. What I mean is to just drink water until your urine runs clear. At that point stop. As soon as it gets colour back to it, drink more water until it’s clear again. Stay at this point and you are hydrated.
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