Consumer Reports

Feeling Exhausted? Here Are Foods That Fight Fatigue

Eating the right foods can boost your energy level

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Right now, many of us are feeling worn out from the time change, the election, working from home and managing children during the pandemic. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for taking care of ourselves. But we should. Consumer Reports health experts reveal some easy, healthy fixes that just might be in your fridge.

Extra stress, unhealthy habits such as overeating and drinking too much, a lack of exercise, and even boredom can take a toll. But the good news is that nutrition can help us feel better. Here are some foods that will boost your energy.

Carbohydrates have a place in your diet, but do yourself a favor by picking the ones that help fight fatigue. Choose “slow carbs,” such as whole grains, legumes, and fruits and vegetables, which are packed with nutrients and fiber.

Carbs supply glucose. Slow carbs release glucose steadily, whereas the refined carbs in white flour and sugar can cause glucose spikes and crashes, and that can make you feel tired.

Protein is another energy booster. It helps you build muscles, stay physically active and feel more energetic. High-quality sources of protein include lean meats and poultry, fish, dairy, nuts, beans and soy.

You might not be getting enough good sleep because you're dehydrated. A general guideline for men is about 15.5 cups of fluid per day, and for women, 11.5 cups. Foods with a high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables, count. And caffeine can really sap your sleep, so lay off the coffee six hours before your bedtime.

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Older adults are at risk for some common nutrient deficiencies that lead to poor energy, but you shouldn’t self-diagnose. Check with your doctor, who will run tests to find out whether you need supplements or vitamins.

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