Low energy is not a simple problem, but a complex issue caused by a variety of underlying factors. In this society of abundance, nutrient gaps (missing elements in our diets), are often overlooked as a potential culprit. Whether it be vitamin and mineral deficiencies that result from poor eating habits, or gaps that are caused when physiological demands run higher than what the diet can provide, we need to pay attention to what our body is telling us and begin to address low energy by giving the body the nutrients it needs to shine!
At its very basic level, our food provides us with the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) and the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) our body needs for growth, and to sustain all of its daily activities. Macronutrients are the easiest to obtain as they are found easily in foods- but consuming a whole food diet, rich in colourful plants, healthy protein sources, and nourishing fats is crucial to preventing nutrient gaps. Why? Micronutrients!
While most of us are not necessarily deficient in the macronutrients, the amount required for health maintenance is more of an issue. Despite doing our best to eat healthy, the food that we eat today is far less nutritious than it once was, thanks to the growth of big business farming, soil erosion, the heavy use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and the proliferation of non-GMO crops.
Micronutrients are hugely important co-factors in energy production, and becoming deficient in one or more of them can seriously dampen our vitality, and have serious health consequences.
Phytonutrient Gaps – the missing link
There is more to food than just its macro and micronutrients. Fresh, whole foods that have not been processed (or only minimally processed) are naturally rich in a wide variety of plant chemicals that can offer us tremendous health benefits. While we don’t require phytonutrients to sustain life, as we do with macro and micronutrients, phytonutrients offer us unique health benefits, and act to protect against disease, fight free radical damage and quench the fires of chronic inflammation.
When the diet is lacking in fresh food – especially colourful fruits and vegetable - we lack the phytonutrients to protect our cells and tissues from disease. Unfortunately, this is often the case when people rely on too much processed or convenience foods – an all-too-common issue in North America.
Specific Need Gaps
Stress has been shown to be one of the biggest contributors to low energy in our society. When our body is under stress, whether mental (caused by work, emotions, or just a hectic life), or physical stress (training hard for an athletic event, healing from an injury or illness), our body requires more nutrients than on a day-to-day basis, and can quickly become depleted, exacerbating low energy levels.
Bridging the Gaps
A nutrient-rich diet is crucial for health, wellbeing and enduring energy – especially one that is teeming with phytonutrients from a wide variety of fruits, berries, vegetables, sprouts and sea vegetables. Supplements can also help: look for natural, nourishing ingredients to help boost energy, like those found in quality green superfoods. But take a close look at the ingredients and make sure that they contain specific doses of phytonutrient-rich ingredients, not just a laundry list of powdered plant ingredients.
You can also look to specific natural ingredients that target gaps where fatigue can set in, like vitamin C and B-vitamins which can be rapidly drained when tensions run high. Also, traditional herbal extracts like rhodiola, astragalus and suma root, are known as “adaptogens” and help increase the body’s resiliency in managing the physiological effects of stress.
Nourishment – from the garden and market and through quality supplementation are a key dietary strategies for supporting the body during times of stress – and bridging gaps that get between you and your most energetic self!
by Genuine Health