Try th­ese sim­ple ways to tackle some sur­pris­ing en­ergy sap­pers.

Los Angeles Times - - PARADE - By Mar­i­anne Wait

Agal­lon of gas costs less than a good cup of cof­fee, but it seems Amer­ica still has a se­ri­ous en­ergy cri­sis. Boomers—folks 50-plus—who prob­a­bly should know bet­ter, are down­ing more and more en­ergy drinks to fuel their en­deav­ors or just make it to bed­time. Some are get­ting more than they bar­gained for: ER vis­its due to heavy con­sump­tion of en­ergy drinks are up, es­pe­cially among men over 40. The mas­sive caf­feine dump can in­crease blood pres­sure and heart rate and even cause symptoms that can be mis­taken for a heart attack. Can’t re­mem­ber where you stashed your en­ergy? Try th­ese ex­pert-en­dorsed so­lu­tions to help you find it again.

1. BUSTER: TOO-BIG MEALS A huge din­ner sends blood to the di­ges­tive tract and away from mus­cles and other ar­eas that need it for en­ergy, says Michael F. Roizen, M.D., chief well­ness of­fi­cer at Cleve­land Clinic and au­thor of This is Your Do-Over: The 7 Se­crets to Los­ing Weight, Living Longer, and Get­ting a Sec­ond Chance at the Life You

Want (Scrib­ner). What’s worse: “Over time, those big meals prob­a­bly cause dam­age to mi­to­chon­dria, the cells’ en­ergy fac­to­ries,” Roizen says. The sugar dump froma big plate of food pro­duces more cell­dam­ag­ing free rad­i­cals than your nat­u­ral an­tiox­i­dant de­fenses can han­dle, and your mi­to­chon­dria may take the hit.

Booster: Smaller snacks Eat through­out the day for on­go­ing en­ergy. At snack time, don’t just eat pret­zels. “Ev­ery snack should have com­plex carbs plus pro­tein,” says El­iz­a­beth Ward, RD, au­thor of sev­eral nu­tri­tion books. Add peanut but­ter or cottage cheese to that pret­zel break.

2. BUSTER: YOUR “BAD” BAC­TE­RIA Your gut is home to an ar­ray of bac­te­ria, some ben­e­fi­cial, oth­ers not. “You eat steak, you change the bac­te­ria in­side your gut to those that like steak,” says Roizen. Too many of th­ese “bad” bugs leads to in­flam­ma­tion, which saps en­ergy.

Booster: Pro­bi­otics Start tak­ing a pro­bi­otic pill, such as Di­ges­tive Ad­van­tage (avail­able at Wal­mart and drug­stores), ev­ery day to re­pop­u­late the gut with “good” bac­te­ria, Roizen sug­gests.

3. BUSTER: YOUR OLDER GUT Peo­ple over 50 some­times have trou­ble ab­sorb­ing nu­tri­ents, such as B12, from nat­u­ral sources like red meat. “B12 is in­volved in nerve con­duc­tion, and the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem is in­volved in feel­ing fa­tigued,” Ward says. Booster: Take sup­ple­ments or eat

for­ti­fied grains “It’s rec­om­mended that you get the ma­jor­ity of nu­tri­ents in for­ti­fied foods or as di­etary sup­ple­ments,” says Ward. Roizen sug­gests half a mul­ti­vi­ta­min in the morn­ing and half at night to keep the level in your body steady (you lose the sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins in 12 to 16 hours).

4. BUSTER: YOUR MEDS Some­times the drugs you take to keep you healthy can have an im­pact on en­ergy pro­duc­tion, says Ward. “Cer­tain di­uret­ics de­plete potas­sium, for ex­am­ple. That can lead to an en­ergy slump,” she says. Booster: Fill in the gaps with sup­ple­ments Talk to your doc­tor. “You’ve got to drill down and find the po­ten­tial nu­tri­ent in­ter­ac­tions and com­pen­sate,” says Ward.

5. BUSTER: LACK OF PRO­TEIN “I find peo­ple, es­pe­cially women, are re­ally short on their pro­tein. They save it up for din­ner,” says Ward. Booster: Eat pro­tein at ev­ery

meal and snack “Get­ting 20 to 30 grams of pro­tein per meal is a very good way to give your body a steady source of amino acids that it needs to build neu­ro­trans­mit­ters, which help you to feel in a good mood and more en­er­getic or awake,” says Ward. Her fa­vorite sources of con­cen­trated pro­tein: Greek non­fat yo­gurt and cottage cheese. Her fa­vorite pro­tein tips: » Blend cottage cheese and mari­nara in a blen­der for creamy, high-pro­tein pasta sauce. » Mix cottage cheese with fruit, honey and nuts and add to whole­grain toast for a high-pro­tein break­fast.

6. BUSTER: YOUR WEIGHT Be­ing over­weight saps your en­ergy.

Booster: Wal­nuts be­fore meals Try this: 30 min­utes be­fore a meal, have six wal­nut halves. “That de­creases your de­sire for food be­cause when it hits your in­testi­nal wall, it de­creases ghre­lin pro­duc­tion,” says Roizen. (Ghre­lin is a hor­mone that makes you hun­gry.)

Bonus: Wal­nuts con­tain an amino acid that helps blood ves­sels di­late for bet­ter blood flow. More blood flow means bet­ter de­liv­ery of ATP, a coen­zyme known as the “en­ergy cur­rency of life,” to mus­cles, Roizen says.

7. BUSTER: SUGAR Sug­ars “give you that en­ergy rush, but you’ll pay for it” with an en­ergy crash, says Ward. “In the long term, sug­ary food and drinks in­hibit your blood flow,” says Roizen. With­out good blood flow, nu­tri­ents aren’t de­liv­ered where you need them for get-up-and-go.

Booster: Com­plex carbs “Foods rich in com­plex car­bo­hy­drates al­most al­ways have vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and fiber in them. Com­plex carbs take longer to di­gest, so you get a more even source of en­ergy rather than the sugar roller­coaster,” says Ward.

9. BUSTER: STAY­ING UP LATE Not enough Zs leaves you de­pleted. Booster: Go to bed one hour ear­lier Can’t fall asleep? Take ½ to 3 mil­ligrams of me­la­tonin, a sleepin­duc­ing hor­mone sup­ple­ment, two hours be­fore bed. Don’t take more or for more than two weeks at a time, says Roizen.

8. BUSTER: AL­CO­HOL “Al­co­hol is an en­ergy drainer. You have one or two drinks and you just don’t sleep as deeply,” says Ward.

Booster: Wa­ter Skip the booze, and drink more wa­ter. De­hy­dra­tion con­trib­utes to fa­tigue.

10.BUSTER: YOUR ELEC­TRON­ICS Blue wave­length light can in­hibit your body’s nat­u­ral pro­duc­tion of me­la­tonin.

Booster: Ban­ish the blues “Elim­i­nate TVs and cell phones in your bed­room,” Roizen sug­gests. You can find red wave­length lights that fil­ter out blue light in the hard­ware store.

11. BUSTER: A RI­BOSE DE­FI­CIENCY Ri­bose is a sugar pro­duced by the body that’s es­sen­tial for mi­to­chon­dria to cre­ate en­er­gypro­duc­ing ATP. “Some peo­ple with chronic fa­tigue aren’t mak­ing it ef­fi­ciently,” says Roizen.

Booster: Ri­bose sup­ple­ments Start with 500 mil­ligrams three times a day. Work up to 5 grams to­tal per day, Roizen sug­gests.

12. BUSTER: MED­I­CAL CON­DI­TIONS Thy­roid dys­func­tion is one com­mon cause of low en­ergy. Booster: Get your thy­roid checked You’ll need med­i­ca­tion if your lev­els are low.

13. BUSTER: TOO MUCH SIT­TING “Seden­tary peo­ple typ­i­cally have lower-than-av­er­age en­ergy lev­els,” says Pa­trick O’Con­nor, PhD, a pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Ki­ne­si­ol­ogy at Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia.

Booster: Any type of ex­er­cise “A sin­gle 20- to 40-minute bout of ex­er­cise re­li­ably in­creases feel­ings of en­ergy,” says O’Con­nor.

14. BUSTER: LOW-GRADE IN­FEC­TIONS Gin­givi­tis and si­nus in­fec­tions are en­ergy zap­pers.

Booster: Mouth and si­nus TLC Get your teeth cleaned twice a year and brush and floss rou­tinely. If you’re prone to si­nus in­fec­tions, rinse your nasal pas­sages with a Neti pot (a nasal ir­ri­ga­tion sys­temthat flushes out mu­cus), Roizen sug­gests.

15. BUSTER: BORE­DOM “Peo­ple are en­er­gized when they have fun,” says Roizen.

Booster: Pur­sue an in­ter­est “When we see peo­ple who have a lack of en­ergy,” says Roizen, “we ask them two ques­tions: ‘How are you sleep­ing?’ and ‘What’s your pas­sion?’ If they can’t tell us that sec­ond thing, we know that’s one of the things that is needed to get them en­er­gized about life.”

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