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Follow a five-step program to boost your energy level

So many factors impact your energy, from diet to fitness to stress to mood, even weather. Give yourself an "energy makeover" to combat energy deficiencies and revitalize every level of your life. Improve low levels of physical and mental energy by eating energy-packed foods, taking nutritional supplements and herbal remedies, maintaining an exercise plan, improving mental energy and increasing spiritual energy. Follow this five-step plan, courtesy of "Energy Boosters Handbook" (DK), by Dr. Sarah Brewer, to get your energy back in gear.

STEP 1: ENERGY FOODS

It's true that "You are what you eat" -- everything you consume determines how much energy you have. That's why you should eat foods that make you feel energized and avoid those that make you feel sluggish.

Energy-boosting foods

• whole-grain cereals such as oats, rice, pastas, breads and breakfast cereals.

• whole-wheat breads, especially those with nuts and seeds.

• root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

• oily fish such as trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines or herring.

• nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

• fresh fruit such as avocados, bananas, melons, grapes or cherries.

• dried fruit such as prunes, figs, apricots or dates.

• green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and spinach.

• legumes such as kidney beans, chick peas or soybeans.

Energy-depleting foods

• fatty, sugary snacks, doughnuts or pastries

• cakes and cookies

• red meat

• alcohol

• caffeinated products such as cola or coffee

STEP 2: ENERGY SUPPLEMENTS

Sometimes you can't get all your nutrients from foods. Vitamin, mineral, nutritional and herbal supplements can be your "crutch" when you want to boost your energy levels.

Vitamin supplements

• vitamin C

• vitamin E

• B-group vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6 or B12

Mineral supplements

• iodine

• iron

• magnesium

• phosphorus

• potassium

• selenium

• zinc

Nutritional supplements

• coeneyzme Q10

• probiotics

• isoflavones

Energy herbs

• blue-green algae

• Brazilian ginseng

• Siberian ginseng

• ginkgo

• maca

• schisandra

STEP 3: EXERCISE

Exercise and energy are linked -- the more you exercise, the more energy you have. Try doing at least 20 to 30 minutes of strenuous exercise five times a week. You don't have to become a fanatic about exercise. Activities like home renovation, gardening and dancing are just as good as swimming or bicycling. As long as you feel warm and a little out of breath, you are getting that heart pumping enough. Just be sure to consult your doctor before you begin your routine if you haven't exercised in years or are out of shape.

STEP 4: MENTAL ENERGY

Believe it or not, you can improve your mental energy just like you can boost your physical energy. Supplements and different kinds of therapies can improve your memory, concentration and mental performance. By taking a multinutrient supplement, you can prevent mineral and vitamin deficiencies which impact the mind.

Mental and spiritual disciplines can also work wonders for boosting energy levels. Therapies like acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy and shiatsu stimulate energy to the brain. Try calming-oriented activities like yoga and meditation, which can clear the head of thoughts, calm the body and help you achieve a state of heightened mental or spiritual awareness. You can also put a few drops of an essential oil like rosemary, lemon or peppermint on a handkerchief and inhale. Such aromatherapy can clear thoughts and improve alertness.

STEP 5: SPIRITUAL ENERGY

Holistic medicine dictates that spiritual energy has a strong link to physical and mental energy. Locate and access spiritual energy within to connect more deeply with your inner self. Locate energy from within by completing a rewarding project, like feeding the homeless or visiting the elderly. Activities that let you express inner feelings, like art, music and dance are spiritual. You can also tap into spiritual energy with yoga, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy or t'ai chi.






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