The Importance of a Healthy And Balanced Diet for Energy

Do you feel like you lack energy? Maybe you should start looking into what you eat. A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for everything in our lives. But oftentimes, people get consumed into the marketing of special “supplements,” energy drinks, powders, pills, and the list goes on and on. This happens to the point that we forget to go back to the basics—having a healthy and balanced diet.

Eating healthy is not about doing cleanses, starving ourselves, or even restricting food groups. It is not even about “dieting.” If all this sounds familiar—yet shocking—to you, it’s probably because you may need to start making some changes to your eating lifestyle. A healthy and balanced diet is the solution to more than 90% of health problems, especially energy-related ones.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet for energy.

1. A Healthy and Balanced Diet Is Key to Boosting Your Metabolism

When you eat healthily, you’re nourishing your body with everything it needs. Your metabolism depends on all the necessary nutrients to be efficient. We all need enough amounts of protein, healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water. Without any of these elements, your body would not perform well. Whether you want to lose body fat or build muscle, you need to have a healthy and balanced diet.

2. It Helps Improve Your Memory and Productivity

Studies show that when you have a healthy and balanced diet, your brain works better.[1] This is because you’re feeding your body with all the right nutrients including omega-3, which enhance memory and productivity. When you feel tired, especially at work or even after eating, it’s most likely because you’ve not been eating well or eating too much over-processed food. Eating healthily will also boost your creativity and make your ideas flow better.

3. It Helps You Have a Healthy Weight

This seems like a no-brainer, but again, common “dieting” trends have made people obsessed with extremes to achieve a healthy weight. You don’t have to do any “fad diets” to lose weight.[2] There’s no need to break the bank to eat healthily or even spend on expensive supplements. If you want to get a healthy weight, all you need to do is learn how to eat in a balanced, healthy way. Eat more whole foods from all food groups, and stay away from refined, overprocessed foods.

4. It Can Help With Your Fitness Goals

If you’ve been trying to get fit, get toned, and lose some body fat but keep struggling, take a closer look at your diet. Remember that fitness results are based on 80% healthy nutrition and 20% exercise.[3] When you eat healthily, your energy levels increase and so does your whole body composition. The first thing you need to focus on—before your weight—is improving your energy and metabolism, and the best way to achieve these is with balanced nutrition.

5. It Helps Improve Your Immune System

The thing about having more energy as your diet improves is that it directly affects your immune system as well. When you eat healthier food, you start feeling more energized and getting sick less often. Personally, I’ve experienced more wellness, and I hardly ever get sick. This includes the infamous flu. One of the best things is seeing how your body changes and that you don’t have to depend on medications or shots to stay healthy. If you’re looking to improve your immune system naturally, many foods can help boost your immune system.[4]

6. It Can Help Save You From Unhealthy Food Cravings

Having a healthy and balanced diet helps reduce food cravings, especially sugar. Eating in a balanced way means that you’re including enough protein and fiber at each meal. Increasing protein in your diet is important not only to increase your energy and boost your metabolism but also to control cravings. Protein is actually the most satiating nutrient, besides fiber.[5] Having healthy fat foods like oils, nuts, seeds, and fruits like avocado will also help keep your blood sugar in check, reduce cravings and increase your energy.[6]

7. It Will Help You Save Money

If you have been spending tons of money on energy drinks to stack up for the day yet still feel awkward, then it’s time to change your eating habits. When you eat in a balanced way that embraces all food groups (AKA colorful plate), then your energy levels will increase. You won’t need to keep buying any more energy drinks or rely on coffee to boost your vitality. Always start with a great breakfast. Starting your day with a balanced meal is the best way to fuel up your body with all the energy you need. Quality whole foods are less expensive than investing in energy drinks and caffeine. By doing this simple change, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your budget.

8. It Can Help You Have Better Mood

Have you noticed how you have constant mood swings when your diet is full of junk food? Well, this has to do with the lack of essential nutrients and the excess of sugar, sodium, saturated fats, and additives. All these substances, especially refined sugars, cause your body to have constant energy crashes.[7] This is the reason why you often feel miserable and tired throughout the day. Start with an easy change, such as including more fruits and veggies, even in your snacks.

9. More Energy Means Better Workout Performance

When you’re heading to the gym, the first thing you usually think about to boost your energy is getting that supplement, those amino acids, or pre-workout shake mix. This is not altogether bad, but did you know that the quality of your diet throughout the day matters more than what you take during workouts? Yes, it’s the foods that we eat during the entire day that will make a huge difference. Therefore, instead of putting all the emphasis on your pre and post-workout snacks only, focus on eating quality meals throughout the day.

Also, don’t rely on workouts to increase your energy. Remember that exercise is only a component of the whole package, so eat healthier meals, and train according to your goals. When you eat right, your energy levels will increase, which means that you won’t feel unnecessarily exhausted after working out.

10. It Can Help Enhance Your Sex Drive

Sexual health is often overlooked when touching on this topic about eating healthy. But besides the common myths and noise about the aphrodisiac foods that can improve your sex life, a healthy and balanced diet can actually impact your sex drive.[8] A healthier diet leads to a healthier body, thus more vitality to perform well in bed. So, if you need to spark up your energy during sex, start by making healthier food choices overall.

11. It Helps Improve Your Digestion

When your energy increases through balanced eating, it directly impacts your digestion as well. Having a healthy metabolism also helps in digesting and absorbing the nutrients from foods. You can see the difference in how you feel after eating. Notice if you constantly feel bloated, have constipation, and even indigestion. When you eat more healthily, you’ll see a change in your gut health for good. A lot of energy problems are related to a poor digestive system. Good fiber foods like fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and whole-grain cereals will help improve your digestion and give you more energy.

12. It Helps Protect You From Chronic Diseases

Reducing the risk of suffering from chronic diseases has been by far the biggest benefit of having a healthy and balanced diet. Simple wins, such as not relying on medications to feel well, not having to check in with the doctors regularly because of symptoms, or even saving on medical bills is what I call prevention. This is what I call quality of life.

When you feel more energized because of a healthy and balanced diet, you are at less risk of suffering from chronic diseases. Problems like heart blood pressure, diabetes, gut issues, obesity, and even cancer are very common. The truth is that something as simple as having a healthier diet can help you avoid most of these problems. Therefore, a healthy and balanced diet for energy should be one of your top priorities if you want to stay away from chronic health issues and doctors.

Final Thoughts

A healthy and balanced diet can improve your life overall, not only your energy. You can have a better quality of life by simply including more whole foods rather than processed. Also, eating enough amounts of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and staying hydrated each meal will keep you energized and improve your mental health.

Quality nutrition is key, as lack of energy is often linked to stress, poor sleep patterns, and anxiety and metabolic dysfunctions. Make sure you include a variety of foods in your diet, and your life will change for the better!

More Tips on Leading a Healthy And Balanced Diet

  • 15 Healthy Eating Tips from a Professional Health Coach
  • How to Plan for a Healthy Diet for Weight Loss
  • 7 Homemade Diet Foods That Are Good For Your Health

Reference

PubMed.gov: Quantitative Erythrocyte Omega-3 EPA Plus DHA Levels are Related to Higher Regional Cerebral Blood Flow on Brain SPECT
Fab Healthy Lifestyle: Fad diets can make you unhealthy: Why you need to avoid them
verywellfit: Is Nutrition More Important Than Exercise?
Fab Healthy Lifestyle: Best foods to boost immune system
Healthline: How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally
Medical News Today: Which foods help stabilize insulin and blood sugar?
Sanford Health: Sugar crash effects and how to fix them
Healthline: How to Boost Your Relationship and Sex Life with Healthy Eating

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If you’re trying to be as productive as possible, stress will always be your biggest obstacle—and it’s not an easy one to overcome. To do it, you’ll need to develop a plan to make stress management a core component of your daily routine, but doing that takes commitment. The good news is that if you succeed in learning how to manage stress, you’ll unlock your potential and be well on your way to peak performance. But first, you need to learn how to make it happen.

The best way to do that is to learn about and integrate some stress management rituals into your daily routine. To help you get started, here are seven tips on how to manage stress and improve your productivity.

1. Give Yourself an Extra Hour in the Morning

If you were to do some research on some of the world’s most successful—and productive—people, you’d notice that many of them have one thing in common: they tend to be early risers. Apple’s Tim Cook gets out of bed before 4 AM each day.[1] Michelle Obama is already getting in her daily workout at 4:30 AM.[2] Richard Branson gets up at 5:45 AM each day, even when he’s vacationing on his private island.

There’s a good reason why they all do it—once you reach the point in your day that your work schedule kicks in, you no longer have control of your time. That means you have a limited opportunity every morning to reduce your stress by taking care of the things you need to do without anyone making other demands on your time.

What’s important about this isn’t the time you get up. The important part is getting up early enough to start your day without feeling rushed. For most people, getting up an hour earlier than you normally would is sufficient. This should give you ample time to complete your morning tasks without having to hurry or fall behind.

But when you implement this ritual, be careful. Don’t do it at the cost of getting the right amount of sleep each night. If you do, you might increase your stress instead of relieving it. Sticking to a proper sleep schedule and getting enough sleep is, in itself, a critical part of stress management.[3]

2. Determine and Review Your Most Important Tasks Each Day

If there’s one productivity tip that almost all experts agree on, it’s that you should spend some time before bed each night to write down your three most important tasks for the following day. But if you want to maximize that practice and turn it into a stress-buster, you should turn that notion on its head.

Instead, you should do this as a part of your morning routine. There’s a couple of reasons for this. First, it’s that our always-on, always-connected business world means your priorities can change overnight, literally. You may list your top priorities, go to sleep, and wake up to find them woefully out of date. That means the best time to set your priorities for the day is in the morning. This will keep those priorities up to date and let you think about them before the distractions of the day begin. But don’t stop there. You should take some time before bed each night to review that day’s priorities.

Ideally, you’ll be able to check them off as accomplished. If not, though, think about what prevented you from getting to them. This is your chance to figure out some of the common daily interruptions that get in your way. Chances are, these also cause some of your stress. So, spend the time before bed game-planning how to remove those interruptions and stressors from your day. If you make this a habit, you’ll be more productive and far less stressed out in no time.

3. Save Your Emails for Later in the Morning

Another tip on how to manage stress is to save your emails for later. One of the key causes of stress comes from our inability to cope with the unexpected. If you stop to think about it, what is your most prominent source of near-constant unexpected information every day? You guessed it—it’s your email.

Now, you can’t simply ignore your email. The only thing you can do about your email is to learn how to manage it most effectively. But no matter what you do, it’s going to remain a source of daily stress and distraction. That’s why you should make a habit out of giving yourself an email-free hour or two at the beginning of each day’s schedule.

In that time, try to tackle one of your daily priorities and get it taken care of. Your email will still be there when you’re done. And when you do get to it, you’ll do so in a much better frame of mind knowing that you’ve already gotten some real work done before having to deal with anything unexpected. That alone will improve your mood and reduce the amount of stress you’ll feel—no matter what’s waiting for you in your inbox.

4. Take a Walk After Email Time

Since you’ll have to deal with your email sooner or later, there’s no way to completely avoid the stress that will come with it. Although you’ll be in a better frame of mind after putting off your email to get some real work done, you’ll still feel some stress when you get to it. That’s why you should make a post-email walk a part of your daily routine.

Taking a walk is one of the best ways you can relieve stress. It’s a form of meditation that will put you back into the right condition to be productive, and there’s no better time to do it each day than after taking care of your emails.

Ideally, you’ll want to take a walk outdoors, and preferably in the most natural setting possible. If you’re in an urban environment, a nearby park will suffice. Studies have demonstrated that walking in such environments for as little as 20 minutes per day leads to an overall reduction in the body’s cortisol level.[4]

Cortisol, if you’re not aware, is your body’s main stress hormone. It helps regulate your blood pressure, energy levels, and even your sleep cycle. Every time your stress goes up, cortisol production also increases, throwing your body into chaos. So, taking a walk right after dealing with your email will help you to relax, reset, and get ready to be productive for the rest of the day.

5. Reserve Time to Research and Plan a Vacation

By now, everybody knows that taking vacations every now and then can improve your productivity and lower your stress level. But did you know that even thinking about a vacation can help you to reduce your stress? It may sound strange, but it’s true.

A Cornell University study in 2012 found that the anticipation of a positive experience—like a vacation—can reduce stress and make you measurably happier. It logically follows, then, that adding to that anticipation each day can maximize the stress-relieving effects of a vacation.[5]

To do it, set aside at least a half-hour each day to research or plan an upcoming vacation. You can read about destinations. You can research airfares. You can even look at places to stay in locations you’re interested in visiting. And if you’ve already got a vacation booked, use the time to take a deep dive into what your destination has to offer.

This is an especially important daily ritual to observe right now, while the COVID-19 pandemic may be limiting your vacation options. If it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take a trip, the act of planning your next vacation will have a therapeutic effect. With vacation rental bookings still hovering below 50% in most major markets, there’s no doubt that the vast majority of people are in desperate need of their next stress-relieving vacation.[6]

6. Create a Shutdown Ritual to End Your Day

Another simple yet effective way to manage stress is to create a shutdown ritual. Just as it’s important to get your day off to a stress-free, unhurried start, you’ll want to do the same when the day is through. It’s because after spending each day in a reactive mode—dealing with the unexpected—you need to get back into a proactive mode to relax.

Studies have shown that having the perception of control over what you’re going through acts as a buffer against negative stress.[7] In other words, feeling like you can manage even a small chunk of your own time counteracts the stress from the parts of your day when you can’t.

This also means that your shutdown ritual can be whatever you want it to be. You might write in a journal, get in a quick light workout, or prepare your outfit for the following day. As long as you’re the one in complete control over what you’re doing, anything goes. Just make sure that you include the aforementioned review of your daily priorities somewhere in your routine!

7. Set a No-Screens Rule to End Your Day

Even though your shutdown routine is important, there’s one more ritual to include before bedtime that will help you manage stress. Spend the last 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to go to sleep observing a strict no-screens rule. Not only will this give you time to disconnect from the stresses of your day, but it will also allow your body to make a transition into a proper sleep mode.

The screens we use—smartphones, tablets, laptops—all emit a wavelength of blue light that disrupts our sleep patterns. It’s the same type of light that our bodies recognize as daytime, so seeing it is like telling your brain that it’s the wrong time to be asleep.[8]

By eliminating all sources of this type of light before bedtime, you’ll increase your odds of getting restful, deep sleep. And since getting proper sleep is one of the best ways to manage your stress, this is the perfect way for you to end each day.

Final Thoughts

Although a totally stress-free lifestyle would lend itself to achieving maximum productivity, not many people will ever manage to live that way. So, the next best thing is to work some or all of these daily stress-busting rituals into your day to minimize the inevitable stress instead. Doing so will put you in the best possible position to succeed. And there’s no better antidote for stress than to make the most out of every day no matter what it has to throw at you.

More Tips on How to Manage Stress

  • How to Cope with Stress When You’re Overwhelmed by Responsibilities

Reference

CNBC: Tim Cook wakes up at 4 a.m.—here’s the rest of the morning routine that sets him up for success
Oprah: Oprah Talks to Michelle Obama
PubMed.gov: REM Sleep Rebound as an Adaptive Response to Stressful Situations
Frontiers: Stressed? Take a 20-minute nature pill
SageJournals: Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases
Timeshatter: Vacation Rental Industry Statistics
MentalHelp.net: Self-Efficacy and the Perception of Control in Stress Reduction
Harvard Health Publishing: Blue light has a dark side

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