Wellness Wednesday: Foods That Fight Fatigue
If you’re constantly feeling sluggish and reaching for that afternoon cup of coffee to get you through the day, it’s possible that your diet is to blame. Between work, stress, medication and difficulty sleeping, fatigue is a common problem, but can often be remedied by what fuel you put in your body. Skip the caffeine and fill your day with these nutrient-rich foods to keep your energy up.
Fiber: A high fiber breakfast will not only keep you feeling full until lunch, but will also help you feel more awake and alert throughout the day. Starting your day with a high fiber bowl of oats will allow for more mental clarity and less emotional upset than a fatty breakfast sandwich. So choose wisely.
Complex Carbs: As any athlete will tell you, carbs are essential to boost energy! Avoid simple carbohydrates from sugar that hit the bloodstream quickly, leaving you with a midday crash, and stick with complex carbs from whole grains and fruit to keep your blood sugar stable.
Water: Dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue, so it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your energy up. Limit your coffee intake as well as sugary drinks that can further dehydrate the body and lead to other harmful side effects. Tip: Eating water-rich foods such as watermelon will also help you hydrate.
Potassium: Fill up on potassium rich foods such as avocados and dark leafy greens to avoid weakness and exhaustion throughout the day. Minerals and electrolytes are important for nerve and muscle function and help maintain water balance while your body transports nutrients to its cells. Slice an avocado on whole wheat crackers for the perfect pick me up.
Magnesium: Get your daily dose of magnesium from spinach and pumpkin seeds to avoid the afternoon slump. Studies found that women deficient in magnesium used more energy and required more oxygen during physical activity, leaving them more easily tired. It also serves as a sleep aid and muscle relaxer.
Iron: Increase your iron intake with a cup of beans to avoid falling asleep at your desk. As the number one nutritional deficiency in the world, it is critical for producing hemoglobin in red blood cells to transport oxygen. Beans will also give you a nice protein boost during the day to help keep you alert.
Vitamin C: Get plenty of this powerful antioxidant through fruits or red bell peppers to help combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Vitamin C is essential for the health of your adrenal system, which prevents fatigue from emotional or physical stress.
Omega 3s: This fatty acid – found in salmon, walnuts and flax seed – helps to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and alleviate oxidative stress, which all can lead to fatigue. Omega 3s also help keep your brain alert and clear for a productive day, so work them into your breakfast with ground flax seed or a fish oil supplement.
Beta-Carotene: Chock full of vitamin A and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes and carrots promote healthy cell membranes and boost your T cell activity to boost a depressed immune system and help chronic fatigue. Tip: Avoid overcooking your veggies to allow for the highest absorption of the carotenoid.
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