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Eating for energy

Your eating habits can help you recharge your batteries

25 FEBRUARY 2011 Spring is in the air, and as we look forward to longer, brighter days, most of us notice that our energy levels start to pick up and we begin to feel revitalised after the dreary days of winter. But for some people the changing season has the opposite effect and they feel drained of energy. This feeling of lethargy and fatigue is known as 'spring asthenia', and one of the recommendations for sufferers is to watch your diet. Here are some things to remember if you feel at a low ebb:

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Protein-rich foods provide more energy, while carbohydrate-rich foods can make you drowsy.

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Increase your fibre intake by eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grain products.

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Iron and zinc play an important role, so make sure you include pulses, nuts and seeds, spinach, liver and fish in your diet.

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Avoid refined sugars such as candy bars and stick to sugars that are absorbed more slowly as these will provide a steady energy supply rather than a sudden peak.

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Caffeine is tempting as it can give you a quick kick of energy, but this is followed by a corresponding slump, so be careful.

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Vitamin C is important to maintain energy levels. The richest natural sources are fruit and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers and kiwifruit.

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Foods rich in vitamin B12 such as meat, fish, eggs and yeast help to combat fatigue.

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For general health reasons, fizzy drinks tobacco and fatty foods are all best avoided.

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Alcohol causes drowsiness, so even small quantities should be avoided.

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A normal varied diet should provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need, but if you are suffering from temporary fatigue, vitamin supplements, especially those enriched with ginseng and / or royal jelly, can be helpful.

If you eat a healthy and varied diet and still don't manage to overcome your fatigue, do check with the doctor to make sure there's no other underlying problems that need dealing with.

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