After an initial hit, triggering insulin levels and giving you a total sugar rush, the highs are short lived and inevitably lead to that well-known afternoon slump. Removing sugar and replacing it with natural alternatives will give you more balanced energy levels throughout the day!
Probably not what you wanted to hear, but for all those anti-ageing creams you’re spending money on, none of them will make a difference while sugar is undermining your efforts from the inside out. It reacts with proteins to harden cell structures, which basically means it causes wrinkles.
We all battle with our emotional ups and downs, but controlling your sugar intake is definitely one of the ways you can limit the rollercoaster ride because it’s known to trigger depression and anxiety by changing the way the brain responds to stress. As if we need that in our lives!
Nutrition therapist Stephanie Moore at Grayshott Health Spa says that the most common food to trigger fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration is sugar. She says: “this includes all naturally sweet and sweetened foods but also foods containing refined grains such as bagels, croissants and other pastries, bread, especially wheat-based breads and fruit juices.”
“All these foods will trigger blood sugar levels to rapidly spike. For many people, when this happens, the hormone insulin, which should regulate blood sugar, over compensates, resulting in blood glucose levels plummeting below that which is desirable. This leaves the brain, muscles and organs short of immediate fuel, triggering feelings of mental and physical fatigue.”
Otherwise known as date honey, this is a fruit syrup extracted from dates and is widely used in the Middle East. It has antibacterial properties similar to Manuka honey and because of its production process it retains its nutrients and is slowly absorbed into the body rather than giving you a huge spike of sugar and therefore insulin.
Also called coconut nectar and gaining popularity, coconut palm sugar is a sugar substitute that’s made of the sap extracted from the coconut tree. It tastes similar to brown sugar, has a low glycemic index and can be used in cooking and drinks just like the refined stuff.
Best known as the stuff to pour on your pancakes, maple syrup from the sap of the sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees also has a low glycemic index and can be used similarly to honey.
Relatively new to the UK, but used around the world for more than 1500 years, Stevia comes from the leaf of the Stevia plant and originated in South America where it was originally used to sweeten tea. It is very sweet, but does taste different to sugar so will take a little getting used to. Just keep an eye out for the green or brownish varieties; if it looks like a white powder then it has been tampered with too much.
Stephanie recommends that the healthiest ways to boost brain and body energy wit food is by eating coconut, not the water but the flesh and/ or the oil. Snacking on toasted coconut flakes or chunks of coconut meat now readily available relay prepped in supermarkets is a great option.
The calories in coconut oil or flesh become energy really quickly, so will not make you fat but will rapidly boost mental and physical function. You can also use full fat organic coconut milk with fresh berries for a really nutritious snack.