If you’re suffering from persistent fatigue, it could be down to what you’re putting in your body – or not, as the case may be.

If you're tired all the time- you might need to up your nutrient intake

If you're tired all the time- you might need to up your nutrient intake

Feeling TATT – tired all the time – is a modern epidemic, especially in busy women juggling work, children, homes and a social life, never mind trying to keep in shape. Make sure you’re getting plenty of these fatigue-beating nutrients from your everyday diet…

Folate (folic acid – vitamin B9)

Folate enables your body to metabolise protein in foods and produce amino acids that are used to build new body tissue, making it particularly important for pregnancy – it can prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Rich sources include leafy green veg like spinach, kale and broccoli. Don’t boil them, though – as folate is a water-soluble vitamin, it will leach out into the cooking water. Steam or microwave gently (and briefly) for the maximum nutrition hit and taste.

Also found in liver, yeast extract, some cereals, veg, pulses and oranges.


Iron is a key part of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that ships oxygen around your body. Deficiency causes anaemia – the most common nutritional deficiency disease in women in the UK – which leaves you feeling shattered and even short of breath. There are two types of iron. Haem is found in animal products, and red meat is one of the best sources – so tuck into a juicy steak to top up your levels. If you like liver, even better (but steer clear if you’re pregnant, as its high levels of vitamin A can harm the baby). Plant foods such as pulses (beans, peas, lentils) give you plenty of non-haem iron, which isn’t as well absorbed as the haem variety – improve this by having vitamin C-rich foods, like an orange or its juice, at the same time.

Also found in oily fish, shellfish, eggs, wholegrain bread, green veg, pulses, nuts and seeds, and fortified wholegrain breakfast cereals.


Magnesium is essential for releasing energy from food. Wholegrain bread is packed with it, as well as being a great source of iron and B vitamins. Beer is a surprisingly good source, too, so cheers to that!

Also found in dark green veg, nuts, pulses, fish, seafood, milk and meat.

Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin is essential for digesting and producing energy from food, and for healthy skin. It’s present in most protein-rich foods, including turkey and peanuts, and you’ll also get surprisingly generous amounts from potatoes (whoever said they’d had their chips?!).

Also found in meat, fish, dairy, fortified cereals, wholegrains, green veg, nuts, yeast and yeast extract.

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid plays a big role in helping your body release energy from food and carbohydrates in particular. It’s really easy to keep your levels up as it’s present in most vegetables and meats, so if you’re having a varied diet you’ve got no worries, but to be on the safe side, particularly rich sources include chicken and porridge (although probably not together).

Also found in meat, fish, beans, wholegrains and fortified cereals.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Riboflavin helps your body to get energy from food and your nervous system and heart to function normally. Eggs and milk are great sources. As riboflavin is damaged by exposure to sunlight, don’t leave your eggs out on the window sill – store them in a dark cupboard or the fridge.

Also found in other dairy products, meat, fish, fortified cereals, wholegrains, green veg, nuts, yeast and yeast extract.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 helps your body get energy from food, as well as being important for a healthy heart. Chickpeas are one of the richest B6 foods – and they’re great added to salad or in a chilli. Hummus and falafel are made from chickpeas, too, so enjoying these regularly will help keep up your B6 levels.

Also found in meat, fish, dairy, fortified cereals and wholegrains, green veg, nuts, yeast and yeast extract.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is vital for breaking down protein, producing red blood cells and DNA, and for maintaining a healthy nervous system. It’s only found naturally in animal products, with fish like salmon and trout having among the highest levels. If you’re vegan you need to ensure you get your B12 from fortified foods like wholegrain breakfast cereals, or from food supplements.

Also found in meat, dairy, eggs, liver and kidney, and fortified non-dairy milk.

Vitamin C

Aside from reducing fatigue, nutritional super-hero vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune and nervous system, as well as strong bones, teeth and cartilage – and it also helps your body to absorb iron. You’ll probably think “citrus” when you think of vitamin C, but oranges are not the only high vit-C fruit: it’s found in lots of other non-citrus fruits, too, including berries like strawberries.

Also found in melons, tomatoes, avocados, sweet peppers, leafy green veg, potatoes/sweet potatoes (with skin).

*NB These nutrients are recognised as contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue by the European Food Safety Authority.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk

Tagged in