Many people struggle with their energy and find it hard to maintain energy throughout the day. This post will focus on the nutritional strategies for managing energy; we will look at other causes in a separate post.
Some of the more common causes of energy drops and fatigue are:
- Dehydration: if you’re tired, begin by drinking some water, general fatigue and brain fatigue can simply be a sign of dehydration.
- Not enough food: are you eating enough food to sustain your body, for example, people constantly on diets are often not adequately fuelling their body.
- Not eating the right balance of macronutrients: it is important to have the right balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat at each meal. This looks different for different bodies and differing levels of activity.
If protein and healthy fats and oils plus fibre from vegies are present in each meal; it will really help you to balance your blood sugar levels, preventing those big blood sugar drops that cause fatigue and drive sugar/carbohydrate cravings between meals.
- Eating too much sugar: if you eat too many ultra-processed foods and sugary foods, they put your body onto a blood sugar roller coaster, creating big highs and lows, leading to energy drops throughout the day and constantly craving carbohydrates and sugar. You may often feel wired and tired.
- Overdoing caffeine: yes it may give you energy short term but long term, too much caffeine drives fatigue. It keeps your body in stress response “fight/flight mode” and prevents you from being able to shift back to the important relaxation response “rest/digest mode”. This prevents your body and mind from being able to relax and regenerate.
- Eating foods that contain vegetable oils/seed oils: these kinds of fats and oils (canola, cottonseed, margarine and most softened butters) reduce the function of cells in our body and will drive fatigue and insulin resistance.
- In general things like junk foods and caffeinated products are anti-nutrients, they don’t add any nutrition and they often pull nutrients from the body!
- Too much alcohol: again can be an anti-nutrient and put pressure on the liver, causing fatigue. When we drink too much we often don’t make good choices for our body, if you are doing this often it will have a big impact on your energy and health.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies: investigate vitamin and mineral deficiencies with your GP and a nutritionist (we can help you at Informed Health), sometimes we need to replenish these nutrients before we can feel energised. There are many undernourished people in the western world regardless of their weight (you can eat lots of junk that provides very limited nutrition).
It can be because you are not eating enough nutrients or because you are not absorbing your nutrients well, common in people with digestive issues and with gastric sleeve. There are also some medications that effect nutrient absorption.
There can be many causes of fatigue, it is always recommended that if this is a problem for you; see your GP and ensure that you are not low in nutrients for example iron, vitamin d or iodine; and that there is not another cause like thyroid disease or insulin resistance.
It is important to create habits that nurture and nourish your body, if you are feeling fatigued begin by looking at what you are eating or drinking and addressing any digestive issues that may be reducing absorption of nutrients. Refer to our next post on energy for other common causes of fatigue.
If you need help with your energy, book a consultation with one of our experienced nutritionists at https://informedhealth.com.au/book-online