Feeling Good Full of Energy Think Better.

How often do you, and your friends and colleagues, say you feel full of life? It is more often the case that people feel they are pushing their body to the end of the day, then to the end of the week, only to collapse at

the weekend or during their holiday. Much of this is down to what many health experts call the disease of modern living’ Environmental pollution affects our body’s ability to breathe oxygen and assimilate the nutrients it needs from food; it has to battle with car fumes, cigarette smoke and industrial pollutants in the air, water and soil. The food industry fills our foods with preservatives, additives, fats and sugars which hinder the body’s ability to glean the nutrients it needs, and it spends more energy getting rid of the substances it doesn’t want. Farming and food purchasing habits have changed so that while we may have perfect-looking foods, nearly all the year round, the nutrient content is not as high as it was in the past.

In addition, we don’t take enough time off to recuperate from illnesses – how many people stay at home in bed when they have a cold? The trend is to struggle on. Finally, fewer and fewer people, including children, are actively exercising, which helps to keep the heart pumping blood and oxygen around the body, as well as being a good stress reliever and energy booster.

All in all, it is no wonder that the majority of people feel tired the majority of the time The good news is that there is a lot we can do nutritionally to help our bodies deal with the demands of daily life, to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and happy to meet the day.

Understanding tiredness

There are varying degrees of fatigue, from normal weariness to debilitating chronic fatigue, which may be caused by post-viral fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgia encephalomyelitis (ME), and glandular fever. If you’ve been feeling very tired for quite a while and cannot seem to pick yourself up even when you’re eating well, you should ask your doctor to investigate. It may be that you are suffering from a virus such as Epstein Barr virus (which causes glandular fever, with episodes of severe fatigue, as well as depression and swollen glands).

A blood test can confirm the diagnosis. Children, especially those brought up in particularly health-conscious households, mean suffer from a lack of energy simply because their body isn’t receiving enough calories from foods they eat. Parents who believe that the earlier you start eating healthy food, the better, can be over-zealous about not giving their child too much for and sugar.

While it is good to keep an eye on the amount of these concentrated sources of energy in the diet, the watchword is balance; children need plenty of energy-giving foods as well as cereals, fruits and vegetables. More and more of my adult patients are complaining of chronic fatigue, with the odd bout of acute tiredness, I have to remind them that the body is not a robot, which can keep on going and going. Despite the tremendous pressures of today’s society, we all need to take regular replenishing breaks and find store- relieving activities.

We also need to make sure our body receives the nutrients it needs. If we try to cheat our body by cutting corners, it will eventually falter. As tempting as it is to miss breakfast or keep going until late in the office without citing anything, or expect the body to respond favorably to chocolate bars and endless cup of coffee, these will not bring your health and happiness. Instead, take a little time to organize your life, think about the foods you are eating and how your body reacts and you will reap the benefits.

To help you understand why you are so tired and how you can correct this, suggest you keep a food, drink and symptom diary After a week or two you will be able to see whether there are any patterns to your tiredness, Is it first thing in the morning – that, ‘Oh, I can’t get up feeling – does it appear at four o’clock in the afternoon, or is it sheer exhaustion at the end of the day? Some patients feel as if the plug has been pulled from their body, The main nutritional causes of fatigue are: lack of the correct nutrients. anemia, food intolerances, too much caffeine or alcohol, and lack of oxygen in the blood.

In addition to these also see people who are simply not matching their food intake to their natural biorhythm and lifestyle demands, For instance people who exercise early in the morning without having something to eat first can feel immensely tired late morning. Sports player who expect their body to perform well in a match after work, when they haven’t eaten anything for six hours, often run into problems. Women who pick their children up from school often feel exhausted because they haven’t realized that their boil needs nourishing aback at three or four o’clock. Simply changing the timing o meals can help your body respond to your lifestyle.

Your total daily intake won’t change, but you may need to adjust the structure of you eat Before locking at ways to boost your energy levels and tight fangle, I would like to draw your attention to the effect that certain group of foods can have the tardy. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes make A body produce sleep inducing hormones. This affects we people more Shan hers, and of course can be used to your advantage at night. but we of my patients feel sleepy her they have canteen these food at lunchtime, whine they really want to feel energetic in the afternoon. Things nipped when they chug sating med hazel not protein, fruits and vegetables. Parents should keep this in mind when they are trying to help their child feel active throughout the day.

Boosting your energy

If you frequently suffer from tiredness or want to maximize your energy levels, I recommend that you read through the section on Understanding your nutritional needs. Eating well is a fundamental part of equipping your body to feel good and stay well. Include fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, wholegrain foods, dairy products and plenty of water in your daily eating plan. Try to cut out processed, ready-made and high-fat fast foods and cut right down on caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.


A lot of people don’t breathe efficiently. Learning to breathe using the whole of your lungs diaphragmatic breathing- can really help you to feel more energized, as you push more oxygen around your body. Proper breathing techniques can also help you to become more efficient at getting rid of carbon dioxide, the waste product of breathing. Many books on yoga explain this in more detail – or better still take yoga classes which are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.


If you feel that your diet is already well balanced, but your energy levels are not as they should be, I suggest you ask your doctor to arrange a series of blood tests to find out whether you have any nutrient deficiencies. In the case of a mild deficiency, you can increase your intake of the food sources of the relevant nutrients If you have a serious deficiency you should consult a dietitian for advice regarding supplements.


Many multivitamins and other supplements seem to promise increased energy levels, but the true facts are that many of them contain abnormally high levels of certain nutrients, which can upset the natural balance of the body. It’s much better to try to get the nutrients you need from a well-balanced diet.


One of the commonest mistakes people make when low in energy is to eat something very sweet for a ‘boost’. Unfortunately, if you take in a snack that contain a lot of easily absorbed sugar (such as glucose or sucrose), the pancreas responds by producing too much insulin (a hormone that break down sugar). This leads to is rapid fall in the sugar level, which makes you feel even worse the best snacks are those that are rich in natural carbohydrates combined with fiber, such as fresh fruit, a wholewheat or oat biscuit or wholegrain bread with a pure fruit topping. These foods contain some sugar to give you energy, but the presence of fiber means that the rise in your blood sugar level is slow and controlled. Fighting fatigue Now let’s look at the main causes of tiredness and how to tackle them


It may sound obvious, but I’m amazed at the number of people who think they can burn the candle at both ends staying up late night after night and then dragging themselves out of bed early the next morning. If you are having trouble sleeping, refer to the chapter on How to sleep soundly,


Every vitamin and mineral play a vital part in either energy production or hormone metabolism. Therefore, virtually all vitamin and mineral deficiencies can manifest themselves as chronic or acute fatigue. If you eat a well-balanced diet and are otherwise healthy it is very unlikely that nutrient deficiency will be the cause of your tiredness. I really only see this in people who either have a disturbed relationship with food, with periods of anorexia or bulimia, or who are on extremely restricted diets because of food preferences, allergies or intolerances However, it is quite common to find nutrient-related fatigue in people who decide to become vegetarian or vegan, teenagers are particularly at risk. It is not just a question of living on vegetables and fruits; the body needs protein, carbo- hydrates and some fats, and you need to be careful about balancing the different food groups so that the body can metabolize the nutrients efficiently.


Time and time again I see people who have been told that their extreme fatigue is due to an allergy. They are sent away with a list of things to avoid, but without realistic alternatives to eat and drink. You cannot just remove something from the diet without acknowledging the body’ requirements. For example, if you cut out all sugar and yeast products, or all wheat and gluten, you need to find other foods which will give the equivalent amount of energy and nutrients, I really not surprising that people feel sapped of energy if they suddenly cut out man sources of carbohydrates such as wholewheat bread and pasta.

Look for alternative grains and carbohydrates, such as rice and potatoes Some people experience a lot of relief following various exclusion diets but there must be executed within a good, well-balanced eating plan. This is especially important in children. At first, it takes effort and careful organization to follow an exclusion diet, and this is difficult when you’re feeling chronically or acutely tired, I have often found that tiredness is simply due to insufficient energy in the diet rather than an intolerance, so you could try boosting your general nutritional and energy status.If you then feel you want to explore the food intolerance issue, see the chapter on Managing allergies for advice.


Anemia is one of the most common causes of extreme tiredness. There are various types of anemia, but among women and children the most common is iron-deficiency anemia. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron, but many parents today don’t want to give their children red meat and it is quite easy to cause a child to suffer from iron deficiency anemia. It is also common in the elderly people who suffer from digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease and duodenal ulcers.

People taking certain anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prone to iron-deficiency anemia. The chapter on Anemia has advice on this and other forms of anemia. In mild cases it can be easily corrected with rest and a diet rich in iron, vitamin C and other nutrients, but in more severe cases or in cases where you cannot eat enough of the appropriate foods, you may need to take an iron supplement, ask your doctor for advice. 


Caffeine overdose is one of the most common causes of chronic and acute fatigue. I can understand why people drink caffeine-containing coffee, tea and cola-based drinks, they can give a kick start in the morning or stimulate falling energy levels in the middle of the afternoon, but caffeine has several detrimental effects on energy levels.

After the initial stimulation, the energy boost is short lived. Caffeine upsets the hormone levels in your body, in particular insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood sugar; this causes your energy level to crash. When your energy crashes it is tempting to have another caffeine fix to pick you up again.

This starts a negative energy cycle: the more you have, the more you need to get the desired effect. Before you know it, you’re drinking three or four cups rather than one Your body doesn’t respond well to artificial stimulants, disturbing your natural energy systems means that your body is never able to find a healthy balance Secondly, caffeine inhibits the absorption of vitamins and mineral from the gut, which means that the body cannot use them efficiently Caffeine also makes your body excrete more of these nutrients, so you also lose out in that respect.

If often seems particularly difficult for patients who work in an office environment, when suggest they cut down their caffeine consumption. How- ever, many offices these days have chilled water available for meetings, and it’ easy to take herbal fruit or ginger the bags to work, or a little bottle of elder flower cordial to replace canned drinks. Some decaffeinated versions are worth trying as a breakfast energy booster, indulge yourself with a delicious homemade fruit shake: try orange, mango and banana.

Some people can enjoy small amount of caffeine their diet that you initially try go without caffeine for couple to help your body clear itself. Once you feeling stronger, reintroduce one or two cups of really good coffee or tea day, ideally with high-fiber biscuit or cake such slice fruity loaf help regulate blood sugar levels. Having said this, the majority people feel brilliant when their body is free of that they don’t want go back it.

Note: If you remove caffeine from your diet, you may find that suffer headaches and low energy levels for couple days. This happens because your body has become reliant on the caffeine and you need through ‘cold-turkey’ phase before you can start to feel truly healthy.


Alcohol was once thought as tonic, but now well known that, after the slight pepping up effect of the first glass, alcohol does nothing lift energy levels and at worst can grossly exaggerate tiredness. Alcohol suppresses your energy most you drink on empty stomach the aperitif or after-work drink can be particularly hazardous.

Most know how feels on Friday night when you are tired after long week you feel you need drink, after one glass you ready for bed. For many people, drinking alcohol lunchtime during the week destroys the whole afternoon. The reason for these scenarios that alcohol affects the ability liver to release energy Excess sugar is stored the liver glycogen. normal substances the liver breaks down glycogen produce glucose and ultimately energy, when it is needed. Alcohol blocks this response, causing your blood level to drop, which means you feel physically tired.

Having little something to such as fruit, sandwich or couple wholegrain biscuits, before you have can help reduce this effect by keeping the alcohol within stomach, where absorption slower. You might conclude that since alcohol can send you sleep good thing take if you feel desperately tired and need more sleep.

Unfortunately, this not the case because of effects in your body, alcohol interferes with your sleep patterns and reduces the amount beneficial sleep. You may sleep longer after few drinks, but you will still feel exhausted the following morning Herbal tea or warm milk would be much better drinks help you sleep Alcohol also diuretic, which causes the body to excrete more vitamins and minerals, especially water-soluble vitamins such vitamin alcohol also the liver’s ability metabolize fat-soluble vitamins all your vitamin and mineral levels can be compromised recommend that anyone suffering from chronic fatigue should from alcohol until they feel stronger. Instead, choose natural non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling mineral water elderflower cordial, ginger beer and lime Just remember how much fresher you’ll feel.


Crash dieting and starving yourself can cause you to feel very sleepy. Again, this is because you are interfering with your body ability to regulate its own energy levels Sensible, controlled weight loss keeps you in tune with your body


The most common cause of lack of oxygen in the muscles is smoking. When you fill your lungs with smoke, you diminish the volume of oxygen you can obtain from a single breath Smoking can therefore cause you to suffer from lack of energy simply because your muscles (including the heart and digestive organs) cannot function properly, Another problem with smoking is that the satisfaction that accompanies putting a cigarette in your mouth tends to suppress the appetite. So you tend to miss meals or grab an alcoholic drink or a cup of coffee instead; all of which exacerbate fatigue. Being a smoker minimizes the potential benefits of eating well, so do try to give it up, or at least cut down


A number of medications can make you feel very tired. These include antibiotics, antihypertensive drugs such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, anti-epileptic medication and the cytotoxic drugs used in the treatment of cancer, In addition, many of these don’t mix well with alcohol your doctor will advise you. Other drugs can keep you awake, depriving you of your required amount of sleep and leaving you chronically fatigued. For one young patient taking Azathioprine to help combat Crohn’s disease, taking the drug a couple of hours earlier in the day meant he could get to sleep more easily. If you suspect it may be your medication making you feel fatigued, do discuss this with who may be able to advise you or prescribe an alternative. your doctor,


Some women find that they feel sleepy just before they get their period. This is a natural response set up by our reproductive hormones,