Tired all the time, or TATT, as doctors shorthand it, is a common ailment that many people suffer from without knowing the reason why. It could be that you are lacking certain minerals or vitamins, you could be anaemic or have an under-active thyroid, or there could be a more serious reason. Generally, people are doing more, eating less healthily and on the run, and suffering from greater bouts of stress than before. Also certain medications can make you feel like you have no energy. So how can you get your natural bounce and spring back into your step? All foods convert into energy but some are better than others. You will get energy from a can of fizzy drink but it will be an instant sugary high and then you’ll get the sudden sugar crash that will make you feel sluggish and worse than before. Better to choose your foods for their slow release of energy that will give you a sustained burst over time and not a one off hit. Here are our suggestions:
Whole Grains and Oats
The best foods for energy are those full of complex carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates break down more slowly than simple carbohydrates, making them an ideal source of energy because they provide a steady stream of fuel for the body as they are converted into glucose. Whole-grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal and whole-grain pastas are great sources of energy as they are also sources of complex carbohydrates. So swap your white bread for whole grain, white rice for brown and pasta for whole grain pasta. You’ll soon notice a difference in your energy levels.
Nuts contain high amounts of protein and a little fiber. The high protein content along with the added fiber provides subsequent energy. Protein fills you up quickly and leaves you feeling full over a longer period of time because it is slowly digested by your body. Eating protein in the form of nuts provides you with a quick and easy snack option that will increase your energy levels throughout the day. Nuts are a lower fat and calorie option than many other kinds of high-protein foods such as red meat.
Adding bananas to your diet to increase energy is so easy. They come prepackaged, you can eat them as is, you can make them into smoothies, you can chop them up and put onto your cereal in the morning, or simply drizzle with some honey or peanut butter for a tasty snack at any time of the day. The fruit contains large amounts of vitamin B-6. Lacking this vitamin causes weakness, irritability and insomnia. Bananas also contain tryptophan, a protein that converts into serotonin. Serotonin is considered a mood enhancer, which may combat depression and seasonal affective disorder. Carbohydrates and fiber will also aid in energy levels when you eat a banana. Try mixing bananas into yogurt smoothies and add additional energizing fruits and ground flax seed and protein powder for a nutritious boost.
Beans are packed with fiber and protein. Just one serving of black beans can provide you with 6g of fiber and 7g of protein per serving. Also, beans are low in fat, which can help you avoid unnecessary weight gain that can lead to increased fatigue. The dual high-fiber and high-protein contents found in beans will leave you feeling full. The energy provided will be sustained over a significant length of time because fiber and protein are digested slowly by your body.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Low-fat dairy products provide protein, glucose and vital nutrients, which include calcium and vitamin D. Low-fat milk and yogurt are low-glycemic, meaning they only have a mild impact on your blood sugar levels. Lowering your ‘glycemic load’ may help boost and sustain positive energy levels. Whole milk, cream and high-fat cheeses are high in saturated fat, energy-enhancing foods made with low-fat dairy products include skim milk-based smoothies, low-fat string cheese, low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt topped with fruit and whole grain crackers topped with fat-free cream cheese.