Energy-Boosting Diet Makeover

Fatigued? Your diet could be keeping you down. Here's how to get back your energy.
Could your eating habits be blamed for your lagging energy level? The good news: Diet-related fatigue is one of the most easily corrected health problems. Check out these diet offenders and learn how you can put the vitality back in your life.

Energy zapper #1:

You're dehydrated

Dehydration reduces blood flow to your organs, leaving you sluggish. But it's not always easy to tell when you're not drinking enough: "Our thirst mechanisms aren't usually a good indicator of when we need water. When you become thirsty, chances are you are already mildly dehydrated," explains Dr. Susan Kleiner, an affiliate professor of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of Power Eating.

Diet Rx: If you only drink water when you are thirsty, you probably aren't drinking enough. As a general rule, aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids such as water every day. A good way to check if you're getting enough fluids: If your pee is clear or pale yellow, your body is sufficiently hydrated.

Energy zapper #2:

You're eating too little carbs

It's OK to crave carbs! The right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat eaten at regular intervals will help keep energy levels high. But the trick is to limit sugars and refined carbs like white bread, cookies and pasta, which can cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash, leaving you exhausted.

Diet Rx: At least 50 percent of your diet should come from carbohydrates, but opt for complex, slow-burning carbs like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, beans, lentils, fruits and veggies over the processed ones to control your blood sugar and keep a steady flow of energy.

Energy zapper #3:

You're skipping meals

"Skipping meals, or even just not eating for a few hours, can cause blood sugar dips that leave you feeling weak," explains Dave Grotto, R.D., spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in Chicago. So if you kickstart your workday with nothing but a cup of coffee, no wonder you're feeling fatigued before noon.

Diet Rx: Don't skip meals! Start your day with a low-fat, high-fiber breakfase that includes plenty of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruits. To build all-day energy, it's important to refuel every three to four hours so make it a habit to eat at regular times.

Energy zapper #4:

You're not getting the nutrients you need

Many women, epsecially those who are on a restrictive diet, are short on certain vitamins and nutrients, which can lead to fatigue. One nutrient we often fall short on is magnesium, which is involved in energy metabolism, says Dr. Ray Wunderlich of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Another common deficiency: Iron. "Women often feel tired because they are anemic, or lack the iron needed to maintain the proper function of their blood cells," explains ob/gyn Judith Reichman M.D., author of Slow Your Clock Down. Iron-deficiency anemia afflicts about one in five women of reproductive age, particularly vegetarians and vegans who fail to eat enough iron-rich foods and have heavy menstrual periods or are pregnant.

Diet Rx: You need about 400mg of magnesium a day. To make sure you get enough, eat foods rich in magnesium such as peanut butter, almonds, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Premenopausal women are recommended to take at least 18 milligrams of iron daily. Iron-rich foods include liver, clams, oysters, beef, enriched breakfast cereals and pasta, cooked beans and lentils. Taking a daily multi-vitamin supplement can help ensure that you are getting the needed nutrients for your body to function properly.

Home Contact Us Terms of Use

© 2024