Have you ever had low energy levels just after you have had your lunch? Are you one of those people who get sufficient hours of sleep, have their morning coffee but still feel drained or even sleepy?

This could be your body’s way of telling you that your diet is not the best. There are certain foods that cause a dip in your energy levels. They include but are not limited to:



1. Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are easy to work with whenever you want to make a meal. However, despite being white meat and a healthier option, they are detrimental to energy levels. These have an abundance of tryptophan which is then converted into serotonin.

This is a ‘feel good’ transmitter and helps to induce sleep and relaxation. You can see why it is not a good idea to have chicken breasts in the course of the day. Vitamin B6 and zinc are some of the minerals that are present in this type of food. They are instrumental in the conversion of tryptophan.

Instead of chicken breasts, you can try other poultry and products such as eggs, ham and bacon. These may not be as healthy as chicken but they tend to have a lot of tyramine. This amino acid is the opposite of the tryptophan as it boosts alertness in your brain.

Additionally, this amino acid helps to regulate your blood pressure. Pork seems to have the highest supply of tyramine, except for cured ham. However, the intake of tyramine-high foods should also be limited as it causes migraines. This can be traced back to the amino acid raising the blood pressure.


2. Bananas

Bananas fall in the category of most common and beloved fruits. They are used in smoothies, juices, fruit salads and as a healthy and flavorful addition to various breakfast meals. This fruit is rich in potassium and magnesium. Both these minerals are notorious for causing body muscles to relax.

Magnesium is needed for the melatonin formation as it facilitates the conversion of tryptophan in the body. Having bananas in your bowl of cereal, oats or smoothies in the morning or at lunch time might seem normal but when you need energy it is not a good idea.

Instead, focus on having bananas at night when you need your body muscles to relax. If you would like to have something healthy in the morning or during the day, focus on avocados. These popular green fruit is chockfull of monounsaturated fats which increase blood flow to the brain thus increasing your alertness.

Additionally, avocados are rich in vitamin B and folic acid which are good for the body. You also enjoy many options when eating as avocados can be used in salads, as an accompaniment for food or even as bread spread, providing you with different ways to incorporate them in your diet.


3. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are popular as an addition to dishes and salads. They are popular and highly valued in some cultures such as the Africa, Mediterranean and eastern cultures.

The reason why these seeds are loved and popular is the important role they play in reducing cholesterol and providing the body with proteins that are easily digested. In addition to this, sesame seeds contain various minerals and organic compounds such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, thiamin, fiber, zinc, vitamin B6 and tryptophan.

Some of the minerals such as magnesium are used to convert tryptophan into serotonin which aids with sleep. This amino acid helps to relax your body and mind. Since sesame seeds have a lot of nutritional value, you do not have to remove them from your diet altogether.

Instead, you can incorporate them into dishes or as a snack later on in the day when you do not need a lot of energy. You could also consume some healthy monounsaturated fats to counter this effect.

Finally, there are other super seeds or super foods that you can consider using as a replacement without compromising on nutritional value. Poppy seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are alternatives you can consider.



4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal has been adopted as a healthy breakfast alternative in many homes. What most people do not know is that the bowl of oatmeal could be causing your fatigue and tiredness.

Oatmeal is rich in carbohydrates. This therefore means that blood is redirected away from the brain and to the intestines for digestion. It also triggers formation of serotonin, which helps you to fall asleep. If the oatmeal you use is packed with sugars, it can also lead to tiredness as sugar triggers a rise in insulin levels which then leads to the release of tryptophan which is ultimately converted into serotonin.

Before you think of throwing out your favorite breakfast meal, the trick is to add some healthy fats which will help to boost your energy. Adding a significant amount of protein will also help to counter this effect and balance out your energy levels.

For example, you can include a spoonful of organic peanut butter. It will add healthy fats, fiber and protein to your breakfast bowl. Peanut butter helps to compliment the oatmeal in keeping you fuller for longer. It also helps to regulate your blood sugar levels which then keeps your energy levels higher for longer.


5. Hummus

Hummus is popular in Middle Easter cuisine and is made from chickpeas, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. This tasty dip could be the source of your tiredness.

Chickpeas, which are the main ingredient in this dip, are a good source of proteins, vitamin B6, folate and they also contain tryptophan. The dish also has carbohydrates which help to speed up activity in the body.

Therefore, the tryptophan is delivered to the brain in a short period of time for almost immediate relaxation and tiredness. If you do not want your muscles to feel relaxed or even downright sleepy, then avoid having hummus. The one way to avoid the tiredness effect of hummus is to use it to your advantage by reaching for the dip in the evening.

Pairing it with foods rich in monounsaturated fats is another option. Instead of having hummus, you can also choose to substitute it with guacamole which has avocado as the main ingredient. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which are not only healthy but provide the body with a burst of energy as well.

Your love for hummus should not sentence you to a sluggish day or afternoon because of its effects.


6. Salmon

Salmon is quite tasty and nutritious. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which helps in digestion, setting the cardiovascular mood, improving your blood flow and fighting inflammation.

Salmon is also rich in vitamin B6. This is part of the reason why people are advised to take salmon at night in order to sleep better. Vitamin B6 is an essential component that is needed in the body to make melatonin. Melatonin helps to induce sleep. If you have low energy and would like to have high energy, it is advisable to take salmon at night.

This will help with rest which will show in your energy levels the next day. However, salmon should be avoided during the day or whenever you need energy shortly after a meal.

If you need to get some omega-3 fatty acids but avoid the tiredness, you can reach for some plant-based alternatives. Acai berries are the best option as they have just the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and monounsaturated fats that give the body energy.

In addition to this, acai berries are a great source of antioxidants. This substitute helps to avoid the tiredness that comes with salmon while providing a nutrient-packed alternative.



7. Potato Chips

Whenever you want to reach for a snack, avoid potato chips at all costs. Consuming these snacks is detrimental to your body in so many different ways. Firstly, they contain a lot of salt which causes the body to retain a lot of water.

This automatically leads to a sluggish feeling. Potato chips also have potatoes as the main ingredient. They have large quantities of saturated and Trans fats. It takes a lot of energy and a long time for your body to process these fats which leaves you feeling tired.

Unfortunately, potato chips are not good for your body and should therefore be completely eliminated from your snacking. Just in case you lost hope and think your snacking life is over and done with, there are healthy, energy-boosting alternatives to potato chips. You can reach for some kale chips. Alternatively, you can get yourself some beetroot chips which are high in antioxidants.

They also help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions such as a heart attack because they help to lower the cholesterol level in the body. The only downside to these chips is that they taste like beetroot which a good number of people don’t like.


8. Red Meat

Red meat comprises of mutton, beef, veal, lamb and goat meat. The effects of red meat should not come as a surprise. However, before diving into that, it is important to recognize that red meat provides your body with protein, zinc, vitamin B12 and iron which are good for you.

More and more people are encouraged to include a little red meat in their diet in order to get a boost of energy, for growth and development. However, these recommended quantities are quite small as your steak and hamburgers ultimately leave you feeling tired.

The reason behind this is that this meat contains a lot of fat. Once ingested, blood flow is redirected to your intestines for digestion and away from the brain which leaves you feeling tired and sluggish. Instead of having red meat, you can substitute it with white meat such as chicken and fish.

However, your choice of these meats should be carefully thought out since salmon and chicken breasts can also lead to a dip in energy levels. You can, however, never go wrong with pork unless it is cured ham. This way, you get protein while avoiding tryptophan and other energy-stripping nutrients and amino acids.


9. Sugary Treats

For anyone who has a sweet tooth, giving up sugary foods can be a tall order although it is necessary. Sugary foods and treats, including candies, are not good for your teeth or your overall health.

These foods often lead to a spike in blood sugar levels which then come crashing down, which is commonly referred to as an energy crash. Sugary treats and candies make your blood sugar levels unsteady. This can lead to drowsiness during the day, especially in the afternoon.

This is because of the reduced orexin cell activity in the body. Unfortunately, unlike other foods which can be taken at night to help with sleep, these treats do not work the same way. Instead, they cause you to lose sleep at night. Desserts, sodas and refined sugar are the most popular sugary treats.

Avoid them and opt for healthier options. Frozen fruit smoothies rich in acai berries and other energy-boosting fruits can serve as a good alternative. For white brads and other pastries that are chockfull of simple carbohydrates which refined sugar, you can opt for more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains in order to keep your blood sugar levels steady and avoid tiredness.



10. Dairy

Dairy, especially cow’s milk, can cause chronic fatigue. This is common in those who are lactose intolerant. Usually, the blood flows to the stomach and away from the brain.

The body uses a lot of energy trying to break down and digest the dairy which is why you might feel extremely tired. In addition to this, dairy is considered to be a high protein food. It is rich in tryptophan which is a sleep-inducing amino acid which helps the body to relax. Animal milk also has calcium which helps to covert tryptophan into serotonin. This is a sleep-inducing hormone as well.

You can then understand why people are asked to take a glass of warm milk in the evening or before bed in order to help with sleep. It can seem rather inconvenient for you if you would still like some milk in your diet but do not want the effects that dairy has on your energy levels. In this case, choose substitutes. There are numerous plant-based milk alternatives such as coconut milk.

This can be a good choice especially because coconut water is considered an energy-inducing drink that also helps to reduce bloating (a side effect of dairy consumption).