What to eat if tired all the time

If you find yourself reaching for a super-strength coffee to get you through the afternoon slump, you’re not alone. Low-level fatigue that lasts all day is so common in our society that many doctors use an acronym to describe the symptom – TATT (Tired All The Time). While it’s always worth visiting your GP to rule out any medical conditions, paying close attention to your diet and lifestyle can really help you feel more alert and energetic throughout the day.

Nutritionist Kerry Torrens has three top tips to boost your energy throughout the day, if you are keen to beat tiredness and feel more energised throughout the day.

1. Eat slow-release carbs

Choose slow-release carbs such as oats, as well as wholegrain versions of bread, rice and pasta – these supply a steady supply of fuel for the body so you don’t end up running on empty. Slow-release carbs are in wholegrain pasta dishes and some of the breakfasts, which include crunchy oat clusters and creamy chia seed overnight oats. 

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2. Balance your macros

‘Macros’ or ‘macronutrients’ refers to carbs, protein and fat. Even if you choose slow-release carbs, such as wholegrain varieties, eating too much of them can make you feel lethargic. Therefore opt for a good balance between complex carbs and healthy fats – such as those in nuts, seeds and avocado – and lean protein, such as beans, fish and leaner cuts of red meat like pork.

3. Get enough quality sleep

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This one may be obvious, but it’s easy to forget about! Don’t attempt to burn the candle at both ends – adequate rest is crucial for supporting energy levels.

To get a good night sleep, swap sugary cereal for a wholegrain alternative topped with milk and a sliced banana. Choose protein foods that are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. This helps boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Chicken and turkey, milk and dairy, nuts and seeds are all good choices. Combine these with rice, pasta or potatoes to help the body get the most benefits from tryptophan. Try a chicken and noodle stir-fry.

Aim to eat your main meal earlier in the evening - the act of eating pushes up the body’s core temperature and this can disrupt sleep so eat your evening meal at least 4 hours before retiring for the day. Last thing, a glass of warm milk with a cracker or oatcake can be useful.

Reduce your caffeine intake gradually. Try decaffeinated coffee or caffeine-free drinks. Have your last caffeine-containing drink no later than lunchtime. Build relaxation and exercise into the day to help manage stress. Avoid using a computer late in the evening as the light from the screen can have a stimulatory effect.

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