Why am I tired all the time?
New Zealand’s favourite wellbeing expert answers readers’ questions about their health and wellbeing.
Question: I’mfeeling really tired lately and no matter what I do I can’t seem to change it. I’ve tried going to bed earlier, I’ve tried reducing my coffee consumption but I feel tired to my bones. I’ma female and 32 years of age. Do you have any suggestions for what I should do? Thanks, Sharon.
Hi Sharon, there are many reasons why you could be experiencing this tiredness.Without knowing more about your health history or your diet, looking at your iron status would be a great place to start.
Iron deficiency is still the most common nutritional deficiency in the Western world. In Australia and New Zealand, 20 to 30 per cent of women of child-bearing age are iron deficient. There are so many consequences to this and fatigue is just the beginning.
Low iron levels can be caused by multiple factors, including poor dietary iron intake, poor absorption due to digestive insufficiencies, or too many competing factors blocking the absorption of iron.
For example, calcium and iron compete for absorption and calcium always wins, as it is a bigger substance. So if you only eat iron-rich foods at the same meal as calcium-rich foods, then you will absorb very little iron from that meal.
Another reason for low iron levels can be blood loss, most commonly from long-term, heavy menstruation. The flipside of this, however, is that some people accumulate iron and store too much of it, so it is wise to see your GP and have ‘‘iron studies’’ blood tests to know if you are deficient or not. Question: My son has recently become really fussy when it comes to his food. He used to eat everything, but more recently I really struggle with getting him to eat his vegetables. Do you have any tips for creativeways I can sneak them past him? Thanks, Karen.
It’s not unusual for children to go through phases where they become particularly fussy about flavours, textures and more specifically vegetables! Keep in mind also that research suggests that children can reject foods up to seven times before accepting them, so persistence is key.