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WINTER HEALTH: TIRED ALL THE TIME?; You can't blame Seasonal Affective Disorder for everything. You could have any one of these...


ALLERGIES Laboured breathing or even slight wheeziness invariably leads to a loss of energy. Try taking a supplement of quercetin. This bioflavonoid antioxidant found in apples and onions stops the release of histamine, the chemical in the body, which is involved in allergic responses. Also try sitting down with a nice cup of tea - green tea, of course. It can reduce inflammation in the airways that come with allergy-induced asthma attacks.

ANAEMIA If your iron levels have dipped, whether you have full-blown anaemia or are borderline, you won't feel much like nipping down to the gym.

Both leave you washed out and lethargic and make it hard to put one foot in front of the other.

Those most susceptible are new mums, young girls and women during their periods. Your doctor can test for it. Try to include some red meat, oily fish, sesame seeds, crab and fortified breakfast cereals as often as possible in your diet. Also consider a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement containing 15mg iron a day.

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME This is possibly caused by a weak immune system, due to a prior illness, or may be down to the physical strains of chronic stress. You and your doctor need to play detective to get to the bottom of the causes and deal with particular symptoms. Magnesium (sunflower seeds, peanut butter, All Bran and milk) may help tackle chronic tiredness, helping relax tense and tired muscles. Supplements of liquorice are worth considering because it helps to restore and nurture overworked adrenal glands.

DEPRESSION Yep, this can make you tired too - one of the symptoms of depression is long hours of restless sleep. Boosting your levels of phenylethylalanine through exercise, or chocolate (where's the choice?) helps lift mild depression. And new research from America is linking low iron levels to low moods. Many women in the UK have less than the 15mg recommended daily intake (see Anaemia). Foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan, such as turkey and bananas, naturally boost the brains' feel good mood-enhancing hormone serotonin, or try the supplement 5-HTP.

FURRED ARTERIES If your arteries are furred, then the blood supply to your muscles slows up - and exhaustion results. See your doctor if you feel out of breath

on slight exertion like walking. Self-help includes eating oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna three to four times a week. They contain essential omega 3 oils which help keep blood thin and free from clots. Flaxseeds also supply omega 3 oils, while garlic is also known to keep the blood flowing freely.

RESTLESS SLEEP We all have nights where we can't fall into a deep slumber (usually after too much caffeine). But if you suffer regularly you may have sleep apnoea, a kind of snoring where you struggle for air. Although it doesn't necessarily wake you, it prevents the deep sleep we need to feel rested. Exercising can help by encouraging weight loss - a plump neck can cause the disorder - and making you physically tired so you fall into deep slumber. Try some carbohydrate food, such as a bowl of cereal or pasta, before bedtime, which makes you dozy. Camomile tea is also calming. But if it gets severe, see your doctor.

THYROID PROBLEMS A under-active thyroid typically affects women over 50 leaving them sluggish and down. A doctor's diagnosis is essential and thyroid hormones usually need to be prescribed. Once these have kick- started there's nothing for it but, yes you know it's coming, exercise. The mineral iodine (kelp, haddock, smoked mackerel, herrings and milk) is also crucial for the production of thyroid hormones, as are Vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries and peppers) and Vitamin E (wheatgerm and dark green leafy vegetables), so tuck in.


Oh woe is me, I can't find this Gym chap anywhere
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 11, 2001

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