9 surprising facts on how you can easily increase your energy when you are constantly feeling tired

Ilona Madden - RightFood4U - Nutrition Programmes - Bray Wicklow Dublin

Written by Ilona Madden

August 30, 2021

updated 26 Nov 2021

Do you feel more tired than normal – for no apparent reason?

I hear a lot of people telling me that they “just haven’t got any energy at the moment”, “I feel so knackered all the time” “If I do xxx, I know I won’t be able to do xxx afterwards”. “I could sleep all day!”

How are your energy levels at the moment? Take the quiz here.

If your score is above 16, I suggest trying out my top tips to getting your energy back.

If you are constantly tired, I would, first of all, suggest you go to your GP and have a proper Blood Test and examination done to rule out any underlying health issue. One of the most common results for low energy that show in a blood test could be an infection, an underactive thyroid or low iron.

However, if nothing obvious shows up in your blood test or examination, this doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do about it. When we get told “there’s nothing wrong”, we often feel powerless and can feel we need to just put up with it.

But you do not need to put up with it!

If you are feeling tired all the time, I urge you to read this article and try out some of these suggestions for the next 4 weeks – and I promise you will see a difference!

If not, please book in a Health & Energy Review call with me to see what else can be behind you feeling tired all the time. There are also some tests that your GP might not run that can reveal more.

The main thing I am trying to say, our bodies are designed to have energy all day long, and getting older or being busy should not be reasons to feel tired. Feeling tired is a symptom, not a cause. Addressing the symptom is what will get your energy back!

Where is energy actually made in our bodies?

You might have heard of the mitochondria which are the powerhouses of our bodies. You can regard these as tiny little batteries all over your body. We have trillions of these in every cell. Most of them are found in organs that require a lot of energy such as the heart and the brain. The way they produce the energy is through a bio-chemical process where electrons are given and taken. This proenergycess is called the Krebs Cycle. In this cycle we produce energy in the form of ATP.

These mitochondria are fascinating little things however, they are highly sensitive and can easily be damaged. If you are experiencing a lot of tiredness, lack of energy and fatigue, it is most likely because your mitochondria are being damaged or destroyed.

Now that you know that, let’s look at what you can do to keep your powerhouses in your body healthy and working for you!

  1. Keeping your blood sugar balanced

Delicious chocolate no weight gainAdvertisements constantly suggest that we need sugar for energy. Yes, it is true, high sugar foods can give us a boost of energy and glucose is the preferred source of fuel for our body.

However, what many of us experience after a sugar spike, is an energy drop about 1-2 hours after eating sugar. Or feeling hungry and cravings again.

Our bodies like a state of balance. Our bodies need a certain amount of sugar in the blood, but not too much and not too little. Too much is causing damage to the blood arteries (as we seen in many complications that diabetes brings) and too little is causing stress and cravings.

When we eat anything sugary or high in fast releasing carbohydrates, we will require a huge amount of insulin to quickly get the sugar out of the blood into the cells where sugar can be used or stored. However, when our pancreas releases a higher amount of insulin, this can lead to an overshooting the target of a balanced blood sugar, and it can lead to a state of too little sugar in the blood. And this low blood sugar leads to low energy. As the body doesn’t like that, the body releasing cortisol (STRESS!) to mobilise sugar reserves and at the same time, it gives you food cravings to bring up energy. If you eat then again on top of already high sugar in the blood, you will just start the same process again over and over throughout the day.

In short, the energy you get from sugar is like a bank loan. While you are taking out the money, you can enjoy it for a short time, but eventually, you will have to pay it back! So, while sugar briefly gives you energy, you will feel a low sooner or later.

So, what can you do to keep your blood sugar balanced?

There are loads of things you can do, but these are the 5 easiest things to start with.

  • Reduce or avoid the obvious foods that contain a lot of sugar
  • Swop fast releasing carbohydrates to slow-releasing carbohydrates
  • Have some protein and healthy fats with each meal or snack
  • Have some fibre with each meal and snack, ideally from fresh, organic, locally sourced vegetables
  • Give your body a break from constantly eating during the night for a period of at least 12 hours.
  1. Coffee and caffeine

Coffee or caffeinated beverages and foods have a similar effect as sugar does. It is only short-lived and will in the long run lead to a state of low energy again. And what most people do then, is to look for the next caffeine fix. Caffeine works on your adrenal glands and the cortisol release you get from coffee stimulates stored sugar from your body to be “dumped” into the bloodstream. This causes an unbalanced blood sugar as described in section 1. Apart from that many people experience issues with sleep. Read more about sleep in section 7.

I am absolutely not saying that coffee is “bad” for you, quite the opposite. Drinking coffee for pure enjoyment is one thing, drinking it because you need to get going is something else. If you constantly require coffee first thing in the morning or in the afternoon, I suggest it is worthwhile investigating the reasons behind it. caffeine

What can you do?

  • Reduce the amount of coffee especially when you depend on it.
  • Look into other areas that can affect your energy levels and get to the root cause of “needing coffee”
  • If you are drinking coffee for the taste, swop to good quality decaffeinated coffees.
  1. Too much exercise

Anybody, who is not into exercising might say, that’s kinda obvious. However, many fitness “fanatics” struggle to accept that sometimes their bodies do need a rest and time for recovery. Our bodies are amazing, and they really can put up with a lot of movement and tough training sessions. But as any professional coach will tell you, recovery is equally important as training.

Too much exercise can cause oxidative stress – which is kind of similar to going rusty. Too much exercise is damaging to your mitochondria and with that your overall energy production.

  1. Too little exercise

At the same time, too little exercise is causing your mitochondria to feel sluggish. A bit like the good old fashioned dynamos at bicycles, movement and exercise generates energy in the powerhouses of your body. How often have you felt more energised after a walk or a gym session? We often use feeling tired as an excuse for not going out. However, in many cases, exercise and movement are exactly what you might need. Finding the right balance between exercising and rest is the key. A good coach and health coach can help you find your balance.Full of energy

  1. Your liver needs loads of energy

Your liver is your number one detoxification organ and is very hard-working all the time. What this means is basically, it makes the toxins you are exposed to less dangerous to the body and helps eliminate them. After the brain and the heart, it uses up most ATP or energy. It is working to clean all environmental toxins that you are exposed to – and in today’s world, there are very few spots where you are not exposed to toxins. The food you eat can be full of additives, preservatives, treated with pesticides and herbicides. All of these need to be excreted and made harmless not to damage your body. Any medication you are taking needs to be detoxified. Alcohol needs to be detoxified. Any product you put on your skin is being absorbed into the bloodstream and needs to be detoxified.

However, detoxification is often getting bad press for being a “fad” and “commercially exploited” form of a natural process.

And it is correct, most of the time, we can rely on our liver to do the job. However, the liver can become over-burdened and often toxins don’t get excreted and get recycled into the body (where they can cause damage) or they get stored in fat tissue.

Giving your liver a break on a regular basis where it doesn’t have to work so hard, is a natural detox and is highly beneficial. During that time, the body can also release some of the stored toxins from the fat cells. This is sometimes causing side effects such as headaches, and many people give up! Whereas it is actually a sign that detoxification is working.

I am not talking about serious chelation or serious detoxification programmes which should always be done under supervision and by someone who is trained in the process. I am talking about going for a week or two where you are avoiding sugary foods, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants, where you focus on nutritious and organic food. Some people will also need more support than others during those gentle cleanses, and I’d be happy to discuss with you how I can support you.

I am regularly doing supported “cleanses” or “challenges”, and if you choose to you can incorporate these into a group or 1-2-1 programme with me. Check out my upcoming events.

  1. Dealing with stress

A lot of times, we might think that stress is a situation that comes to us from the outside through “stressful” events. However, it is never the situation but rather the way we deal with the situation that causes stress in our bodies. Stress basically means in our body the release of hormones. These hormones should have a protective effect, i.e. that we avoid or deal with a life-threatening situation. And these hormones should be switched off immediately after the event again and our bodies should get into a state of “restoring” and “resting”. However, in today’s world, we often don’t manage to do so anymore. These stress hormones have a negative effect on our mitochondria, but equally, if they aren’t functioning properly, our ability to deal with stressful situations is being reduced. We haven’t got the energy that is required to think clearly and detach ourselves from the situation.

  1. Restorative sleep

relaxSleep always seems an obvious thing to do when you are tired all the time. However, if you have an excessive need for sleep, it is also important to look at the reasons behind it. It is not normal to need more than 8 hours of sleep constantly. It is not normal to feel the need to lie down in the afternoon constantly. Restorative sleep can only happen when you follow the natural circadian rhythms. This means going to bed at regular hours and ideally before 10 pm, and getting up at the same time every day, ideally between 6-8 am. In order to get restorative sleep, it is important to avoid screen time and heavy meals about 2-3 hours before you go to bed. Restorative sleep helps restore your little powerhouses which will give you the energy you need during the day.


  1. Energy producing nutrients

This is an image of the Krebs cycle. You can clearly see the constant requirement of the various B-Vitamins, of Iron, of CoQ10, Se, Lipoic Acid, Glutathione, L-Carnitine in the process. If you are not getting sufficient of these nutrients through your diet or through supplementation the cycle and the energy-producing process is simply not working properly.

Ilona Madden - RightFood4U - Nutrition Programmes - Bray Wicklow Dublin

  1. Energy producing gut bacteria

This is often overlooked when it comes to energy production. Your gut microbes produce so-called Short-Chain-Fatty Acids when they ferment undigestible foods in the gut. These short-chain fatty acids, for example, ALA or Lipoic Acid can then be used to produce energy. But unless you are actually feeding your gut with in-digestible foods, you are not producing sufficient short-chain fatty acids. What are in-digestible foods: Fibre. And the best source of fibre is a huge variety of colourful vegetables, but also resistant starches (see my article on cold potatoes and rice).

To summarise, all the health advice you are constantly hearing is mainly designed to give you more energy first and foremost.

And more energy simply means ultimately, better health and well-being. Without energy, you cannot be in a healthy state in your body or your mind.

I hope you have found this article and the many sub-sections interesting and will try some of the suggestions immediately.

But remember, I’m always there to help. All you need to do is book a Health&Energy Review Call with me at

Mulled wine

This delicious mulled wine is sweetened naturally with a little cider and the juice of an orange.

If not sweet enough just add some xylitol.


2 bottles of fruity red wine
150ml apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
Juice of one orange
The peel of one unwaxed lemon
5 whole cloves, stuck in an unwaxed orange
A pinch of nutmeg
5 cardamom pods (optional)
I tbsp of xylitol (optional)


Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let the wine rest for an additional 10 minutes before straining and serving.

Healthy Mince Pies

Ingredients for the filling:

1 large apple
75g raisins
75g sultanas
75g currants
65g dried, ideally unsweetened cranberries
60g other dried fruit (sour cherries,
blueberries, mango, apricots
– dried but unsweetened)
Zest and juice of an orange
50g coconut palm sugar
4 tbsp butter, cubed
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp brandy (optional)

Ingredients for the pastry:

150g of almond flour or ground almonds
75g of coconut flour
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
zest of an orange
115g butter, frozen
(plus a little extra for greasing)
1 egg, lightly whisked


Pre-heat the oven to 175˚C, then put the almond and coconut flours in a bowl with the sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the orange zest. Grate the frozen butter into the flour and mix together with your fingers till a crumb forms.

Stir in the egg and mix with your hands to form a dough. Divide the dough in half; wrap each in film and place in the fridge for 1 hour (or overnight). Grease the moulds of a muffin pan with a little butter.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place between 2 sheets of baking/ greaseproof paper.

Roll with a rolling pin to flatten out the dough until it is pie-crust thin.

To make the filling:
Put all of the filling ingredients (other than the brandy) into a large saucepan over medium heat and stir.

When the butter is fully melted, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir through a tablespoon of brandy, and decant into sterilized glass jars.
Leave to cool with the lid slightly ajar, then secure tightly and store until required.
Using a biscuit cutter (or an upturned jam jar – needs to be about 8cm diameter), cut out 25 circles and lightly press into the muffin pan moulds.

The pastry can be tricky to work with, as there is no gluten holding it together. Be patient. If the pastry
splits just push it back together with your fingers and use any pastry scraps to fix it up.
Fill up each pie mould with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. Using the remainder of the dough, cut out 25 stars to top each pie. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tins, before gently easing them out. Don’t be tempted to remove from the
tin when they come out of the oven – they WILL fall apart if you do this.

(Recipe from Zest4Life Christmas recipes)

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