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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Feeling Tired? It's Probably What You Ate

Jun 15, 2012
"Fatigue." Ugh, it's a word I get tired of hearing from my clients in my private practice. (Actually, not really, I love helping my clients!) But if food is our energy source--and we eat so much of it--why are so many Americans facing fatigue and tiredness?

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Well, what makes up the typical American diet? Processed foods! Foods that come in boxes and bags with fancy marketing labels are not foods that were just plucked from a field. Nature knows best! Raw fruits and vegetables have lots of important energy vitamins like the B vitamins, Vitamin C and folic acid. Unfortunately, any kind of cooking destroys a good percentage of these vitamins. It's important to make at least some of your fruit and veggie intake raw.

Food sensitivities are another area that can make a person tired and fatigued. When your body is sick of being exposed to certain foods or chemicals, it can create inflammation in the form of irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, or fibromyalgia that make you feel run down. Many of my clients report having "lots more energy" after they've gone through the first several days of a food elimination diet. Your liver and kidneys have to do a lot of filtering all day, so it's best to keep chemicals and additives out of your diet to be able to keep energy levels up.

Eating a load of refined carbohydrates in one sitting--such as a plate of spaghetti and two slices of garlic bread--will cause a lot of glucose to be dumped into your system rather quickly. Compare that to eating a small handful of unsalted nuts, a handful of baby carrots and three strawberries. The latter food choice is what's called complex carbohydrates (as opposed to the pasta's "refined" carbohydrate). Due to its high fiber and protein content, it causes a much slower release of glucose into the body's system. This causes a time release of energy, instead of a high followed by a crash and burn.

Besides being tired all day, lack of good quality sleep can cause weight gain. And weight gain will make you feel even more tired and hungry. This in turn leads to more weight gain and an even worse quality of sleep. It's a vicious cycle. But you can break it. Just remember the next time you're yawning: don't reach for that caffeinated sugar drink, have a vegetable instead.

Catherine S. Hains, MS RD has been interested in health and nutrition since she was a young child. Growing up in Fort Worth, TX, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Christian University and wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 12 years. Her life-long interest in nutrition and disease prevention never waned, and she went on to earn her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University. Cathy, now a Registered Dietitian, owns Lighthouse Nutrition and Wellness in Gig Harbor, WA where she enjoys inspiring people of all ages to make losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle easy, fun and permanent. She enjoys good food, cooking and food preparation, and showing others how healthy this can be. Her other pastimes include traveling, art, music and family life. She also likes staying fit with tennis, bicycling walking and jogging, researching nutrition and helping clients be at their best. For more information on Cathy, visit www.lighthouse-nutrition.com or write to Catherine at info@lighthouse-nutrition.com.



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