Nothing is worse than getting enough sleep and still feeling low on energy. Despite sleeping seven to eight hours a night, 45 percent of Americans experience tiredness or fatigue multiple times per week, according to a poll conducted by YouGov.com. Although not everyone feels exhausted for the same reason, your diet could easily be to blame.
What we eat plays a role in our energy levels, as food contains different vitamins and nutrients that can help keep us awake, motivated, and focused. On the flip side, the wrong type of foods can bring our energy levels down, leaving us lazy and fatigued.
If you feel your energy levels have been low, and you suspect your diet might be at play, try cutting out these seven foods that deplete your energy.
1. Refined Flour
Like sugar, foods such as white bread, pastries, and other refined carbohydrates cause a drastic rise and drop in blood sugar levels. Opt for whole grain options, as the fiber content helps slow down digestion, allowing your blood sugar levels to stay balanced.
2. Salty Foods
Eating too much sodium can cause you to become dehydrated, and even mild dehydration can cause you to become fatigued. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found that children who ate a diet in high in salty foods were most likely to feel drowsy and have problems concentrating throughout the day.
3. Red Meat
Because red meat is so high in fat, it is difficult for your body to digest. It takes your body a lot of energy to break down foods like steak and burgers, so opt for lower-fat meats if you’re looking to improve your overall energy levels.
It might give you a temporary boost, but eating too much sugar causes a drastic rise and fall in your blood sugar, leaving you with a crash that will have you feeling depleted. When your body’s glucose level drops, you can experience fatigue, irritability, and poor concentration.
5. Fried Foods
Fried foods such as doughnuts and french fries are difficult for your body to digest, and they require more blood flow to the stomach to digest properly. This can leave you fatigued because your body has to put in extra work after you eat them.
6. Red Wine
Most of us have had a glass of wine before bed to help us relax, but the effects of red wine can extend just beyond bed time. Wine before bed can mess with your sleep habits, affect your blood sugar, and dampen your immune system, all things that can affect your everyday energy levels.
Although a cup of coffee might give you a temporary morning boost, relying on caffeine can cause long-term drop in energy levels. Not only is it common to experience an energy crash after the caffeine wears off, but relying on caffeine daily can cause you to withdraw, leaving you fatigued and irritable.