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A Better Diet Could Boost Your Energy Level

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Feeling fatigued is like a car running out of gas. But could your diet be to blame? How you fill up your body’s fuel tank could be the difference between perking up for good, or ping-ponging between feeling energetic and feeling tired again.

Coffee is a pick-me-up that most people cannot pass up. But while it can help in the short term, that caffeine will not fight fatigue forever. “Grabbing sugars and grabbing something quick to bring up that energy level,” explained nutritionist Nicolette Pace about caffeinated drinks, “that’s food that robs your energy. You will crash shortly thereafter.”

If you are getting the proper amount of sleep each night, but still feeling dumpy during the day, it is time to take a hard look at what foods you might not be eating. “We see, routinely, more fatigue, more lethargy, when we’re not getting enough iron in our diet,” said Pace. Nutrition experts said that 20 percent of women and 3 percent of men do not get enough iron.

“Cravings, they may be a sign of some mineral deficiency,” said gastroenterologist Dr. David Feldman. You can satisfy those cravings with chickpeas, spinach and lean beef — all good sources of iron.

“We know protein leads to mental focus and energy,” said Pace. Plant-based proteins — like quinoa and buckwheat — are the best bets. The body will digest them slowly, keeping up the energy level. Other energy-boosting foods include sweet potatoes and leeks.

Pace said, “The healing will come from giving your body what it needs.”

And, if you are still tempted to gulp gallons of coffee in the morning, experts recommend drinking a substitute. For example, according to a Korean study, sipping two cups of ginseng tea can increase your energy level by 50 percent.

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