Do you consume a lot of caffeine in coffee and energy drinks? Many of us are dependent to some degree or another on caffeine and/or artificial energy stimulants, including sugar. In the cold winter months, these habits seem to intensify as we push through our to-do lists when all we want to do is stay home by the fire.
We have so much to do in such a short time — it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We eat too many sweets, stay up late and skip our workouts. If we’re not careful, the holidays can quickly turn into a metabolic disaster.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can address the potential for dietary mayhem and sluggish winter activity simply by planning ahead. By adopting a few key strategies, we can support a healthy weight, promote efficient metabolism and maintain strong immunity to sail us right through winter with energy and vitality to spare.
There are also natural, healthful supplements available that can help you maintain constant, stable energy, rather than provide peaks and crashes the way caffeine and artificial stimulants do.
The Links Between Metabolism & Immunity
Metabolism and immunity are closely connected, and there is constant “cross-talk” between the two systems. When blood sugar is in balance, it benefits all areas of health, including the immune system. Maintaining healthy glucose metabolism with diet, exercise and targeted supplements can help promote swift, healthy immune responses. Healthy blood sugar and metabolic balance also helps to support cardiovascular health, vital energy, neurological health and more.
The end of the year is full of dietary land mines, but you can step carefully around them while still enjoying yourself. Busy schedules make it difficult to cook meals from scratch, but that can be overcome. For example, take some time one day to prepare nutritious meals in advance, say on Sunday, and keep them frozen for a week’s worth of food that’s convenient and healthy. Get creative with hearty soups, stews and chili. They’re easy to make and freeze well.
In fact, having good food on hand is a major key to maintaining metabolic and overall health. Stock up on seasonal produce to ward off sugar cravings. Because the truth is that the first step towards maintaining energy entails adopting a healthy diet. Think lean protein, sprouted whole grains, raw nuts, lots of vegetables and brightly colored fruit like berries, and lots of fresh, filtered water. Steer clear of processed foods and sugar: they can generate glucose spikes and crashes, while fueling inflammation and even damaging mitochondria.
Activity is also crucial. A number of studies have shown that exercise boosts overall energy levels. In fact, exercise can actually increase the number of mitochondria in cells. To balance physical exercise for better energy, be sure to get enough sleep. While it may seem easier to find the next energy boost in a cup or a bottle, the old fashioned approach to energy is generally the best. Sleep does more than remedy fatigue; it allows the body the opportunity to repair and synchronizes its circadian rhythms and optimal vitality in the New Year.
Whenever our schedules get overwhelming, exercise seems to be the first routine we abandon. This is especially true in the cold winter months when energy levels are naturally lower, it’s already dark when we get off work, and cold weather discourages the usual outdoor activities.
You can find simple ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, like parking farther from your destination and walking, or getting off the subway one stop early and walking the rest of the way home or to work.
It can also be fun and rewarding to take advantage of technology to work out at home. There are numerous free yoga classes and other workouts online: bookmark them on the computer and take a few minutes for yourself between wrapping presents. Short stints of exercise can provide a lot of benefits. Stretching, yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, mini-trampoline and jumping rope can let you take short breaks that allow you tune down your stress levels and promote healthy metabolic function.
Natural Energy Supplements
Understanding how the body creates energy can help us determine which supplements suit our individual needs. Looking first at the adrenal system, Korean ginseng, the mushroom cordyceps and B vitamins are all helpful.
Next, look at mitochondria and healthy digestion. This could best be described as an energy pathway: when you eat a meal, the body extracts necessary raw materials from the food in the digestive tract and then the mitochondria convert these materials into cellular energy.
Poor digestion is like a neglected automobile engine that needs a tune-up: fuel is being burned inefficiently. By offering your digestive system targeted support with specific enzymes, nutrients, medicinal mushrooms, you can help support the body’s nutritional needs for efficient energy production. ecoNugenics’ Integrative Digestive Formula® contains these and other ingredients to offer unique, comprehensive support for digestive health and nutrient absorption. This formula also helps relive occasional digestive discomfort.
In addition, a number of supplements also support mitochondrial energy, including astragalus, Siberian ginseng, mushrooms coriolus, shitake and maitake, and acetyl l-carnitine.
To support circulation, ecoNugenics recommends Circutol® with ingredients like Salvia miltiorrhiza, nattokinase, hawthorn berry and medicinal mushrooms reishi and cordyceps.
There are a number of botanicals and nutrients that can help support a healthy metabolism and reduce sugar cravings during the holidays and year round. ecoNugenics ecoMetabolic® is physician formulated to support metabolic health, maintain healthy glucose levels and promote carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. With a unique blend of traditional Asian botanicals, medicinal mushrooms, amino acids and other nutrients, ecoMetabolic® offers comprehensive support for metabolic and overall health, naturally.
The holidays can have a way of throwing us off our healthy lifestyles. Don’t let that happen. With a little planning, and extra compassion for ourselves, we can avoid some of the classic holiday pitfalls. Meanwhile, we prime our metabolism and immunity to celebrate greater health and vitality come New Year.