Why does eating make me tired?
New Zealand’s favourite wellbeing expert, Dr Libby answers readers’ questions about their health.
Question: I feel really tired after eating, why is this? This seems to be the case no matter what I eat. Thanks, Christine.
Hi Christine, what and how you eat are critical to your ability to absorb nutrients and obtain energy from food.
Eating a whole foods diet rich in vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, proteins and good fats fuels most people.
Food is designed to energise us and if what you have eaten has led you to feel like you want to go to sleep, then reflect on what aspect of that meal may have caused that (this typically occurs with takeaways or highly processed, low nutrient options).
However, feeling tired almost immediately after eating or within the hour afterwards is actually quite normal. This typically occurs because of vasodilation, or widening of the blood vessels supplying your intestines – part of the normal parasympathetic response, or ‘‘rest and digest’’ response, to food entering your stomach. The body wants to maximise nutrient absorption into the bloodstream as well as maintain perfusion to the churning stomach etc.
This redirection of a portion of blood volume to the ‘‘nonessential’’ organs can make many people feel tired after a big meal. Question: Do you have any specific health or nutrition recommendations for middleaged women? I’mnot feeling as fit or as happy with my body as I once used to. Thanks, Robyn.
Hi Robyn, the three biochemical process through which we age are oxidation, inflammation and glycation, and great nutrition goes a long way to providing our bodies with the substances it needs to ensure these processes happen slowly rather than rapidly.
Midlife can be an unsettling time, as our bodies may start to change or respond to what’s arising differently to how they may have in the past.
I believe the body has our best interests at heart and offers us feedback to eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe or perceive
in a new way, so we need to see changes as the gifts that they are, offering us an opportunity to learn and grow. It is a time when it remains as important as ever to continue to nourish yourself and look after your health.
For the first time in a long time there may be more space to consider your own needs and it can provide a wonderful opportunity to bring focus back to prioritising your own health and wellness.
Nutritional requirements change as we age and it’s important to continue to move and to do so in a way that supports joint health and mobility.
Feeling tired almost immediately after eating or within the hour afterwards is quite normal.