Weight Loss

Improve energy levels and sleep better: Seven food changes to 'supercharge' your diet

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Diet plan: What we eat can play a role in lethargy

Simple dietary changes could have a big effect on overall health, according to Healthspan Nutritional Consultant, Fiona Hunter.

Eating more salmon, boiled eggs and kiwi will help you to beat the winter blues, have a better night’s sleep, and will help with a hangover, she said.

“Diet has never been so complicated, and there’s no reason it should be,” said Hunter.

“Making some quick changes shows that healthy eating doesn’t need to be hard work.

“If you need more energy, a better night’s sleep, recharge post-festive big night, or simply just want to supercharge your diet, it can be as easy as making one simple change.”

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Boiled eggs and soldiers are a good option

Fiona Hunter

Boost energy levels

Swapping your usual breakfast for bran flakes will boost your iron intake – the key to feeling fully charged, Hunter said.

The most common cause of lack of energy – particularly in women – is an iron deficiency in the blood, she said.

“Unlike many other cereals, porridge and muesli are not fortified with iron, so choosing a cereal like bran flakes, which is fortified, will help boost your intake.

“If you also have a small glass of orange at the same time as cereal, the vitamin C from the juice changes the chemical structure of the iron, which means the body can absorb up to 10 times more vitamin C from the cereal.”

Stop a hangover

Eating boiled eggs on the morning after the night before could help to relieve the symptoms of a hangover, said Hunter.

“Eggs contain cysteine – an amino acid thought to mop up the toxins that build up in the liver. So, boiled eggs and soldiers are a good option.”

She also recommended cutting out coffee when feeling hungover, because it can dehydrate the body.

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Diet plan: Bran flakes could help to boost energy levels

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Lethargic manGETTY Images

Diet plan: Eating meals with more protein could stop the mid-afternoon lethargy

Beat the winter blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is thought to be caused by a lack of vitamin D.

Swapping canned tuna for canned salmon could reduce the symptoms of the winter blues, as salmon contained 10 times more vitamin D than tuna, Hunter said.

SAD symptoms include depression, lethargy, carbohydrate cravings, irritability and decreased libido.

Boost the immune system

Leeks contain about 50 per cent more prebiotic fibre than onions, said the Healthspan nutritionist.

Prebiotic fibre is crucial to keeping the gut in good health. A healthy gut, is linked to a healthy immune system, she said.

“Both onions and leeks contain prebiotic fibre, but leeks contain about 50 per cent more,” said Hunter.

“They both belong to the same family, and have a similar flavour, so you can simply substitute finely chopped leeks instead of onions in recipes like spaghetti bolognese and stews.”

LeeksGETTY Images

Diet plan: Leeks could help to keep a healthy gut

Kiwi fruitGETTY Images

Diet plan: Kiwi could help people get a better night’s sleep

Lower cholesterol

Substitute broccoli for Beneforte broccoli, as it’s more effective at removing ‘bad’ cholesterol, said Hunter.

Beneforte broccoli contains three times more glucoraphanin than regular broccoli.

Glucoraphanin is a phytochemical that is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Get a better night’s sleep

Kiwi fruit could be the key to getting a better night’s sleep.

Research has claimed eating two kiwi fruits one hour before bedtime could help people fall asleep 35 per cent faster.

It could also help people to sleep 13 per cent longer.

Feel more revitalised after lunch

Eating a big meal at lunchtime could play a role in mid-afternoon lethargy, according to Hunter.

High carb lunches could trigger serotonin production in the brain, which makes us feel sleepy and relaxed, she said.

“Protein, on the other hand, triggers the release of dopamine and noradrenaline, which keeps the brain alert and awake.

“So, swapping your lunchtime sandwich or pasta salad for a protein-rich meal, like an omelette or a chicken salad, could be the answer to fighting off afternoon apathy.”

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