Are you tired, listless, lacking energy? Do you feel like you need a pick-me-up even though you just had one an hour ago? No, this isn’t an infomercial for some zany new energy drink or power bar. The truth is that what you eat can have a large impact on how you feel and how much energy you have.
Many people feel tired at different times of the day. Right after lunch or mid-afternoon are particularly trying times for people who have to power right through naptime and keep working. But feeling fatigued all day long can be an indicator of a bigger problem than just being a little sleepy. Chronic fatigue can be the result of depression, stress, or a disease like underactive thyroid or anemia.
For those who’s fatigue isn’t a sign of some larger problem, minor changes in your diet might be the answer. We all know that eating copious amounts of turkey on Thanksgiving can make staying awake a near-impossible task, but thankfully that’s not a meal we consume on a daily basis. For day-to-day living, there are a few things we should think about when planning our meals.
First, make sure that you’re eating enough. People get busy and meals sometimes get skipped or something quick and easy – and not filling – replaces a normal meal. While this might seem like a time saving endeavor, the truth is that it can often end up using more time to accomplish tasks because you’re too tired to work effectively. When meals are skipped, blood sugar can drop making you feel lethargic and sleepy. Be sure to eat 3 square meals with healthy snacks in between (or 6 smaller meals if that suits you better) to make sure that your blood sugar stays in a healthy range and your energy level stays up.
Second, make sure you’re not eating too much! You might get an energy boost, but you’ll also get the crash that comes after and could wipe you out. Less food more often is a much better way to go.
Third, drink plenty of liquids. Signs of fatigue precede dehydration, so drinking water can bring your energy level up as well as keep your body healthy and hydrated. And make sure that you don’t consume too much soda, which can make you feel thirstier and give you an energy burst followed by a crash.
Fourth, be sure that your body is getting all of the vitamins and minerals it needs. Many people in America have been found to be lacking iron, magnesium, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, and dietary calcium. Supplements can help make up for these deficiencies, and can also help combat fatigue brought on by them (but be sure to check with your doctor to see if more action needs to be taken).
If you watch what you eat, drink plenty of liquids, and make sure you’re getting your vitamins and minerals, you might be able to become a more alert, productive person. It’s good to check with your doctor to make sure that your fatigue is not a symptom of a bigger problem, but try a few of these ideas as well to see if you can fight your fatigue with food.