We often feel fatigued and tired after a strenuous activity or if we’ve had a particularly challenging day at work or at school. But when you start to feel low in energy more frequently than usual, even when you’ve had several hours of sleep, there might be something wrong with your diet.

We are what we eat, as the saying goes. In terms of feeling energized and recharged, what we drink and eat play a huge role in how our body responds to the environment and daily activities. Here are some diet-related reasons why you might be feeling tired and sluggish all the time.

1. You lack iron

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common reasons why people feel tired all the time. It can affect both male and females, although more so for the latter when they are pregnant or experiencing heavy period flow. Another reason why you have anemia is a problem with the intestines and stomach. Taking NSAIDs can also affect your body’s iron supply. To help combat iron deficiency, you can talk to your doctor so he/she can prescribe a supplement, or eat more iron-rich foods such as whole grains and enriched breads, lentils and beans, dark green leafy vegetables and tofu.

2. You eat too many refined carbohydrates

Refined carbs are typically found in sodas, white rice, white bread, breakfast cereals, white flour, pasta and other types of added sugars. Eating a lot of these will result in constant tiredness because their presence in your body will force your pancreas to produce a bigger amount of insulin to get rid of the excess sugar from your cells and the blood. When sugar levels spike and drop, this causes feelings of fatigue.

3. You might be reacting to gluten in certain types of food

Those who have Celiac disease react negatively to food that contains gluten, which is usually found in cereals, cakes and breads. In addition to constant tiredness, other symptoms of this disease can include weight loss, anemia, diarrhea and bloating. A blood test will confirm if you are positive with the condition.

4. You rely too much on energy drinks

Energy drinks can come in many forms, all with one goal — to keep you alert and awake. These include drinks high in sugar, B vitamins, amino acids and caffeine. Certain types of herbal drinks are also considered energy drinks. While there is truth to their effectiveness, these are temporary and will likely set you up for rebound tiredness when their effects begin to fade.

5. You don’t drink enough water

Keeping yourself well hydrated is crucial to maintaining your energy levels. When you are dehydrated, the body tries to make up for the lost water that should be in your breath, sweat, stools and urine. While the recommended average per day is eight glasses, you might need to drink more, depending on your gender, age, weight and lifestyle. Even mild dehydration can cause a decline in alertness and energy, so be sure to drink up as much as you can.

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