If you’re finding yourself more tired than usual, make sure you’re eating enough quality protein.
Aim for three servings a day. Good sources include fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, soy, or combinations of beans, lentils, and grains.
Focus on incorporating whole foods into your diet rather than processed or manmade foods. Seeds, nuts, and whole grains are energizing choices. Additionally, strive to eat at least five servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables daily. Top dark-green leafy vegetables such as kale, baby greens, and spinach with seeds for a dish that’s rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and fiber.
“A diet that is based in complex carbohydrates seems to have less of that ‘peak and valley’ of blood sugar effect,” Dave Grotto, RD, told WebMD.
Remember to drink plenty of water, too. According to Grotto, dehydration is a leading contributor to an energy deficit. When you’re dehydrated, your body will use its resources to maintain its water balance, rather than to provide energy. If you crave caffeine in the afternoon, consider drinking green tea instead of coffee. Green tea contains polyphenols, potent antioxidants that protect against aging and enhance immune function.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an important antioxidant and natural energizer, helps convert nutrients from food into energy for cells. Look for it in a good multivitamin/mineral formula. Since cholesterol-lowering drugs deplete CoQ10, be sure to supplement if you’re taking statins.
Essential Fatty Acid
Fatigue can also be a symptom of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficit. If you’re not eating fish regularly, consider taking fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements. You may find that these supplements also help improve your mood.
Carnitine, an amino acid found only in animal protein, is vital to energy production. Vegetarians often benefit from supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine.
Low energy can also be brought on by a magnesium deficit. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 important biochemical reactions in the body, including the conversion of glucose into energy. Green vegetables such as spinach and peas are useful sources of this mineral. Beans, soybeans, almonds, cashews, peanut butter, yogurt, and whole, unrefined grains also provide significant amounts.
B-complex vitamins—thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cyanocobalamin (B12), folic acid, and biotin—assist in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy. These nutrients are called a “complex” because naturally occurring B vitamins are always found together in foods (like yeast, red meat, vegetables, and seeds). That’s why some experts suggest choosing supplements that include the all the energizing Bs.