Feeling totally exhausted? There’s so much that you can do with the food you eat to help improve your situation and, in this article, I’m going to tell you exactly what you should be eating to put the spring back in your step.
Vitamin B-rich foods have an important part to play in energy production, so incorporating these into your diet is going to be a big help when you want to fight fatigue. Focus on leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and watercress, and bring in Brussells sprouts, broccoli, lettuce, asparagus, peas and avocados. A green smoothie makes the perfect start to the day; easy to make, and you can pack it with a few of your daily servings of green veg. Avoid raw kale and broccoli if you have a thyroid issue, which could make you feel more exhausted.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Chicken and turkey (along with – to be fair – other meats and fish, lentils, chickpeas and beans) are also B vitamin providers. This makes them top foods to beat fatigue. Better still, they’re high protein foods. Why is this important? Protein is required for every function in the body but, since we’re talking about fighting fatigue, it’s worth knowing that eating a little protein at every meal and snack will prevent energy levels dipping throughout the day.
Red meat contains iron and, when iron stores are low, so too are your energy reserves. Lamb, beef, pork and venison are your top choices here, while beans are another good source if you’re not a meat eater. Your body absorbs iron better if it’s teamed with vitamin C-containing foods, so think about combining with a side of peppers, kale, collard leaves, broccoli, courgette, cauliflower or spinach.
Complex carbs are your body’s first choice when it comes to getting energy but you need to choose carefully. Sugary things and ‘white stuff’ will leave energy levels crashing, so opt for wholemeal and wholegrain alternatives. It’s time to make friends with porridge and brown rice, which also bring vitamin B6 to the party.
Eggs are one of nature’s greatest inventions. They’re one of the best sources of protein and full of almost every kind of B vitamin. What I like most about eggs is – providing you like them of course and don’t have an intolerance – they are perhaps the easiest way to fix your diet. An egg anyway you like on top of wholemeal toast for breakfast and, right there, you’ve got the morning covered: protein will help you avoid a slump later in the morning and those B vits will help bring back your mojo.
Nuts have an awful lot going for them. The best options include Brazils, almonds, cashews, walnuts macadamias and pecans and, if you can get them, eat them raw and unsalted. The perfect snack in between meals, they introduce ‘good fats’ into your diet and help you feel fuller for longer, so that mid-afternoon chocolate bar becomes redundant.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds (along with nuts) are a great source of magnesium, which is needed for a staggering number of processes in the body, including keeping your energy up. If you’re low on magnesium, you’re muscles are going to feel weary and your energy low, so consider a sprinkling of seeds on cereal, porridge and even salads. Or make your own healthy trail mix to nibble on when you get hungry.
Cucumber and Watermelon
Cucumber and watermelon aren’t often feted as nutrient-dense foods but, as far as we’re concerned here, they play a big role due to their water content. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of fatigue, and these guys have a high water content, so you’re getting satisfaction from your food with the added benefit of a drink, too.
Broccoli is so good for you, it’s hard to know where to start. One of the reasons it’s key for fighting fatigue is its vitamin C content. Stress is one of the things that regularly comes up with clients in clinic, and foods that are high in vitamins C and B can help support the adrenal glands (which are responsible for helping your body deal with stress appropriately). Yes, you can also find vitamin C in citrus fruit but broccoli is an even better source along with red pepper, papaya, strawberries and pineapple.
The list of foods that can really help you fight fatigue is long, so there’s plenty to choose from. What you also need to know is what to avoid. The bad news, folks, is that sugary foods like cakes, sweets and biscuits, white rice and pasta, and fizzy drinks like cola and lemonade are going to undo all your hard work. These work against the body, giving you a short-term energy boost but later leaving you feeling that someone just switched off the lights.