POST 50
06/04/2013 08:17 am ET

Get More Energy: Avoid These 5 Energy-Draining Foods

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Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Are you ready for a nap most afternoons? Studies show that older adults often take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep and that, when they do finally fall asleep, they sleep less deeply and wake up a lot.

It's no wonder so many people over 50 lack energy.

And that's why it's incredibly important not to compound the problem by eating foods that cause you to lose even more steam throughout the day.

Therefore, check out our list of five energy-draining foods to avoid. Have your own ideas? Let us know in comments.

1. Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls/Cereals
It's unfortunate so many people grab something sugary for breakfast in the morning -- as this is exactly what you should NOT be eating if you want to get your day off to a good start. When you eat a lot of sugar, the carbohydrates get used up quickly and your blood sugar shoots up. As a result, your brain quits making orexin, a neuropeptide you need to feel alert. A better choice would be something with protein, like scrambled eggs.

2. Foods Lacking In Iron
If you don't get enough iron, you'll feel weak and fatigued. Foods with little iron include chicken, broccoli, pork and peanut butter. The best sources of iron tend to be red meats, legumes and some vegetables (spinach and green beans are both good if you want iron). Of course, too much iron also isn't good, leading to infections, organ damage and gastrointestinal troubles.

3. Processed Foods
White bread, white pasta and most other flour products that aren't whole grain will sap you of energy. Why? Because the starch in these products will cause your blood sugar to soar -- followed by the inevitable crashes that will make you feel tired.

4. Turkey
Yep, turkey has a natural sedative in it -- an amino acid called tryptophan. (Other foods with this amino acid are cottage cheese and tofu.) When it comes to turkey, there was even a "Seinfeld" episode in which Jerry feeds his girlfriend a big portion of turkey so that she'll go to sleep, giving him the chance to play with her rare toys.

5. Fried Foods
Foods like fried chicken and potato chips certainly can make you feel tired simply because your digestive system has to work extra hard to process the fats in these types of greasy foods.

In addition to the above, drinking too much caffeine-packed coffee, as well as red wine -- which contains melatonin -- also can make you feel sluggish.

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