Foods That Drain Your Energy

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ask your friends to name a food that makes them tired, and there's a good chance they'll say turkey—citing the lethargic feeling associated with a Thanksgiving meal. But is there any truth to the allegations? While certain foods do make us tired, the ones you suspect may not be the most common culprits.

Red wine
. If you're a red wine drinker you are probably familiar with the euphoric sleepiness that accompanies it after a few glasses. But why? As we know, alcohol is a depressant, meaning it can have a sedative effect. What's more, scientists in Italy say they have discovered that the grapes used to make red wine have high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin which can explain its sluggish effect. So next time you reach for your favorite merlot, you may want to grab your pillow, too.

Fatty foods
. It looks as though a fatty diet can weigh you down in more ways than one. Fat is notorious for taking a long time to digest-somewhere in the realm of six to eight hours. Blood from your arms and legs is used to aid in the digestion process. This lessening in blood volume in your extremities can make you feel slow and lethargic. Contrarily, whole carbohydrates and proteins digest relatively fast-one to four hours-resulting in higher energy and a faster metabolism.

. This fatigue-causing fowl is a famed for making the hours post-Thanksgiving dinner dreary. But is turkey really the culprit? Though turkey contains L-tryptophan-an amino acid that is metabolized into serotonin and melatonin causing sleepiness-it does not contain enough to produce truly tiring effects. The combination of simple carbs, fats, alcohol, and overeating that are often a part of Thanksgiving dinner is what ultimately makes you curl up couch-side.

Energy drinks
. Sure, they're great for that initial burst you need to get you over the three o'clock hump, but energy drinks offer counterproductive results in the long run. British scientists at Loughborough University found that those who drank the high-caffeine, high-sugar beverages had slower reactions and more lapses in concentration after an hour. The best way to combat sleepiness is a drink with useful amounts of caffeine--approximately 85mg--and a short nap.

Low-iron foods
.Iron deficiency, or anemia, is a large contributor to daytime fatigue. Chicken, broccoli, pork, and peanut butter are excessively low in iron. In order to combat anemia, make sure your diet is well balanced. This means eating your allotted daily values in iron, carbohydrates, and protein to optimize your energy for the day.

Skipping meals
. Skipping meals can have a negative effect on your energy. Not eating results in low blood-sugar, contributing to fatigue. The tiredness, in turn, results in less energy for exercise and your daily routine. What's more, when your body is craving food and doesn't get it, your metabolism slows, consequently producing smaller amounts of energy. The best diet for energy and healthy weight loss is eating six small, well-balanced meals.


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