Boosting Energy Levels for Women with Nutrition | Food

Boosting Energy Levels for Women with Nutrition | Food

One thing we can attest to in our field is the large number of healthy women who feel tired or fatigued on a regular basis. For many, it is just a fact of life they accept. The modern lifestyle seems to encourage them to think of it as normal, with all the demands and stresses. Finding ways to boost energy is more important for busy women than ever, as the rise of the coffee house in the US will attest.

So is there are specific way for women to improve their energy levels?

When we were researching the biochemistry of energy production and utilization in humans for our JUMPSTART EX energy supplement, we took a close look at the differences in the way women need and use energy to men. We found that the approach to boosting energy levels through nutrition is essentially the same for both sexes. Still there are some requirements for women who want to raise their energy levels that are worth detailing.

First off, obviously the sexes have different body shapes and compositions. Women have more body fat than men, but they also consume fewer calories per pound, and tend to utilize more fat stores while exercising than men. Researchers have found that women not only have a lower physical activity energy expenditure than men, they also have slightly different metabolic responses to food.

It's still too complex to know exactly what causes the mild differences in energy utilization -- it's a mix of lifestyle, body composition (women have an average of 30% body fat compared to men's 15%, and different muscle mass), glucose conversion, insulin resistance, sex and other hormones (i.e. leptin), fat storage, and diet. The demands on the female body can vary, especially during pregnancy, menopause, or even just being a mother. The bottom line is that women have a lower caloric usage for metabolic need, which definitely influences the way they should choose their food. 

So what's the best way for a female to boost energy levels with food?

Fortunately, while the physical differences between the sexes may be significant, research shows that energy requirements for men and women are pretty much the same. This was also why we eventually developed one energy supplement for both sexes (originally we had expected to target them for each sex.)

As I said, women need less food than men for their metabolic function, which is partly why studies have shown that women must reduce their food intake by a larger amount to achieve the same weight loss as men. This means women must be judicious about what they eat to fuel their body.

Empty calories are an unwise choice.

The right foods are critical.

To maximize energy levels, choose foods that provide maximum fuel per calorie with the nutrients to support healthy female function. 

Before we jump into nutrition for energy, let's just point out that water is fundamental to every bodily process and therefore to good energy levels. Drink around 8 glasses a day.

One more tip: proper energy levels and good glucose utilization will be better maintained by eating smaller meals more often. The absolute worst thing to do is to starve yourself.

It's all about eating the right foods in thew right proportions.

Carbohydrates may be the primary source of rapid energy, but for women, fats and proteins are important. Foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olives are good energy food sources. Almonds and walnuts are particularly good sources of energy, as are any lean proteins like chicken, fish, and pork. Proteins also help manage blood sugar levels, so combine some with each meal for extended energy.

When it comes to carbs, again go for slow burning fuel like whole oats, whole grains, quinoa, bulgur, and brown rice. The high fiber content is key to slow absorption and extended energy release.

Of all of them, B vitamins may be the most important for energy. Choose whole grains, sweet potatoes, avocados, egg yolks, and proteins like fatty fish or lean chicken to ensure plenty of the range of B vitamins. Leafy greens are very beneficial (for pretty much the whole gamut.) Or if you're an Aussie, can't beat the Vegemite for B12.

Possibly the key requirement from the female perspective may be iron. A woman's physiology requires more iron, and potassium, than men. Foods high in these nutrients are particularly important. Walnuts are high in iron, zinc, potassium, and protein, Bananas, celery, all leafy greens like kale, spinach, cabbage, and seaweeds are good sources of iron and potassium. Sprouting grasses like alfalfa are low in calories but rich in iron, as well as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and critical vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. 

Iodine is also essential as it promotes proper thyroid function (thereby regulating the metabolism to burn energy efficiently). Milk, seaweed, bananas, iodized salt, and beans are very high in iodine. Selenium also aids in good thyroid function, so tuna, salmon, eggs, mushrooms, and seeds are good choices.

Magnesium, which we have covered in detail in a previous post, is critical for both sexes, but bears mentioning again for its importance.

We also have a general look at the best vitamins for energy here.

One thing you will notice is the recurrence of green vegetables in the list of energy foods. Green is indeed the color of energy, so picking vibrant green foods will be sure to boost female energy levels (well both sexes, of course.)

Finally, heating spices are particularly effective for women looking to increase their energy levels. Add cinnamon, chili, turmeric, and ginger to your foods to raise your metabolism and boost energy. Be careful with these as they can cause hot flashes.

One last thing ... no sugar or simple carbs. Avoid the candy, chips, cookies, and all the other immediate gratifications that do no good in the long run. If you need quick energy, be smart. Eating more small, healthy meals with the foods above will help you avoid these traps.

Now having said all of this, one mistake to avoid is trying to fix low energy with food when you are not hungry. Sometimes a stimulant like tea or coffee is better than food (especially if caloric controls are in place.) And that brings me to nutritional energy from supplements, which can be an excellent way to provide a boost without harming the body or adding calories (but only if they are well formulated and precise.) The most effective herbal forms of energy come from caffeine, guarana, kola nut, green tea, ginseng, rhodiola, schizandra, DMAE, and actyl-l-carnitine. These are equally as useful for men and women, and can be an excellent option for people on the go or on a strict diet.

So if you are a women, pay particular attention to these nutritional guides and you should be more vital and have better energy levels.

Related Posts:
Are You Suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? 
Understanding Energy Usage is Crucial to Weight Loss
The Relationship Between Energy, Nutrition, Focus, Discipline

Jumpstart EX energy

References:

Ferraro R, Lillioja S, Fontvieille AM, Rising R, Bogardus C, Ravussin E. Lower sedentary metabolic rate in women compared with men. J Clin Invest. 1992

Kissebah AH, Vydelingum N, Murray R, et al. Relation of body fat distribution to metabolic complications of obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1982

Kaye SA, Folsom AR, Sprafka JM, et al. Increased incidence of diabetes mellitus in relation to abdominal adiposity in older women. J Clin Epidemiol. 1991

Kotani K, Tokunaga K, Fujioka S, et al. Sexual dimorphism of age-related changes in whole-body fat distribution in the obese. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1994

Bjorntorp P. The regulation of adipose tissue distribution in humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996;20:291–302. 

Ritchie SA, Connell JM. The link between abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2007

Machann J, Thamer C, Schnoedt B, et al. Age and gender related effects on adipose tissue compartments of subjects with increased risk for type 2 diabetes: A whole body MRI/MRS study. MAGMA. 2005



The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.

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