Do you feel tired all the time, even after a full night’s sleep? If so, you may want to take a closer look at your eating habits. What and how you eat can affect your energy level throughout the day. Here are six eating habits that could be making you tired:
- Skipping meals, especially breakfast: Going for long periods of time without eating causes your blood sugar level to drop, your metabolism to slow, and your muscles and brain to go into a tired and “hangry” mode. To combat this, try eating something every three to five hours to give your body a steady supply of fuel.
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables: Fatigue may be an early sign of vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, salad greens, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and watermelon. People who have a fever, inflammation, diarrhea, or hyperthyroidism may need more vitamin C. Smokers and women on birth control may also need extra vitamin C.
- Not getting enough iron: About 9% of all females between the ages of 12 and 49 have iron deficiency anemia. If you are a vegetarian, experience heavy monthly bleeding, or are an intense exerciser, you may be deficient in iron. Since iron’s main role is to transport oxygen, not having enough may make you feel exhausted and out of breath, even with minor exertion. Iron is found in meat, but also found in some vegetables including broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and peas. Dried fruits and iron-fortified whole grains such as cereals and breads also contain some iron.
- Skimping on whole foods: Magnesium deficiency can cause fatigue and weakness, among other symptoms. Processed foods often have much of the magnesium removed, so choose healthy, whole foods to boost your magnesium intake. The best sources of magnesium are almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, soy-milk, black beans, edamame (soy beans), peanut butter, whole-wheat bread, avocado, potatoes (skin-on), brown rice, and yogurt. People with gastrointestinal disease, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependency, and older adults are at a higher risk for magnesium deficiency.
- Not drinking enough water: Dehydration can definitely make you feel sluggish; it can also cause headaches, muscle cramps, irritability, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing. Most people need between 6 and 12 cups of water daily.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency: If you are an older adult, take birth control pills or metformin, or eat a vegan diet, you may be deficient in Vitamin B12. A deficiency in B12 may not only cause chronic fatigue, but can result in permanent nerve damage. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products, as well as fortified breakfast cereals.
(1) Dehydration: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2017, from https://medlineplus.gov/dehydration.html
(2) Iron Deficiency Anemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2017, from http://www.healthline.com/health/iron-deficiency-anemia#Overview1.
(3) Magnesium — Health Professional Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
(4) Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/
(5) Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/