4 Reasons Why You Are Tired All The Time
By: Brandi Black, RHN
When was the last time you had energy all day without the help of an energy drink or shot of espresso?
If you're tired all the time and feel like you're sleepwalking through life, you're not alone. In fact, statistics show we're all exhausted.
According to a recent poll, only 1 in 7 Americans wake up feeling rested. And close to 50% of those surveyed still feel tired after getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. While these findings about our health and wellness show that having low energy is common, it certainly isn't normal.
You see, feeling energetic is our natural state. When we're energized, we feel creative, inspired, motivated and unstoppable. We do our best work, come up with new ideas, take part in the activities that light us up, and spend more time with people we love. Needless to say, having energy allows us to get the most enjoyment out of life.
Unfortunately, many of us are so depleted that having energy past noon seems like a luxury. And while the demands of a chaotic schedule can pave the path to burnout, keeping up with the modern day hustle isn't the only cause of fatigue. Unsuspecting diet and lifestyle factors could be sabotaging your energy levels, too.
Let's take a look at 4 reasons why you could be tired all the time and how to boost your energy levels to meet life with zest and vigor again.
4 Reasons Why You’re Tired All the Time (and How to Get Your Energy Back)
Reason No. 1: Refined Carbohydrates
When you’re about to fall asleep at your desk, who could blame you for craving a sugar fix to stay awake? But having refined carbohydrates in your diet could be the exact reason you’re tired all the time.
You see, in order to have steady, long lasting energy, we must have balanced blood sugar levels. Nutrients such as protein, fiber and healthy fats keep our blood sugar levels stabilized, which results in slow-releasing, long-lasting energy throughout the day.
Since refined carbohydrates (white sugar and white flour) are void of fiber, the sugar they contain is highly concentrated, which enters the bloodstream and digests very quickly. This unnatural, rapid influx of sugar creates a blood sugar “spike,” which is when you'll feel a quick boost of energy, or a sugar high.
This quick flood of sugar forces your body to work overtime by releasing extra insulin, which is the hormone that brings sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells. As insulin hurries to remove the sugar from your bloodstream, your blood sugar levels plummet, which causes the infamous energy crash (and results in another craving for sugar to get your energy levels back up again).
As you can see, refined carbohydrates prevent your body from maintaining steady energy levels throughout the day. The best way to naturally balance your blood sugar levels is by eating low glycemic foods that are high in fiber and release sugar slowly into your bloodstream.
Unprocessed carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables are acceptable to eat for energy because they contain fiber, which as you now know, prevents sugar from being rapidly absorbed. For optimal blood sugar balance, it’s best to include a good source of protein and healthy fat with every meal, which further slows the digestion of sugar to promote slow releasing energy.
A few blood sugar balancing meal examples include:
To promote blood sugar balance, it's also crucial to replace the white sugar in your diet with natural sweeteners. Natural sweeteners such as green leaf stevia, pure maple syrup, raw honey and coconut nectar can be used in moderation because they're less processed, and slower to digest than white sugar, which has less of an impact on your blood sugar levels.
And whether or not you’re a breakfast person, eating breakfast with a good source of protein within an hour of waking up— even if it’s just a smoothie— will also boost your energy levels by promoting blood sugar balance early in the day.
Reason No. 2: You Have a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
Vitamins and minerals, such as iron and the B vitamins, help our body convert food to energy and transport oxygen between our cells. Without a sufficient supply of oxygen, our cells aren't able to produce energy as efficiently. Therefore, having low levels of either of these nutrients could be the reason you're tired all the time.
B Vitamin Deficiency
All of the B vitamins work together to convert food into energy. In particular, B12 helps produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen to our cells. And as mentioned above, the more oxygen our cells receive, the more energy they can produce.
Since all of the B vitamins work together, being deficient in just one of the B vitamins could contribute to low energy. And while it's possible to lack any of the B vitamins, B12 deficiency is most common, especially amongst vegans and vegetarians. This is because the richest sources of B12 are found in animal products such as fish, meat and poultry.
If you're a meat eater, you can increase the B12 in your diet by eating organic, grass-fed meat a few times each week.
However, recent studies have shown that chlorella pyrenoidosa is one of the rare plant foods that can provide the body with an adequate source of bioavailable B12. Therefore, regularly taking Sun Chlorella® tablets can help increase your B12 levels. You can also add chlorella to your smoothies and raw food recipes with Sun Chlorella Absolute™ pure chlorella powder, or Sun Chlorella® granules.
(If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, we recommend trying the Rad Thai and Chlorella Lime Pie recipes from our Chlorella in the Kitchen raw food recipe book.)
Chlorella also acts as a natural energy supplement because it contains the unique nutrient,
Chlorella Growth Factor, or CGF
Since the rest of the B vitamins are found in many different plant foods, such as brown rice, quinoa, beans, legumes, mushrooms, leafy greens, asparagus and avocado, it’s easy to increase all of your B vitamins by eating a wide variety of whole foods. Veggie stir fries and rice bowls, anyone?
Iron is a mineral your body depends on to produce hemoglobin, which is a protein that helps red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body. Without a sufficient amount of iron, your body can't produce red blood cells. And without red blood cells, your body doesn't receive enough oxygen to produce energy.
Iron deficiency is said to be the most common nutrient deficiency in the US, especially amongst women. So, it's no wonder most Americans hardly report feeling rested. While iron deficiency anemia is a serious condition that results from iron deficiency, you can still be low in iron without being diagnosed with anemia.
The best way to increase your iron is through food sources. It's always recommended to get your iron levels checked before taking an iron nutritional supplement, as high levels of iron are toxic to the body.
Both plant foods and meat contain iron. Meat contains heme iron, while plants contain non-heme iron.
It’s suggested that heme iron is better absorbed by the body, but the antioxidant vitamin, vitamin C is shown to improve the absorption of non-heme iron in plant sources. Therefore, adding a squeeze of lemon to spinach (which contains non-heme iron) may help increase your iron absorption.
The richest plant sources of non-heme iron include beans, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds. This energizing smoothie recipe is a great way to add iron to your diet as it contains leafy greens and vitamin C from pineapple to help improve absorption. This recipe also includes Sun Chlorella® granules for extra energizing nutrients, such as B12.
While B12 and iron are the most critical micronutrients for energy production, all vitamins and minerals work closely together. Therefore, a deficiency in another vitamin or mineral could also promote low energy levels.
For this reason, you may find it helpful to take a whole food supplement such as a multivitamin, which can act as an energy boosting supplement by providing your body with several essential nutrients at once.
Reason No. 3: You’re Dehydrated
Studies show that even mild dehydration causes fatigue and reduce brain function. Since water makes up most of our body, it's essential that we're drinking enough water to keep our cells hydrated to promote energy production.
Although water is critical to our health, it's estimated that 75% of Americans are dehydrated. While busy schedules can make it difficult to drink enough water throughout the day, making hydration a top priority could transform your energy levels.
Adding flavor from citrus, herbs and seasonal fruit to your water can help make staying hydrated easier. You can also increase your daily water intake by eating more fruits and vegetables, such as zucchini, celery, leafy greens, apples, pears and berries.
Here are our best tips on how to stay hydrated , plus 9 mouth-watering natural vitamin water combinations you can make at home to increase both your water and vitamin and mineral intake.
Reason No. 4: Your Body is Asking For More Exercise
When you're tired all the time, the last thing you feel like doing is working up a sweat at the gym.
But exercise has been proven to naturally increase energy levels by improving circulation, which allows more oxygen to flow through your body. It's also been said that regular exercise can help increase ATP production in your cells, which is an enzyme your body uses to produce energy. For this reason, exercise is often used successfully in chronic fatigue treatment.
Exercising regularly (at least 3-4 times per week) could be the solution for boosting your energy levels. Even gentle exercise such as yoga or going for a walk can make a difference in how much energy you have during the day.
As you can see, the most effective ways to increase your energy are the main components of a lifestyle that support your overall health and wellness. By increasing the nutrients in your diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly and avoiding processed foods, you'll skyrocket your energy levels naturally while also reaching a new level of health.
Brandi Black, RHN
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