Foods to Fight Fatigue

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Fatigue is a common problem experienced by many people, and it can be caused by various factors such as lack of sleep, stress, and poor diet. However, one of the most significant causes of fatigue is a lack of energy, which can be attributed to a lack of nutrients.

One way to combat fatigue is to ensure that your diet contains foods rich in nutrients that support energy production and mental alertness.

Nutrients To Support Energy Production

One of the most important nutrients for combating fatigue is iron. Iron is necessary to produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the cells in your body. Iron-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Another important nutrient for energy production is magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy source for your cells. Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.

Vitamin B12 is also essential for energy production and mental clarity. Vitamin B12 is available in animal products, such as eggs, meat, fish, and dairy. B12 supplementation is important for vegans, and vegetarians may need it.

Complex carbohydrates are an important energy source for the body, and they are broken down slowly and provide glucose to the brain and muscles. Excellent sources of complex carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Protein is also important for energy production, as it helps to build and repair tissues in the body. Excellent protein sources include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.

In addition to these specific nutrients, it’s also important to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue, so drink plenty of water throughout the day.

  1. Oats: Oats are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that provide a slow & steady release of energy. They can help stabilize your blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes and keeping you alert throughout the day. Oats are very good sources of fiber; they can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation.
  2. Nuts are a great snack for fighting fatigue, packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They also contain many vitamins and minerals essential for body energy production. Some of the best nuts to eat for energy include almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
  3. Greens Leafy, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, are loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for energy production. Eating a salad with leafy greens for lunch can help energize you throughout the afternoon.
  4. Eggs: Eggs contain protein and healthy fats, which can help keep you energized and full throughout the day. Eggs are also a great source of vitamin B12, essential for body energy production.
  5. Bananas: Bananas are an excellent potassium source, essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. They are also a great source of complex carbohydrates, which can help provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day.
  6. Quinoa: Quinoa is a gluten-free grain rich in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains complex carbohydrates, which can help provide energy.
  7. Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate is not only delicious but also a great source of antioxidants that can help fight fatigue. It also contains caffeine, which can help improve alertness and focus.
  8. Water Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue, so it is important to drink enough water throughout the day. Drinking water can help keep your body hydrated and prevent energy crashes caused by dehydration.
  9. Green Tea: Green tea contains caffeine, a natural stimulant that can reduce fatigue. However, it’s important to note that excessive caffeine consumption can have negative effects, such as jitteriness, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, so it’s best to consume green tea in moderation. Green tea also contains L-theanine, which can help combat fatigue by reducing stress and improving focus.
  10. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes can combat fatigue due to their nutrient profile. They are rich in complex carbohydrates. Try incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet by roasting them, making fries, or adding them to soups and stews. Be mindful of portion sizes, as sweet potatoes are relatively high in calories.
  11. Whole Grains: Whole grains are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, which provide energy throughout the day. Unlike refined carbohydrates such as sugary snacks and white bread, which cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly, providing a sustained release of energy. In addition to complex carbohydrates, whole grains are also fiber-rich, which helps regulate digestion and prevent blood sugar fluctuations. It can help keep energy levels stable throughout the day, reducing fatigue risk.

A balanced and nutritious diet and adequate hydration can significantly prevent and manage fatigue.

Here we discuss this with Morgan Porpora, a dietician, functional medicine nutritionist, and clinical nutritionist, to get her thoughts on this topic.

What Causes Fatigue?

NourishDoc: Hello, everyone. Well, we are talking about fatigue. Well, we are all fatigued from covid-19, and we know that. But we will learn about the foods that can help us fight fatigue or help with that. We have Morgan, a dietitian, functional medicine nutritionist, and clinical nutritionist working in the hospitals. She is the best person to answer these questions; we have her here. Thank you so much, Morgan, for joining me today.

Dietician Morgan: Thank you so much, Amita, for having me. To start, fatigue, right? We’ve all felt it. It’s that feeling of exhaustion, you can’t keep your eyes open, just tired, and there are many reasons why we could feel fatigued. It could be as simple as poor diet, lots of stress, poor sleep, or over-exercising, or it can get more complicated, like nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, adrenal burnout, chronic diseases, hidden infections, and so much more.

So, it is really important to try and get to the root cause of what’s causing the fatigue to fix it, but some of the things I’m going to talk about today address a few of the common reasons why we might be feeling fatigued. So, again, we always want to start with the basics. Sleep, stress management, and nutrient-dense foods are always great places to start when fatigued. When we’re thinking about specific foods, I have five different foods that I want to address.

Animal Proteins For Fighting Fatigue

The first one is fatty fish like trout, anchovies, salmon, and even most animal is good; not only is our fatty fish a good source of protein, but they also contain B vitamins which support our energy, tyrosine amino acid, and omega 3s. Animal protein may be particularly good for fatigue caused by stress, which most of us often feel. The B vitamins in animal protein and fatty fish are well known for supporting energy levels.

Many of us have heard of that, and if they’re low, they might be causing fatigue or lack of energy and support our adrenal glands. So, our adrenal glands are small glands that sit on top of our kidneys and produce hormones like cortisol. They communicate with the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland to produce many different hormones.

B Vitamins For Adrenal Glands Support

However, they also are involved in our stress hormones like cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine, adrenaline, and others that modulate our wake-sleep cycle. So, B vitamins are great for supporting our adrenal glands and, therefore, our ability to adapt, recover from stress, and fight fatigue. In fatty fish and animal proteins, Tyrosine has been found to fight off fatigue from stress, especially physical stress. So, sleep deprivation, cold exposure, and intense training have been researched with Tyrosine.

Additionally, our omega-3s, or the EPA and DHA, which are specific omega-3s and fatty fish, can also help balance that cortisol spike after a period of stress. So, when our cortisol goes up and then drops back down, that dip is where we start to feel much fatigue. Omega 3s can help with that and are great anti-inflammatories, so the next food is pumpkin seeds.

So, pumpkin seeds contain great like magnesium, zinc, and a bunch of those B vitamins that will again support our adrenal glands. I think of pumpkin seeds as little superfoods, specifically for adrenal fatigue. Additionally, we have high vitamin C foods. So, citrus, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, those kinds of vitamin C-rich foods.

Those are, well, vitamin C is an important antioxidant for the body. It plays an important role in the production of energy in our mitochondria which are those powerhouses for energy in our cells. Our adrenal glands also really rely on vitamin C to function. It’s involved in a lot of those synthesis reactions for those hormones. So, I love those vitamin C-rich foods, the citrus, the strawberries, and the bell peppers, for fighting off fatigue. I’ll pause there. Any questions yet?

Vitamin C For Fighting Fatigue

NourishDoc: No, I think this is great. I mean, the way you were describing it. Is this something like the vitamin C you discussed? We should have a certain gram of vitamin C daily. These are some daily guidelines that we should do so that we don’t feel fatigued.

Dietician Morgan: I would usually say about 500 to 1000 milligrams a day, and that’s pretty easy to get by eating tons of fruits and veggies; what I will add is, when we are under high amounts of stress, our bodies sometimes need more of these B vitamins and vitamin C than it would take to function normally, right?

Because we’re burning through them quickly by our using our adrenal glands. So, in that case, I would bump it up more. Vitamin C is one of those vitamins you can’t have too much of because if you have excess, you’re either not going to absorb it or just going to pee it out. So, you can go right, especially if you’re getting it from fruits and vegetables. You don’t need to supplement with vitamin C to get whole foods.

Tea & Herbs That Help With Fatigue

NourishDoc: Okay, and then any drinks? Is it a particular type of tea or herbs that you want to comment on?

Dietician Morgan: Yes. That is one of my other foods, or it’s in my foods, but its foods and kind of drinks the adaptogenic herbs. So, adaptogenic herbs help our body adapt to that stress response. So, rather than our cortisol spiking, dipping, and going all over the place, it keeps things slightly more level. It makes us more resilient, and I would love to highlight two herbs: Ashwagandha and Rhodiola.

So, there has been some research on these two. Ashwagandha is a classic Ayurvedic herb. Many people are starting to hear about it now, which is awesome; that has been used for many years to help fight fatigue and stress, and that can come in a pill, a tea, or a powder form.

So, one thing that I’ll recommend is if you have it in the powder form, mix it into your latte or something in the or mix it with a matcha latte, which is super easy. Rhodiola is another herb found to help fight fatigue, but that usually comes in a pilfer form. But they’re both great herbs for that.

Including Fruits Can Be Useful

NourishDoc: That’s great. Anything else? Before we open it up for questions from Isabelle or Desmina?

Dietician Morgan: So bananas are another great food that I wanted to add. They’re just a great energy source from complex carbs and natural sugar, and if you’re fat, it truly is from not getting enough food throughout the day. A banana is a really good option. Not only is it pretty quick energy but there is that fiber to slow that blood sugar and insulin spike. So, it’s not going to dip later.

They also contain nutrients like vitamin B-one and thiamine, which are great for the adrenal glands and potassium. So, that’s a really good snack, and if you pair it with some healthy fat or protein, that will also hold you over a little bit more. So, that’s more fatigue from not getting enough food during the day. Bananas are a really easy, quick fix for that.

NourishDoc: That’s a great list. Well, we have two live attendees. You’re welcome to unmute yourself. If you have any questions or put your questions in the chat window, this is a quick 10-minute session that we bring daily to share a few tips. So, Isabelle and Desmina, you’re welcome to unmute. Do you have any questions, comments, feedback, or anything? Anything in the chat window you want to say? Okay. No questions but this was great. Thank you both so much.

Anything else from you, Desmina, before I wrap up? Okay, well, thank you so much, Morgan, for being with us. It was a great list, quick, and something we can do daily. Thank you. I appreciate your time with us today; thank you, Morgan. I loved learning about this. So, that’s great. That’s the feedback we’ve got, and to everyone else, please help spread the word about holistic lifestyle. That’s what we are advocating daily, bringing you 10 minutes of wellness tips from experts worldwide. With that, thank you so much, and thank you for supporting us.


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