- Poor gut health can make you feel swollen and exhausted.
- Circadian fasting, which may be the best way to do intermittent fasting, can help.
- Doing simple non-exercises activities can also provide the same benefits as formal workouts.
It takes more than a cup of coffee to beat chronic exhaustion (and burnout). You may need some lifestyle shifts to boost your energy.
Double board-certified integrative medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D, author of the new book I’m So Effing Tired, says fatigue and burnout are lifestyle problems. Besides getting quality sleep and practicing mindfulness, Shah offers even more targeted ways to combat burnout.
1. Eat gut-supporting foods.
According to Shah, there’s a strong link between your gut and energy levels. She explains that eating inflammatory foods, which is common in the American diet, harms the gut.
A weakened gut microbiome can cause inflammatory particles to sneak into the bloodstream and trigger an immune response that results in inflammation, swelling, and exhaustion.
Shah recommends eating six to eight servings of vegetables a day to support gut health. Prebiotic-rich foods include onion, garlic, asparagus, jicama, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. She also recommends eating root vegetables like sweet potato and yams.
2. Try circadian fasting.
Shah says the timing of your meals is as important as the food you eat. She recommends circadian fasting to support your body’s biological way of doing intermittent fasting and boost your energy levels when you need them.
Shah explains that your body follows a circadian rhythm daily. Your melatonin hormones send messages to your brain when it’s time for bed. It also binds to your pancreas to tell it to shut off insulin production and pancreatic enzyme production while you sleep.
When you eat late at night, your pancreas might not efficiently digest food as it is preparing for recovery mode. According to Shah, “It’s like someone woke you up in a deep sleep and asked you a really difficult math problem.” This can lead to poor function and bad results.
Shah says circadian fasting may be a better way to do intermittent fasting. With intermittent fasting, you choose any eating window you want. But with circadian fasting, you stop eating when the sun sets.
Shah also says that circadian fasting is the traditional way of eating, and it fits our bodies by biology.
3. Incorporate NEAT movement.
Being physically inactive can also be another reason for exhaustion, says Shah. She emphasizes the NEAT movement or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This refers to energy expended during “non-exercise”–related activities, like climbing stairs, and carrying groceries.
Shah recommends focusing on movement throughout the day, and not only during a formal workout, like what people in Blue Zone regions do. Shah says these long-living people don’t do what Westerners consider as ‘exercise.’ However, they also don’t sit in a chair for eight hours every day. They move around, take the stairs, and walk to their friend’s place.
There’s strong evidence that shows the link between exercise and energy levels, but Shah says that NEAT movements can provide the same benefits. According to research, simple NEAT movements burn calories of about 15% to 50% of your daily energy expenditure.
Stand up, stretch out, and walk outside when possible.
Via Mind Body Green