Tired all the time? Don't worry, you're not alone. 5-7% of patients visiting their GP complain of tiredness or fatigue and all too often we don't get to the bottom of this common health problem. So what is causing your tiredness and how can you boost your natural energy levels?

Fight fatigue today and give yourself a boost

Fight fatigue today and give yourself a boost

Get checked

It's important to rule out serious health problems, so a visit to your GP is always recommended. As Martin Budd, a naturopath and author of 'Why Am I So Exhausted' explains: 'Iron-deficient anaemia, adrenal fatigue or an underactive thyroid should be easy to diagnose and treat but can sometimes get missed. Don't be afraid to request tests for these things, even if you have been tested before.'

For most people, generalised fatigue is rarely due to a single problem but rather a combination of factors such as poor diet, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, stress and the fall-out from the busy lifestyles we lead.

Eat for energy

Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist, explains how important diet is to our daily energy levels: 'We all have busy lives and it's essential to provide the body with enough calories to get you through the day. Avoid skipping meals and choose complex carbohydrates to avoid blood sugar slumps that can leave you fatigued and unbalanced.'

Make sure you're getting plenty of B vitamins as these are required by the body to convert the food you eat into energy. Rob suggests a vitamin B complex or you can find this group of vitamins in grains such as brown rice, barley and quinoa as well as lean proteins such as oily fish and turkey.

Minerals too are important for energy. 'Low iron levels can lead to fatigue so it's important to include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet such as lean meats, dark green vegetables, pulses and dried fruits,' explains Rob.

Stress less

Feeling exhausted isn't just about nutrition, every day stress will also take its toll. 'While a little stress helps to keep us on our toes, long-term stress can leave us feeling fatigued,' says Martin. 'Stress is emotionally draining but it exhausts the body too.'

All too often we turn to caffeine or sugary foods to give us an energy boost, which sets up a cycle of energy highs and lows that just make the problem worse.

Get moving

Christina Howells, dubbed 'the shape shifter', is a personal trainer who advocates exercise as an energy booster. She suggests starting slowly and says that regular rest days are important. 'If you are suffering from fatigue I would recommend more steady state cardio workouts, a toning class or yoga, rather than high intensity workouts.'

Protein is essential for exercise recovery and muscle repair so Christina recommends making protein part of each meal and in a post-workout snack. 'I take protein drinks after working out as it's an easy way to boost my needs.'

Drink swaps

What we drink also affects energy. Sugary drinks and caffeine leave us feeling more tired once the initial energy surge has worn off. Dehydration is another culprit, causing fatigue and loss of concentration. 'Drink plenty of water,' says Rob, 'And add mint, basil, lemon or cucumber to make it a little more interesting.'

Christina says alcohol is also an energy drainer and suggests that cutting down should also make you less tired. 'You may sleep deeply after a few drinks but you actually sleep less so you're likely to feel more tired the next day. Take it out of your routine for a month and see if your fatigue improves.'

If you'd like more information on fatigue or if you have any questions, you can ask TV's Dr Hilary Jones and register dietician & nutritionist, Sue Baic on Thursday 23rd October by visiting http://nutritionexpert.healthspan.co.uk/october-live-qanda at 1:30pm.

Try this delicious recipe too:

Raw cacao cashew milk Serves 4

250 cal per serving A good source of iron and magnesium.

150g raw cashews

2-3 level tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup

Vanilla pod

½ teaspoon sea salt


1. Soak your raw cashews in water for at least 4 hours (I throw mine in a container before I go to bed and make it in the morning) 2. Drain and place raw cashews and 900ml of fresh water in high powered blender 3. Add all ingredients and blend for a minute on high (should be smooth with no bits) 4. Shake before serving.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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