Recover and Re-energize Naturally
This post-Christmas, pre-New Years time of year is when I start to yearn for superhero qualities. A little more energy that lasts through a day of snowshoeing and a late night dinner party would be nice. A jump-start that clears the morning fog after a few late night drinks would be greatly appreciated. While it is extremely tempting to swallow an Advil, gulp a cup of coffee and call it good, what the body really needs is a dose of good food filled with the nutrients needed to make energy, repair cells and power through the day. The trick is getting the right nutrients for the circumstance. It may feel like food is the last thing your body wants after all the gluttony but, in moderate amounts and from healthy sources, food is the nourishment your body needs to recover from the holiday indulgences.
Your body needs nutrients to energize, recover, rehydrate, relax and survive the holiday season healthy and happily. The following are some of the best nutrients for your body this time of year. Remember that natural whole food sources are always the best way to add them to your diet. (Supplements in pill form should only be administered by your naturopath to make sure you are not doing more harm than good.)
- Thiamin: key for its metabolic role in the cellular production of energy. Whole foods rich in thiamin, such as whole grains, spinach, cauliflower, nuts, legumes, and avocados can help with your energy production and muscle function to get you through a day of sledding, skiing, shopping, cooking or entertaining the family. Thiamin helps your body metabolize glucose for energy, convert carbohydrates into potential energy and assists in the production of important messengers for communication between your nerves and muscles.
- Magnesium: a mineral involved in many energy-producing reactions in your body. Magnesium is stored naturally in your body but drinking alcohol can greatly deplete your body’s stores. Many of the fatigue and stress symptoms of a hangover are due, in part, depletion of magnesium from alcohol consumption. Magnesium relaxes your muscles, calms the intestinal tract, helps metabolize protein and carbohydrates and helps release energy in the body. Fatigue is one of the first and foremost symptoms of low magnesium levels and but be easily remedied by consuming magnesium rich whole foods and plenty of water. Some of the best sources are leafy greens and dark green vegetables as well as nuts, seeds and legumes.
- Vitamin C: in addition to its well known role in boosting immunity, vitamin C stimulates the adrenal glands where stress hormones are managed and helps your body regulate stress and energy balance. Vitamin C can help relieve fatigue, sluggish metabolism, and inflammatory pain. Stay healthy and balance your stresses with whole food sources such as citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, cabbage, and peppers.
- Potassium: an electrolyte mineral that regulates the hydration and ph levels in your body. Potassium will help re-hydrate your body efficiently after a late night or a day of hard exercise. In addition, potassium is important in cellular energy metabolism, carbohydrate and glucose metabolism and for growth, re-generation and function of muscles. With whole food sources of potassium, such as dark leafy greens, potatoes, bananas, apples, avocados and whole grains you can help refuel and rehydrate your body to for another active day with the family.
This post holiday smoothie is packed with the nutrients your body needs to recover and re-energize. With many of the nutrients mentioned above, plus some protein, antioxidants and probiotics this smoothie will nourish and re-energize your whole body.
1 C. chopped fresh kale
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup pomegranate juice (or blueberry/grape – no sugar added)
1 medium banana
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Drink immediately and enjoy your new-found well being!