Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boosting Your Energy Against Unexplained Fatigue

When you experience fatigue, that all-out energy-drain feeling that no matter how enticing the new blockbuster movie or how fabulous the on-going shoe sale is, nothing succeeds in psyching yourself up to go.

In some cases, there are no classic signs of exhaustion, say aching muscles or getting tired due to overwork, and yet, there is a lack of enthusiasm to get into the activities you used to love doing. There is lack of concentration, a growing impatience, and an increasing level of frustration when confronted with even the simplest of challenges that come your way.

When fatigue interferes with your desire to workout, something is definitely wrong. Check your eating habits. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day is much better than skipping a meal, say lunch, and then eat a big dinner. Starving yourself affects your brain and leads to fatigue. However, eating too much at once slows your metabolism and makes you feel sloppy. On the other hand, eating frequently keeps your blood sugar level constant and maintains your energy level up. High-protein and high-fiber foods such as nuts and fruit are a good snack to give yourself a boost.

When you still find yourself too sluggard to move, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency. According to New York University nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, this mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy. “So when levels are even a little low, energy can drop,” said Heller.

The Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. conducted a study on women with magnesium deficiencies and found that the participants had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to do physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored. Heller said that in essence, when the body is working harder, over time, it can leave you feeling depleted.

To make sure that you're getting the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men, Heller gave the following suggestions:

Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews to your daily diet. Increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal. Eat more fish, especially halibut.

Resource Box: Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

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